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seamus heaney ,death of a naturalist poems 1)digging

2)death of a naturalist 3)the barn 4)an advancement of learning 5)blackberry -picking 6)churning day 7)follower )ancestral photograph !)at a potato digging "#)for the commander of the eli$a "")the diviner "2)turkey observer "3)trout "4)waterfall "5)valediction "6)scaffolding 17) mid-term break " )personal helicon

About the poet Seamus Heaney was born on April 13, 1939, on a farm in Castledawson, County Derry, Northern reland, the eldest of eight !hildren" n 19#3, he began tea!hing at St" $oseph%s College in &elfast" Here he began to write, 'oining a poetry wor(shop with Dere( )ahon, )i!hael *ongley, and others under the guidan!e of +hilip Hobsbaum" n 19#, he married )arie De-lin, and in 19## year he published his first boo( of poetry, Death of a Naturalist" His other poetry in!ludes Door into the Dark .19#9), Wintering Out .19/0), North .19/9), Selected Poems 19#,119/, .1923), Station Island .1924), The Haw Lantern .192/), New Selected Poems 19 !19"# .1993) and Seeing Things .1991)" n 1999 he published a new translation of the 5ld 6nglish heroi! poem $eowulf" Seamus Heaney is a 7oreign )ember of the Ameri!an A!ademy of Arts and *etters" He was +rofessor of +oetry at 58ford from 1929 to 1994" n 199, he re!ei-ed the Nobel +ri9e in *iterature" Heaney has li-ed in Dublin sin!e 19/#" Sin!e 1921 he has spent part of ea!h year tea!hing at Har-ard :ni-ersity, where he is a +rofessor of ;hetori! and 5ratory" <riting about Heaney in 19#2, $im Hunter, said=
%&is own involvement does not e'clude us( there are few private references) and the descriptive clarity of his writing makes it easy to follow***&eaney+s world is a warm) even optimistic one( his tone is that of traditional sanity and humanity*,

>ou !an see whether, and how far, this is true of all the poems in the %ntholog&, some of whi!h were written after these words"

"* -igging

Digging

?his poem is li(e 7ollower, as it shows how the young Heaney loo(ed up to his elders 1 in this !ase both father and grandfather" Seeing his father .now old) @strainingA to dig @flowerbedsA, the poet re!alls him in his prime, digging @potato drillsA" And e-en earlier, he remembers his grandfather, digging peat" He !annot mat!h @men li(e themA with a spade, but he sees that the pen is .for him) mightier, and with it he will dig into his past and !elebrate them" Heaney !hallenges the stereotype of +addy with a spade" ?he stereotype !ontains some truth 1 rishmen are 'ustifiably well (nown for digging, but Heaney shows the s(ill and dignity in their labour" <e see also see their sense of the wor( ethi! 1 the father still digs in old age, the grandfather, when he was wor(ing, would barely stop to drin(" Note= the pen is @snug as a gunA be!ause it fits his hand and is powerful" Heaney is from County Derry .Northern reland) but the poem was published in 19##, before the @troublesA, and this is not a referen!e to them" ?his poem has a looser stru!ture than 7ollower and loo(s at two memories 1 the father digging the potato drills, the grandfather digging turf, for whi!h he was famous as the best digger on the peat bog" ?he poet !elebrates not so mu!h their strength as their e8pertise" ?he digger%s te!hniBue is e8a!tly e8plained .@?he !oarse boot nestled on the lug"""A)" 6a!h man dug up what has real -alue

food 1 @new potatoesA, and fuel 1 @the good turfA"

Again there are


te!hni!al terms .@lugA, @shaftA) and monosyllabi! .@bogA, @sodsA, @!urt !utsA) or !olloBuial terms= @&y Cod, the old man !ould handle a spade"A

?he onomatopoeia .where the sound resembles or suggests meaning) is ob-ious in @raspingA, @gra-ellyA, @sloppilyA, @sBuel!hA and @slapA" ?here is a !entral e8tended metaphor of digging and roots, whi!h shows how the poet, in his writing, is getting ba!( to his own roots .his identity, and where his family !omes from)" ?he poem begins almost as it ends, but only at the end is the writer%s pen seen as a weapon for digging"

How does the poem e8plore ideas of heritage and family traditionD <hat does the poem suggest about physi!al labourD 68plain in your own words the image in the last line of the poem"

