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Seamus Heany Childhood Poems

7 Pages 1627 Words

Seamus Heany

“Examine in a range of poems the poetic significance Heany gives to his collection of childhood and early youth “

Heany’s earlier poems are derived from his childhood experiences, and in particular they way he feels he relates to his family ‘Digging’ and ‘Follower’, and how he has blossomed from his upbringing ‘Death of a Naturalist. Born and brought up in a farming community in Ireland, his roots are explicitly nature based, his adoration for his father and respect for the land and his work and very prominent.

In the poem ‘Digging’, watching his father at work in the garden inspires him, and inturn brings back memories of when he was young- digging within his memory. Symbolically going beyond the surface, and shifting in time as his father shifts the dirt. He recalls the rhythmic “clean rasping sound” which is all-real to him, and he conveys this well to his audience. He greatly admires and idolises his father, speaking fondly of special bonding times they shared together. “To scatter new potatoes that we picked” He changes his tone in the fifth stanza, where he reflects in awe of his grandfathers talent. He’s obviously very proud of him, and of his family’s heritage, as he boasts “My grandfather cut more turf in one day than any other man” in a way, a passion for digging, blowing its great-ness out of proportion. He creates the picture as he describes giving his granddad milk while he was working in the field one day, a particular memory that has remained fresh in his mind, recalling how he “straightened up to drink then fell right away nicking and slicing neatly” This must have made quite an impression on him as a young boy, witnessing his strength, effort and vigour of body. He again changes his tone, and matches that on the opening stanza. As he has “no spade to follow men like them, in a way conveying a sense of inadequacies, that he’s not quite good eno...

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