‘Limbo’ and ‘Bye Child’ by Seamus Heaney are poems that evoke the casualties of sexual and emotional repression in Ireland, as well as and the oppression of both women and un baptized children, in a time where religion was most prominent and people were confined to the guidelines of the church and it’s community, as it was the ruling power. Both poems present this idea through the use of a child, representative of innocence and vulnerability. Through his poetry, Heaney gives a voice to those who…
Good Afternoon all,
I have been asked before you today to discuss my opinion on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, and although this style of learning wouldn’t be what you’d be used to, I’m hoping you will all benefit from what I have to say and leave here with a clear understanding of Heaney’s brilliance, questioning the meaning behind what he has written.
I have decided to take a thematic approach to this discussion rather than spend set time talking about one poem at a time, only for you to grow confused…
Seamus Heaney – ‘At a Potato Digging’
• Context • • The poem deals with two different potato harvests. One is the harvest from the present day that goes successfully and which delivers a rich crop. The second potato harvest looks back to the famine of 1845 when the crop failed and many people starved. Whilst the famine is no longer a threat, its ongoing fear remains and this can be seen in the use of religious language throughout the poem. For example, the bowed heads of the potato pickers suggest…
explored in the eighth stanza where Heaney presumably addresses the bog girl directly. As a reader however, one can feel a shift in tense, as though the bog girl’s body and her punishment have travelled through time to the present day, both physically and metaphorically. This shift is established through the direct addressing of the bog girl in first person, but also through the literal change in time from past to present. As this shift occurs, the reader realizes Heaney may not be speaking solely of the…
Mid-Term Break –Seamus Heaney
Imagery: Death, Grief
Themes: Death, Frailty of Life, Growing up
Poetic Techniques: Onomatopoeia, Alliteration, Assonance, Simile, Metaphor
A boy sits in the school’s medical area waiting to be given a lift home – the ringing of the school bell further enhance the fact that he is waiting for something. When he finally arrives home he sees his father on the porch, crying. The house is packed with neighbours and strangers who offer their condolences…
circumstances in which they occur, whether this be a choice to keep the connection to the local, or move towards a more global setting. Three key texts that exemplify this phenomenon include the film ‘Lost in Translation’ by Sophia Coppola made in 2003, the Seamus Heaney’s poems ‘Digging’ (1998) and ‘Personal Helicon’, and finally the illustration ‘Globalisation’ (2012) by Michael Leunig. All three delve deeply into the interplay between internal choice and external circumstance. While they do explore how circumstances…
underline the fact that this is the end of a period of innocence and that a change is forthcoming
* Alliteration: ‘coarse croaking’ the harsh ‘c’ sound creating a violence, adding to the unpleasant, threatening nature of the frogs to the child (Heaney).
* Onomatopoeia: ‘the slap and plop were obscene threats’, here ‘slap’ and ‘plop’ are both hard and unpleasant, almost vulgar sounds, emphasising the vulgar, slimy nature of the procreating frogs.
* Simile: ‘their loose necks pulsed like…
“Mid-term break”, is a poem about one of Seamus Heaney’s most upsetting and disturbing memories of his childhood, going to his first ever funeral and it being his only bother who was just 4 years old you had just become what do you call them these days err…oh that’s it, an infant would not have made it any better for Seamus, plus the fact the room was full of strangers shaking his hand and telling him they were sorry about the tragedy that had fallen upon his family and whispers about him informed…
The father in
"Follower", however, is viewed by Seamus Heaney as an "expert" and
this is reinforced by the poets use of precise technical language "set
the wing And fit the bright steel-pointed sock" and "Mapping the
furrow exactly". It is implied to the reader that Seamus Heaney, since
childhood, has studied his father's work, which therefore introduces a
nostalgic theme to the poem. In contrast whilst there is still a
strong sense of admiration present in Strongman, the focus of the
of the ship and is very
magnificent, which is what Seamus Heaney is trying to tell us, as a
child his father was magnificent and incredibly important to him.