2. Death of a Naturalist

?his poem is similar to &la!(berry1+i!(ing in its sub'e!t and stru!ture 1 here, too, Heaney e8plains a !hange in his attitude to the natural world, in a poem that falls into two parts, a sort of before and after" &ut here the e8perien!e is almost li(e a nightmare, as Heaney witnesses a plague of frogs li(e something from the 5ld ?estament" >ou do not need to (now what a fla81dam is to appre!iate the poem, as Heaney des!ribes the features that are rele-ant to what happened there 1 but you will find a note below" ?he poem%s title is amusingly ironi! 1 by a naturalist, we would normally mean someone with e8pert s!ientifi! (nowledge of li-ing things and e!ology .what we on!e !alled natural history), someone li(e Da-id Attenborough, Diane 7ossey .of 'orillas in the (ist fame) or Ste-e rwin .who handles dangerous sna(es)" ?he young Seamus Heaney !ertainly was beginning to (now nature from dire!t obser-ation 1 but this in!ident !ut short the possible s!ientifi! !areer before it had e-er got started" <e !annot imagine real naturalists being so disgusted by a horde of !roa(ing frogs" ?he poem has a fairly simple stru!ture" n the first se!tion, Heaney des!ribes how the frogs would spawn in the lint hole, with a digression into his !olle!ting the spawn, and how his tea!her en!ouraged his !hildish interest in the pro!ess" n the se!ond se!tion, Heaney re!ords how one day he heard a strange noise and went to in-estigate 1 and found that the frogs, in huge numbers, had ta(en o-er the fla81dam, gathering for re-enge on him .to punish his theft of the spawn)" He has an o-erwhelming fear that, if he puts his hand into the spawn again, it will sei9e him 1 and who (nows what might happen thenD ?he poem is set out in two se!tions of blan( -erse .unrhymed iambi! pentameter lines)" Heaney uses onomatopoeia more la-ishly here than in any poem 1 and many of the sounds are -ery indeli!ate= @gargledA, @slap and plopA and @fartingA" ?he le8i!on is full of terms of putrefa!tion, ordure .e8!rement or fae!es) and generally unpleasant things 1 @festeredA, @rottedA, @slobberA, @!lotted waterA, @ran(E<ith !owdungA and slime (ingsA" n the first se!tion, the poet notes the festering in the fla81dam, but !an !ope with this familiar s!ene of things rotting and spawn hat!hing" +erhaps, as an inBuisiti-e !hild he felt some pride in not being sBueamish 1 he thin(s of the bubbles from the pro!ess as gargling @deli!atelyA" He is !onfident in ta(ing the frogspawn 1 he does it e-ery year, and wat!hes the @'ellied spe!(sA be!ome @fattening dotsA then turn into tadpoles" He has an almost s!ientifi! interest in (nowing the proper names .@bullfrogA and @frogspawnA) rather than the tea!her%s patroni9ing tal( of @daddyA and @mammyA, and in the idea of fore!asting the weather with the spawn" .Not really -ery helpful, sin!e you !an see if it is raining or sunny by dire!t obser-ation 1 no need to loo( at the frogspawn") ?he se!ond se!tion appears li(e a punishment from offended nature for the boy%s arrogan!e 1 when he sees what nature in the raw is really li(e, he is terrified" ?his part of the poem is ambiguous 1 we see the horror of the plague of frogs, @obs!eneA and @gathered"""for -engean!eA, as it appeared to the young boy" &ut we !an also see the s!ene more ob'e!ti-ely 1 as it really was" f we strip away the effe!t of imagination, we are left with a swarm of !roa(ing amphibians" ?his may bring out a differen!e between a !hild in the 1943s and a !hild in the west today" ?he 01st !entury !hild (nows all about the frogs% habitat and beha-iour from wildlife do!umentaries, but has ne-er seen so many frogs at !lose range in real life" ?he young Heaney was used to seeing nature !lose up, but perhaps ne-er got beyond the -ery simple a!!ount of @mammyA and @daddyA frogs" ?he tea!her presents the amphibians as if they were people"

