Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
The Irish poet Seamus Heaney, Nobel laureate in literature in 1995, has not been a proponent of any specific theological position, but throughout his boyhood in Ireland he lived in a cultural community suffused with a deep tradition of Christian—more specifically Catholic—conventions and currents. Near his family farm in Mossbawn, he recalled, “St. Patrick, they said, had fasted and prayed there fifteen hundred years before.” In “Gaelic times,” the Heaney family was involved “in ecclesiastical affairs in the diocese of Derry,” and in his home “of course, there were religious magazines,” However, as he became prominent as a poet, he found himself torn by a divide between what he calls “the old vortex of racial and religious instinct” and a desire to seek “the mean of humane love and reason.”
These two contending (and potentially complementing) perspectives demarcate the outer poles of the spiritual and literal terrain that Heaney traverses in the sequence “Station Island,” the title poem of his 1984 volume of that name. As the first section of the poem opens, the narrative conscious of the penitent introduces the setting:
A hurry of bell-notesflew over morning hushand water-blistered cornfields,an escaped ringingthat stopped as...
(The entire section is 1047 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of "Station Island" Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!