London: Faber and Faber, 1969. First edition, second printing. pp. 56. Black linen, title in gilt on spine. Signed by Heaney and dated at Thornbury, 1973. Bookplate of Bill Pickard on front pastedown. A fine copy in very good price-clipped dust jacket.
Brandes and Durkan A5.
“Heaney still has the gift of finding a new and consummate phrase to evoke physical qualities, and when these take on a symbolic resonance the result is superb ... the collection as a whole is a splendid achievement, confirming Heaney’s reputation as one of the best of the younger poets on either side of the Irish sea” Richard Kell in the Guardian.
Interesting notes on final leaf, presumably by an academic “America has direction without depth;
Ireland has depth without direction.”
Includes the poem ‘Requiem for the Croppies’:
“The Pockets of our great coats full of barley-
No kitchens on the run, no striking camp-
We moved thick and sudden in our country.
The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp.
A people, hardly marching - on the hike -
We found new tactics happening each day:
We’d cut through reins and rider with a pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until, on Vinegar Hill, the fatal conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August the barley grew up out of the grave.”
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