?he arri-al of the frogs is li(e a military in-asion 1 they are @angryA and in-ade the damF the boy du!(s @through hedgesA to hide from the enemy" *i(e firearms, they are @!o!(edA, or they are @poised li(e mud grenadesA .a grenade is a hand1bomb 1 the frogs, in !olour and shape, resemble the )ills Hand &omb, used by &ritish soldiers from the Creat <ar to modern times)" ?he poem has some e!hoes of Samuel ?aylor Coleridge%s )ime of the %ncient (ariner 1 in a shorter and more !omi! -ersion= the would1be naturalist is, li(e the mariner, re-olted by @slimy thingsAF the An!ient )ariner learns to lo-e them as Cod%s !reatures" Heaney indulges in a riotous su!!ession of disgusting des!riptions= @gross1belliedA, @slap and plopA, @obs!ene threatsA .suggesting swear words), @fartingA and @slime (ingsA" <ordsworth suggests that poets should use e-eryday language" n this poem, Heaney uses terms we do not e8pe!t to see in poetry, and presents nature as the -ery opposite of beautiful"
.otes on the poem Flax is an annual plant /it grows from seed) some one to two feet high) with blue flowers* 0 fla' dam /traditionally called a lint hole)) in .orthern 1reland is not really a dam) but a pool where bundles /called %beets,) of fla' are placed for about three weeks to soften the stems* 2he process is called %retting,* 2hose who used to do this work report that the smell is very strong and unpleasant* &eaney describes the fla' as held down by %sods, /large clumps of earth or turf - a favourite word of the poet( count how often he uses it here and in other pieces)* 1n some dams large stones would hold down the fla'* 3ibre from fla' was cleaned and spun into yarn) woven into linen and bleached* 2he townland is the smallest administrative area in .orthern 1reland* 2hey range in si$e from less than an acre to well over 2)###) while the average is some 3## acres* 2he boundaries between them are often streams or old roads*

4e careful how you write naturalist - keep the %al, in it) and don+t mi' it up with naturist) which is an old name for someone who takes off his or her clothes) to live in a %state of nature,5 &ow would you react /as a young adult or as a child) to the sight of a horde of frogs invading a familiar place6 &ow far does this poem tell the truth about frogs and how far does it tell the reader about the power of imagination6 1s this poem comic) serious or both6 &ow far does the poet invite us to laugh at him6 &eaney describes the frogs+ heads as %farting,* 0s a boy he might have said this word to friends) but would not repeat it at home or write it in school work* &ow does it work in the poem6 1s it a good idea for teachers of the young to e'plain how animals live by describing them in human terms) like %mammy, /mum or mummy) and %daddy,6 &ow well does this poem fit in with your ideas of what poetry should normally be like6

&ow truthful is the title6 -id &eaney really lose his interest in) and love of) nature* 7r does the poem record only a dramatic change of attitude) or something else6 /.ote) for e'ample) that the poem called 8erch was published in 2##"*) -oes this poem have anything in common with other poems by &eaney6 &ow far does it fit into a pattern of poems that show him not to be a real country person /like his father and grandfather) - because he can+t dig) he can+t plough) he gets upset when the blackberries start rotting and he is frightened by a lot of frogs6

%-eath of a .aturalist, is concerned with growing up and loss of innocence* 2he poet vividly describes a childhood e'perience that precipitates a change in the boy from the receptive and protected innocence of childhood to the fear and uncertainty of adolescence* &eaney organises his poem in two sections) corresponding to the change in the boy* 4y showing that this change is linked with education and learning) &eaney is concerned with the inevitability of the progression from innocence to e'perience) concerned with the transformation from the un9uestioning child to the reflective adult* 2he poem opens with an evocation of a summer landscape which has the immediacy of an actual childhood e'perience* 2here is also a sense of e'ploration in %in the heart:7f the townland;, which is consistent with the idea of learning and e'ploration inevitably leading to discovery and the troubled awareness of e'perience* 2o achieve this &eaney not only recreates the atmosphere of the fla'-dam with accuracy and authenticity) but the diction is carefully chosen to create the effect of childlike innocence and naivety* 2he child<s natural speaking voice comes across in line ; %4ut best of all,* 2he vividness of his description is achieved through &eaney<s use of images loaded with words that lengthen the vowels and have a certain weightiness in their consonants; %green and heavy-headed 3la' had rotted there) weighted down by huge sods*, 2he sound of the insects which) %=ove a strong gau$e of sound around the smell, is conveyed by the >s< and >$< sounds but also) importantly) acts like a bandage preventing the spread of decay* 2he images of decay) %festered,) %rotted,) %sweltered, and %the punishing sun, do not seem to trouble the boy in this first section /although they do prepare us for the second section and the loss of innocence); he takes a delight in the sensuousness of the natural world* 2he onomatopoeic %slobber, effectively conveys the boy<s relish for the tangible world around him* =e can further see how he views this world by the words %clotted, and %?ellied,; to the boy the frogspawn is like cream and ?am) something to be touched and en?oyed* 1n section two everything changes* 2his change is marked by differences in tone) diction) imagery) movement and sound* 2he world is now a threatening place) full of ugliness and menace* &owever) it is not the world that has changed so much as the boy<s perception of it* 2here is still a strong emphasis on decay and putrefaction) but now it is not balanced by images suggesting the profusion of life* 2he sounds are no longer delicate /line 5)) but are %coarse,) %bass, and %farting,* %2he slap and plop were obscene threats*, 2he onomatopoeic %slap,

