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The disunited kingdom

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Kitkat
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The disunited kingdom

Post by Kitkat on Sat 20 Sep 2014 - 15:12

For the newspapers, in Scotland and elsewhere around the UK, the day after Scottish referendum results came out is a day of reflection, recriminations - and plenty of rhetoric.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-29288814


These recent historic shenanigans bring to my mind the evocative words of the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney in one of his most famous poems
'Act of Union'

To-night, a first movement, a pulse,
As if the rain in bogland gathered head
To slip and flood: a bog-burst,
A gash breaking open the ferny bed.
Your back is a firm line of eastern coast
And arms and legs are thrown
Beyond your gradual hills. I caress
The heaving province where our past has grown.
I am the tall kingdom over your shoulder
That you would neither cajole nor ignore.
Conquest is a lie. I grow older
Conceding your half-independant shore
Within whose borders now my legacy
Culminates inexorably.

And I am still imperially
Male, leaving you with pain,
The rending process in the colony,
The battering ram, the boom burst from within.
The act sprouted an obsinate fifth column
Whose stance is growing unilateral.
His heart beneath your heart is a wardrum
Mustering force. His parasitical
And ignorant little fists already
Beat at your borders and I know they're cocked
At me across the water. No treaty
I foresee will salve completely your tracked
And stretchmarked body, the big pain
That leaves you raw, like opened ground, again.

SEAMUS HEANEY

In 1975's Act Of Union, he took the map of Britain and Ireland and turned it into an image of a married couple lying in bed together, Ireland surrounded and mastered by the masculine Britain.



The Act Of Union, he said once before reading the poem, was both a political and a sexual concept.

"To put it metaphorically, and yet historically, Ireland, the feminine country, was entered by England, possessed by England, planted with English seed, withdrawn from by England, and left pregnant with an independent life called Ulster, kicking within her."

He sometimes despaired of his fellow-citizens in the North. In an ITV documentary made at about this time he said: "We're a society, if you like, that's fallen from grace. This is limbo land at best, and at worst the country of the damned."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13930435


An exquisite analysis of 'Act of Union' is given here:
http://fawbie.com/tag/act-of-union/

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