Seamus Heaney's "Peninsula" Essay

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Seamus Heaney is a famous Irish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and is considered by many to be the most interesting Irish poet since William Yeats, who likewise won a Noble Prize in his day. Heaney's literature frequently communicates the rather tranquil setting of his home land, Ireland, and in particular the North of the country, where he was born. (BBC News Magazine "Faces of the week", 19 January 2007) His unique portrayal of Ireland’s countryside lead to his Noble Prize and the Swedish Academy mounting praise on him “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth” (New York Times, October 6 1995, by William Grimes). His love for the Irish landscape is clearly evident to the reader in many of his poems.…show more content…
It suggests to the reader that all the information that has been taken in, all this scenery at the peninsula, is just an image in the mind and only in an inspired and skilled wordsmith can the written word on page come close to realising the true beauty of these spectacular sights. Heaney describes this peninsula as a “land without marks”, which really represents Ireland as a whole, with its proud ancestry and peaceful countryside, with endless silent fields. This reinforces Heaney’s idea of “uncoding” the scene. This “land without marks” is a silent landscape, which sits dormant, waits to be seen and heard and one must have the skill to read what one sees and hears and form that into words on paper. Also the fact that in this “land with no marks” one can only merely “pass through” and “not arrive” conveys the land’s starvation of its ancestors imprints and creations, so much so that it is difficult to recognise one part from another. One could conclude that it is not just the narrator that is struggling to express himself, but that the landscape itself is also inarticulate. “The sky is tall as over a runway,” Heaney’s description of the sky here is appropriate. He uses a simile, comparing the sky on the peninsula to that over a runway. The sky, like that over a runway, is vast as there is nothing really in the way,
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