Seamus Heaney has not used many onomatopoeic words, he has only used
the word 'Clicking' and 'Yapping'. Seamus Heaney has used the word
'clicking' because in the whole sentence it can be translated that the
horses are actually listening to him as if they know Seamus Heaney's
father. He has also used the word 'yapping'…
it leads to its destruction and to the hoarder’s disappointment. However, it is also implied that lessons on greed are seldom learned, ‘Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.’ Even with the knowledge that his efforts would be in vain, Heaney writes about how he was compelled to try and store the blackberries each year, thus bringing out a recurrent greed for the same object.
The structure and language of the poem aid the reader in better understanding and connecting with it. The first…
horses worked harder at the father’s command, and
did what he wanted. ‘With a single pluck,’ this tells the reader that
even though the father used minimum effort to direct the horses, he
was always in control. This also expresses that Heaney views his
father as, ‘an expert.’ The emphasis of this short sentence simply
shows how much the poet admires his father’s competence as a farmer.
The way the father skilfully cuts the bottom of the furrow and turns
the soil, ‘set the…
example, in a couple of the stanzas, he uses the word 'hand' to link
the verses together. This is a very obvious way of using enjambement
but it works really well.
As Seamus Heaney walks into the room, he talks about how he was
embarrassed to see old men standing up and shaking his hand to show
their respect. He is then met by his mother who is in such a state of
shock and disbelief that she is coughing out angry and tearless sighs,
meaning that she cannot come to terms with what has…
In the poem “Postscript” by Seamus Heaney, the speaker describes an experience with a natural landscape in order to illustrate how experiences can evoke feelings that overwhelm us with their transcendent beauty and leave us speechless. Finding words for the beautiful, sublime, uplifting moments can be difficult when encountering such places, and even though the speaker leaves space for the ineffable, the poem makes the reader feel as though they have received a glimpse of something true, a valuable…
in the second line; "levered firmly". In the last line
of this stanza, tactile imagery is used. It reads "loving their cool
hardness in our hands"
The fifth stanza is only two lines long, and is said in a rather
conversational tone; as if Seamus Heaney is speaking it in a general
conversation. It isn't like a poem at all. It says "By god the old man
could handle a spade". He is boasting here, like a child in a
playground. It conveys a boastful, bragging tone. "Just like his old
with a dreamlike
quality. It is almost as if the bone has him in a powerful trance. The
bone, which has become part of the landscape, has transformed into a
device for releasing thought processes. Landscape, being one of the
favourite themes of Heaney, is in itself a part of history. It is the
history of Ireland and its people and its landscape that often
preoccupies the poet and, here, we see some of this preoccupation
allowed flight as his mind takes off in a series of flickering
not slow either, rather it is in the middle. This is evident as they “trekked and picked until the cans were full,”. Trekked suggests that they wandered around the “round hayfields, cornfields and potato drills” until they filled up their cans.
Heaney then says “Our hands were peppered, with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s”. He uses another simile by comparing their palms to that of Bluebeards, a well known murderer in some well known fairy tales. He used to murder his wives with…
In the few
line of the poem alone we are seeing a mass of very different
emotions. The first opening lines give the impression that Heaney is
almost bored, he says how he 'counts the bells knelling classes to a
close' and how he had 'sat all morning in the sick bay.' Before his
neighbours came to collects him. He next moves abruptly to say how he
met his father crying in the porch. Here is another emotion,
devastation. Also when he says how his father is always strong…
words that are associated with mourning, death or illness such as “bedside”, “candles” and “Snowdrops” These choices of words bring the audience on a emotional rollercoaster.
Moreover, the author’s choice of words once more highlighted the last line. Heaney used alliteration, assonance and repetition to add further emphasis on the “four foot box” Which suggests how important this line is to the core of the poem.
Though the poem have a certain bitterness to it, the words and their connotation…
of the skunk is described as a chasuble, a garment worn on a priest at
mass. The tail also reminded Heaney of the chasuble because of its
striped pattern – the tail was ‘damasked’. Heaney also compares the
skunk to a “visitor”, which in the context of this poem, may mean
secret lover. “I expected her like a visitor” is a smooth transition
to the second stanza, where he recalls a particular memory of the
skunk’s night time visits.