and %plop, slow down the pace here and the full stop gives emphasis to the feeling of threat* 2he @warm thick slobber:7f frogspawn@ has become @2he great slime kings@ and the transformation is further suggested by the threatening image of the frog as @mud grenades@* Ao what has brought about this change6 1t coincides with the boy+s learning about tadpoles at school* 2he teachers use the frogs to introduce a series of facts from se'uality to the weather) in a controlled and painless way* &owever) the boy is now learning deeper and darker facts about life and his previous sense of mystery and innocent wonderment is replaced by an almost patronising simplifying of the natural world(- %the daddy frog, and @the mammy frog@* 1n spite of the simplicity of this labeling) it does e'pose the boy to the fact that life is about flu' and transformation* &is previous unconcerned collection of the frogspawn now fills him with a sense of guilt* Aimultaneously occurring with a growing awareness of his own self /and the awareness of personal responsibility that this brings) is an increasing realisation that life is not always what it seems* 0s a child he had simply collected the frogspawn) now he begins to reflect on the meaning and conse9uences of his actions* &e feels he will be punished for what he has done) @2he great slime kings:=ere gathered there for vengeance*@ &e has become aware not only of his own individual e'istence) but also of that of other living things* 0lthough not e'plicitly stated) the words @bass@) %gross-bellied, and %coarse croaking, remind us that the boy himself is going through changes* Beaving behind the receptive innocence of childhood and a feeling of being at ease with the natural world /the death of a naturalist of the title)) the language of the second section e'presses the boy+s sense of distaste and fear for the physicality and se'uality of adolescence that he is now beginning to e'perience* 2he poem recreates and e'amines the moment of the child+s confrontation with the fact that life is not what it seems* 2he e'perience transforms the boy+s perception of the world* .o longer is it a place for un9uestioning sensuous delight* 1t is a dynamic world of uncertainty* 2he success of the poem derives from the effective way &eaney builds up a totally convincing account of a childhood e'perience that deals with the e'citement) pain and confusion of growing up* 2his poem is similar to CDE4lackberry-pickingCD in its sub?ect and structure here) too) &eaney e'plains a change in his attitude to the natural world) in a poem that falls 1.27 two parts) a sort of before and after* 4ut here the e'perience is almost like a nightmare) as &eaney witnesses a plague of frogs like something 3F7G the 7ld 2estament* 2he speaker is arguably &eaney himself as a child) showing his interest in the science of nature) but also showing disgust at nature in the raw* 2he poem+s title is amusingly ironic - by a naturalist) we would normally mean someone with e'pert scientific knowledge of living things and ecology /what we once called natural history)) someone like -avid 0ttenborough or Ateve 1rwin /crikey)* 2he young Aeamus &eaney certainly was beginning to know nature 3F7G direct observation - but this incident cut short the possible scientific career before it had ever got started* =e cannot imagine real naturalists being so disgusted by a horde of croaking frogs* 2he poem has a fairly simple structure* 2he poem is set out in two sections of

