The Economist reviews Seamus Heaney's new collection of poetry, Human Chain:
A decade and a half ago Mr Heaney told The Economist that once the evil banalities of sectarianism seemed to be receding, his verse was able to admit the “big words” with which poetry had once abounded: soul and spirit, for example. In this collection both are present, at some level. The words describing a simple actthe passing of meal in sacks by aid workers onto a trailerin the title poem, “Human Chain”, transform this 12-line poem into a kind of parable. There is the collective, shared human burden of the act itselfthe “stoop and drag and drain” of the heavy liftingand then there is the wonderful letting go: “Nothing surpassed/That quick unburdening.” Is the poet talking about the toil of life, and the aftermath of that toil?
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