The Forge by Seamus Heaney

1087 WordsFeb 4, 20135 Pages
Notes on ‘A Call’ by Seamus Heaney * The word ‘call’ has both everyday and special associations. In this poem ‘call’ contains both casual and serious meanings.The call here is the phone call home but the speaker also meditates on the idea of a person being called home to God as in the medieval play ‘Everyman’. * The opening of the poem,it could be argued, isn’t poetry,it is ordinary,everyday speech.And yet the arrangement of the lines on the page and the overall rhythm create a musical flow. * Following this opening section the poem shifts to a silent description of the speaker imagining his father at work in the kitchen garden.The four simple monosyllabic words in line four, ’So I saw him’ lead us into a detailed…show more content…
It is an evocative opening. This line achieves its purpose as a first line to incite curiosity and questions, urging the reader to continue in order to find what answers lie ahead. The word “dark” has many negative and mysterious connotations; the placement of such a powerful word behind a door which promises to be opened attests to Heaney’s ability to subtly evoke resonance. * Not only has Heaney constructed the shape and the visual setting of an anvil, but he has also re-imagined the smells, sounds and tactile impressions of the experience inside a blacksmith’s shop. The shop is the “dark” of the first line; it is also a place that is no longer necessary for modern life: for instance, we no longer depend on horses’ hooves or wrought-iron nails. “Dark,” then, could refer to the unreachable past as well as the blackness of the anvil, the iron, and the soot of the shop. * Heaney chose to use the first person pronoun “I” in the first line, although the central character in the poem is only referred to as “he.” Easily, the reference in the first line could also have been “he,” which would have tied the poem together tightly. However, Heaney has consciously created a second character, an observer to the blacksmith; the reader is fully aware that there is one character here, observing another. The tone of the character, who apparently only knows the “door into the

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