blank verse /unrhymed iambic pentameter lines)* &eaney uses onomatopoeia more lavishly here than in any poem - and many of the sounds are very indelicate( CDEgargledCD) CDEslap and plopCD and CDEfartingCD* 2he le'icon is full of terms of putrefaction) faeces and generally unpleasant things CDEfesteredCD) CDErottedCD) CDEslobberCD) CDEclotted waterCD) CDErank:=ith cowdungCD and slime kingsCD* 2he use of the word CDHfartingCDI makes the poet seem immature* 2he sound of the insects which) CDE=ove a strong gau$e of sound around the smellCD is conveyed by the CDHsCDI and CDH$CDI sounds but also) importantly) acts like a bandage preventing the spread of decay* 2he childCDIs natural speaking voice comes across in line ; CDE4ut best of allCD * 2he vividness of his description is achieved through &eaneyCDIs use of images loaded with words that lengthen the vowels and have a certain weightiness in their consonants; 1n the first section) &eaney describes how the frogs would spawn in the lint hole) with a digression 1.27 his collecting the spawn) and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the process* 2he poet notes the festering in the fla'-dam) but can cope with this familiar scene of things rotting and spawn hatching* 8erhaps) as an in9uisitive child he felt some pride in not being s9ueamish - he thinks of the bubbles 3F7G the process as gargling CDEdelicatelyCD * &e is confident in taking the frogspawn - he does it every year) and watches the CDE?ellied specksCD become CDEfattening dotsCD then turn 1.27 tadpoles* &e has an almost scientific interest in knowing the proper names /CDEbullfrogCD and CDEfrogspawnCD) rather than the teacher+s patroni$ing talk of CDEdaddyCD and CDEmammyCD) and in the idea of forecasting the weather with the spawn* /.ot really very helpful) since you can see if it is raining or sunny by direct observation - no need to look at the frogspawn*) 1n the second section) &eaney records how one day he heard a strange noise and went to investigate - and found that the frogs) in huge numbers) had taken over the fla'-dam) gathering for revenge on him /to punish his theft of the spawn)* &e has an overwhelming fear that) if he puts his hand 1.27 the spawn again) it will sei$e him - and who knows what might happen then6 2he second section appears like a punishment 3F7G offended nature for the boy+s arrogance - when he sees what nature in the raw is really like) he is terrified* 2his part of the poem is ambiguous - we see the horror of the plague of frogs) CDEobsceneCD and CDEgathered***for vengeanceCD) as it appeared to the young boy* 4ut we can also see the scene more ob?ectively - as it really was* 1f we strip away the effect of imagination) we are left with a swarm of croaking amphibians* 2his may bring out a difference between a child in the "!4#s and a child in the west today* 2he 2"st century child knows all about the frogs+ habitat and behaviour 3F7G wildlife documentaries) but has never seen so many frogs at close range in real life* 2he young &eaney was used to seeing nature close up) but perhaps never got beyond the very simple account of CDEmammyCD and CDEdaddyCD frogs* 2he teacher presents the amphibians as if they were people* 2he arrival of the frogs is like a military invasion - they are CDEangryCD and invade the dam; the boy ducks CDEthrough hedgesCD to hide 3F7G the enemy* Bike firearms) they are CDEcockedCD) or they are CDEpoised like mud grenadesCD* &eaney indulges in a riotous succession of disgusting descriptions( CDEgross-belliedCD) CDEpulsed like snailsCD /this works only for the reader who dislikes snails) but many people do)) CDEslap and plopCD ) CDEobscene

threatsCD /suggesting swear words)) CDEfartingCD and CDEslime kingsCD* 2his) among other things) points to the prowess of this childCDIs imagination* 0 familiar space being invaded by frogs could be 9uite dramatic to a small child) but to make it appear that way to an adult would re9uire additional imaginary detail) perhaps this is the young &eaney attempting to JK8B01. to his patronising teacher) ?ust what he felt* 7r perhaps he is attempting to ?ustify or rationalise his fear* 2his change in attitude towards life in general coincides with the boy+s learning about tadpoles at school* 2he teachers use the frogs to introduce a series of facts 3F7G se'uality to the weather) in a controlled and painless way* &owever) the boy is now learning deeper and darker facts about life and his previous sense of mystery and innocent wonderment is replaced by an almost patronising simplifying of the natural world(- CDEthe daddy frogCD and @the mammy frog@* 1n spite of the simplicity of this labeling) it does e'pose the boy to the fact that life is about flu' and transformation* &is previous unconcerned collection of the frogspawn now fills him with a sense of guilt* Aimultaneously occurring with a growing awareness of his own self /and the awareness of personal responsibility that this brings) is an increasing realisation that life is not always what it seems* 0s a child he had simply collected the frogspawn) now he begins to reflect on the meaning and conse9uences of his actions* &e feels he will be punished for what he has done) @2he great slime kings:=ere gathered there for vengeance*@ &e has become aware not only of his own individual e'istence) but also of that of other living things* 0lthough not e'plicitly stated) the words @bass@) CDEgrossbelliedCD and CDEcoarse croakingCD remind us that the boy himself is going through changes* Beaving behind the receptive innocence of childhood and a feeling of being at ease with the natural world /the death of a naturalist of the title)) the language of the second section e'presses the boy+s sense of distaste and fear for the physicality and se'uality of adolescence that he is now beginning to e'perience* 2he title is not completely true) &eaney has not lost his love of nature) he has instead had a change in his attitude towards life in nature itself) he is realising that that farm is not the place for him* 2he encounter with the frogs as a child has cut short the possible scientific career before it had ever got started* 1t is difficult to imagine real naturalists being so disgusted by a horde of croaking frogs* 2his fits in well with other &eaney poems) he is showing us how he was not born to work on the land) he can+t dig) he can+t plough) he gets upset when the blackberries start rotting and he is frightened by a lot of frogs* &e realises where his talent lies and tell us this through the poem CDHdiggingCDI) as much as he looks up at his father and grandfatherCDIs skill as farmers) he opts to become a writer 2his poem is wonderful) it speaks of growth* the process of growth heaney undergoes* &ere nature is described graphically* the first stan$a is written in a childish tone) while the second stan$a is written in an adult tone; to show the change heaney underwent* 7ne always says that perfection is not of this world) however in a minute and precise way) a poem like -eath of a .aturalist of 8oem is perfect) it has a sense of love) affection) philosophy) and it creates meaning through sound) small* 1t rhymes) thus) what more does one want6