“I began to be tense as a voyeur” describes Heaney’s…
cleverly situated – Heaney masterfully interweaves time
and location to provide an precise description of the characters’
thoughts and emotions. He chose the spring (the season of love, or as
the French would put it – la saison de l’amour) to highlight the
thrilling love experience that the characters undergo.
The poem is characterized by personification of the lovers’
surroundings – the atmosphere is sexually charged. Throughout the
poem, Heaney provides a confluence…
twentieth century, thus underscoring the significance of Heaney as a truly universal poet.
In order to understand the role of exile in Heaney's poetry, we must not take that exile literally (for in that sense he is an exile only part of the year) but rather comprehend it as a form of categorical imperative mandating that the poet "stay clear of all procession," as Heaney's alter ego is told by Simon Sweeney in Section I of "Station Island." Heaney did indeed move out of Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s…
were to take the diction and imagery quite literally, a somewhat different picture is aroused. “…a glossy purple clot…” (line 3) describing the first ripened blackberry, brings to mind the picture of a nasty blood clot in someone’s veins, why would Heaney compare blackberries to blood clots?…
navigation is needed with the help of a
map. The sailor takes a close eye of the map to check if the boats
path is headed in a straight direction. Seamus Heaney's father makes
sure that all the furrows will be placed correctly in the right track.
So he represents his father as a sailor on his ship, this is his
interpretation/metaphor. Seamus Heaney. However does not interpret his
father in Digging. He simply describes the scene he is seeing through
his window inside “Under my window, a clean…
father is described as being in the cradle of his sons arms, whereas many years ago, the son would be in the fathers arms. The son’s arms are protective of him, supporting him, as he dies.
The poem ‘Follower’ by Seamus Heaney is a poem expressing the great admiration that Heaney had for his father as a child. He was brought up on a farm, and often watched his fathers skill in awe as he ploughed the fields. The poem is made up of six quatrains, and a regular rhythm is present, much like that of…
decided to study the works of the renowned Irish poet, critic, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, Seamus Heaney. I choose Heaney because he is rather contemporary author, most of his works published in the mid to late twentieth century, and his poems were simple yet beautiful. The voice that he uses to spin his tales is fundamentally human. In my opinion, Heaney does not put on fronts of human perfection, but chooses to focus on the simple joys that life provides. This can be seen…
raised in, the local verses and scholarly education he received, the emotional fluctuations caused by IRA bombings and peace protests all contribute to the “splitness” in his poetry.
This poignant dichotomy is seen explicitly in two poems in Seamus Heaney’s Field Work. One poem, “The Strand at Lough Beg” is written for “Heaney’s cousin Colum McCartney (ambushed and shot in a sectarian killing)” and is rich with pastoral scenery, dark tones, and religious imagery (Vendler 60). Another poem…
He was also proud of his grandfather, who was so keen to work that he
hardly stopped when Heaney brought him some milk. ‘To drink it, and
then fell to right away’ this show how hard he worked. His work was
precise – ‘nicking and slicing neatly' and he was strong ‘heaving sods
over his shoulder.
Heaney does not explain exactly why he has ‘no spade to follow men
like them’. Does he think he is not physically strong enough for the
work? Or does he think his father and grandfather may not approve…
tug", which shows that Dan was sickened by things that he had done
with his violent actions.
