Seamus Heaney - The First Flight - Poetry Analysis

The First Flight

The First Flight The Sweeney Redevivus poems are fascinating in terms of voicing. In his notes Heaney indicates that they are ‘voiced for Sweeney’ but this does not and cannot exclude the poet’s participation. Each poem resembles a piece of music with a background accompaniment and two voices that pick up the melody in turn or together; the mood of each piece varies as does its ensemble effect on the listener’s ear and the reader’s sensibility. The poem comes closest yet to the language and events of Sweeney Astray. The speaker refers to their moment of transfiguration (Sweeney into a bird, Heaney into new determination) as more trance than bodily convulsion: more sleepwalk than spasm both locked into a period of social convulsion in Ireland: a time when the times were also in spasm (Heaney is caught up in the Troubles of Northern Ireland; Sweeney was present at the battle […read more….]