Seamus Heaney - Whatever You Say Say Nothing - Poetry Analysis

Whatever You Say Say Nothing

Whatever You Say Say Nothing A poster put up during the ‘Troubles’, featuring a masked, uniformed paramilitary carrying a sten gun, bore the legend: ‘Loose-talk costs lives In taxis On the phone In clubs and bars At football matches At home with friends Anywhere Whatever you say – say nothing’. Composed of amateurish cut and pasted newspaper headings and snippets it was evidently the work of extremist factions. It was threatening. A society is warned to refrain from unguarded political or religious comments that could cause a violent reaction. Heaney levels his anger against propagandist threats to free speech at a time when the voices of the neutral majority should be raised in protest; equally he deplores the imposition of repressive ‘political’ measures that fly in the face of natural justice. He acknowledges that he himself may not be practising what he preaches. I How it felt to be in […read more….]