I think that the up until the final two verses, Heaney's outlook is
that of a young boy, who doesn't understand why something so cruel
should happen. Heaney then shows his maturity again by showing his
understanding that the kittens, or 'pests', did actually have to be
In the final stanza, a feeling of regret still takes place where he is
trying to convince himself that he did the right…
rhythm through potato drills’. Whereas in ‘Mid-term Break’ Heaney
remembers ‘In the porch I met my father crying-He had always taken
funerals in his stride’. This is because of the death of Heaney’s
brother, but because his father does not normally express his emotions
it shocks him. It shows Heaney’s Fathers vulnerability, and the
tragedy reveals to the young Heaney how brutal and violent the world
can be. At this time Heaney was forced to grow up, ‘old men standing
up to shake my hand…whispers…
“Compare and contrast the thematic of violence in earlier and later Heaney”
“Heaney’s poetry grants sectarian killing in Northern Ireland a historical respectability which is not usually granted in day to day journalism” (Morrison, 68)
Seamus Heaney was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. Derry was a bitterly divided city that soon became to the fore of "the troubles". In the 1970’s Northern Ireland's sectarian divisions hit a new level of extreme and t “the troubles” became violent and dangerous…
Seamus Heaney employs a great number of poetic devices in order to explore the theme of women in his poem “The Wife’s Tale”. The free-verse piece features in Heaney’s 1969 collection “A Door into the Dark”, is non-rhyming, and is divided into four stanzas of seven, twelve, seven and nine lines respectively. The varying length of verse adds a quirky, idiosyncratic feel and helps to create different levels of focus on the contents of each section. Dealing with Heaney’s perspective on the role of a…
Tone is an important aspect of literature and families. Just like in literature tone creates the context in families which shapes the world that they live in and determines how what is said will be received. Seamus Heaney's poem “Mother of the Groom” and Robert Hayden's Poem “These Winter Sundays” are all about families and the type of life that a family has to live in that they created for themselves. In these poems the tone is exploited brilliantly to convey the familial theme of the poems and…
stranger; what one finds much more difficult to accept is that Heaney, on seeing young women tarred and weeping, understands the “… tribal, intimate revenge”. This is poetry as catharsis. Although adultery and dating British soldiers are obviously two different things, they are both activities which occur outside the tribe. The sense of tribalism is present throughout and is presented as an inescapable and timeless pattern. Throughout the poem Heaney has apologetically distanced himself from violence, always…
William Blake rhymed the words "deep" and "weep" in line seven
to emphasise and link the feeling of loneliness the little boy had.
Similarly, Seamus Heaney used "The squat pen rests; snug as a gun",
using the reverse spelling of snug (with dropping the's') to write
'gun' in the same line to emphasise the image of his pen being a
"The squat pen rests; snug as a gun" also shows great contrast with
'snug' being a comfortable and secure word while 'gun' is a word…
himself from the tragic event. Through the whole poem, the
rhythm remains slow, revealing how the poet feels unsure and isolated.
"as my mother held my hand / in hers and coughed out angry tearless
sighs" These lines show the grief, that Seams Heaney cannot express
alone, being expressed by his mother for him.
He mentions his father crying in the fourth line because it is so out
of the ordinary that he has to mention it. This in itself shows some
of the shock of the event, and how he is…
She states, "…I found my poetry and my sexuality on a collision course." Poetry like any art form is said to either dictate life or life is to dictate it, which she makes reference to with "…the active lens of poetry." With that understanding she made connections between the traditions of the real world and those of the fictitious worlds created in poetry. Men created the traditions and customs associated with poetry. These traditions have objectified women and placed them as the primary focus of…
The lord “vented his rage” on the men he drank with and went as far as to murder his own friends (1713-14).
Another representation of wanton and destruction is seen when Beowulf speaks about Ongentheow’s sons and how they , encompassed Hreasnahill with orchestrated surprise attacks on every given opportunity, savagely crusading ,they were determined not to make peace, going from ever “wale-road”(10) entrance to the next (2475-78). Monstrous behaviors that are of the nature of wanton destruction…
'Death of Naturalist' is about a young boy, his love for nature and
how he relishes every aspect of the countryside. A part of this
passion is being aware of a host of small things that many people
would find insignificant; animals, frogspawn and all the noises of
life around him. This changes in the second stanza. The poet has a
change of heart and he seems to retreat from the nature he previously
loved. He writes:
'I sickened, turned and ran'
So we can see he…
It is possible that the deeper meaning to a ‘Mid-Term
Break’ is that of coming to terms with the fact that it was not his
fault that this pointless loss of young life occurred. He may have
felt that if he had not been away at school his brother may never had
died but the poet needs time (many years) to justify this and come to
terms with his bereavement.
A common point in each of the poems is that of the poets’ internal
struggle to come to terms with himself, acceptance of himself as the…
Both could be relevant
to the poem.
The poem is based on the story of a young boy who died whilst doing a
man's job which he couldn't cope with.
"Big boy doing a man's job"
He was working in the garden when he cut his hand with the buzz saw he
was working with. The injury was so bad he had to go to hospital for
it to be amputated due to the extent of the injury. Unfortunately
during the operation, inevitably the young child died.
The title of the poem is significant because it refers…
I’m going to compare the use of the poetic devices to portray fear and confusion in 3 different types of poems, they are; On the Train by Gillian Clarke, Patrolling Barnegat by Walt Whitman, and the poem Storm on the Island by the one and only Seamus Heaney. These poems all portray the feeling of confusion, often it is linked within a theme of some war. Walt Whitman uses some repetition to enhance the power of the storm he is trying to describe. "Wild, Wild the storm, and the sea high running"
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…
Corked sloppily with paper.” This shows that while Heaney decided not to follow in his fathers footsteps, he loved and cared for his father regardless (Glover 543). Overall, Heaney’s love for his father was a powerful factor in his deciding to become a writer.
Roethke’s peom, “My Papas Waltz”, shows us a completely different relationship among the father and son. In the opening line, we read “The whisky on your breath/could make a small boy dizzy;” this, to some, arises suspicion as to weather…
hand the spawn would clutch it." He knew that
it would clutch his hand showing how positive and definite he was
feeling. The experience had so much impact on Heaney altering his
emotions before the incident occurred.
The title is very striking and ironic. The definition of a naturalist
is someone who is an expert in natural history. Heaney was learning
nature from direct observation but this stopped him from ever becoming
a naturalist due to the fact that he found it a nightmare. Hence the…
it with expression. Seeing the dead body of
someone you love can be disturbing, but for Heaney he thought of it
differently as he described the atmosphere "candles soothed the
bedside". My thoughts of a room like that would be depressing unlike
Heaney's. I find it a misleading and unusual perspective.
The Early Purges
My immediate response to this poem was quite shocking! Heaney uses
distasteful language "the scraggy wee shits" to describe kittens, and
lend that same support to the cause. Heaney’s mother “coughing out angry tearless sighs,” (Heaney 13) speaks as a sort of anger in those around who feel this is more of a setback to the rebellion, rather than losses that will affect families.
Lines 14-15 again shows Heaney using assonance, this time in his repetition of the short “a”. “At”, “ambulance”, “arrived”, “stanched”, “and”, and “bandaged” (Heaney 14-15) - this emphasizes the stopping short of blood and life. This “death”, is a very heart…
console her children and stay strong as an example to her family. Furthermore, Heaney is made perturbed when he notices the happiness of the baby on seeing him.
"the baby coed and laughed and rocked the pram"
Here we can clearly see that the baby's behavior is inappropriate for it is a funeral, a time of mourning however the baby is unaware of this which gives off a great sense of innocence .This makes Heaney realise that his brother should not be dead but should be joyful and carefree like…
Heaney continues to do this by glorifying the frogspawn, using alliteration “jam pots of the jellied specks”. This creates a soft and gentle rhythm for the reader, portraying Heaney’s fascination with nature a child.
Similarly, Frost also uses descriptive adjectives to portray a significant moment in time, which creates imagery for the reader. In “Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening” Frost uses the rule of three by listing the adjectives “lovely, dark and deep”. This, along with the alliteration…
Naturalist also has a fairly simple
structure. In the first section, Heaney describes how the frogs would
spawn in the lint hole, with a digression into him collecting the
spawn, and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the
process. The poem’s title is amusingly ironic – by a ‘naturalist’, we
would normally mean someone with expert scientific knowledge of living
things and ecology. The young Heaney certainly was beginning to know
nature from direct observation…