2he structure of >-eath of a .aturalist< is set out in two sections of unrhymed iambic pentameter lines* 2he poem has a fairly simple structure* 1n the first section) &eaney describes how the frogs would lay eggs and the way he collected the spawn and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the process* 1n the second section) &eaney records how) one day) he heard a strange noise and went to investigate - and found that the frogs) in huge numbers) had taken over the fla'-dam) gathering for revenge on him and to punish him for stealing the spawn* >1n Giss 2ilscher<s Llass< has a usual structure( two stan$as of eight lines and two of seven lines) usually in unrhymed pentameters* Aimilar to &eaney<s poem) there is a very effective contrast between the first half of the poem and the last two stan$as) as one moves from a secure childhood to dangerous growing up* 4oth these poems have a noticeable contrast between two sections; 1 think it works well because they are trying to establish that time is passing* 2here is no rhyme in the poem >-eath of a .aturalist<) however the lines are set with an iambic pentameter rhythm* &owever in the poem >1n Giss 2ilscher<s Llass< there is no definite rhythm but there seems to be an occasional rhyme* 1n the first section of >-eath of a .aturalist<) the poet notes the nature and wildlife found in the fla'-dam) but can handle this familiar scene of things rotting and spawn hatching* 8erhaps) as an interested child he felt some satisfaction in not being particular - he thinks of the bubbles from the process as gargling %delicately,* &e is confident in taking the frogspawn - he does it every year) and watches the %?ellied specks, become %fattening dots, then turn into tadpoles* &e has an interest in frogs and knows the proper names - %bullfrog, and %frogspawn, - rather than the teacher+s talk of the %daddy, and %mammy, frogs* &e also likes the idea of forecasting the weather with the spawn* 2he second section appears like a punishment from nature for the boy+s actions - when he sees what nature is really like he is terrified* 2his part of the poem is ambiguous* =e see horror when he sees the huge number of frogs; he uses words like %obscene, and %gathered***for vengeance,* 2he young &eaney was used to seeing nature close up) from life on the farm he uses his memories to depict the scene but from a young boy<s point of view* 2he arrival of the frogs is portrayed as military invasion - they are %angry, and invade the dam; the boy ducks %through hedges, to hide from the enemy* 2he frogs are illustrated as weapons) they are %cocked,) or they are %poised like mud grenades,* &eaney uses disgusting descriptions to illustrate the riot( %gross-bellied,) %slap and plop,) %obscene threats,) %farting, and %slime kings,* 2his is how a young boy would interpret the setting* &eaney uses onomatopoeia is used very lavishly in this poem - and many of the sounds are very indelicate( %gargled,) %slap and plop, and %farting,* 2he vividness of his descriptions is achieved through &eaney<s use of images load with words that lengthen the vowels and have a weightiness in their consonants; %green and heavy-headed 3la' had rotted there) weighted down by huge sods*, 2he sound of the insects which) %=ove a strong gau$e of sound around the smell, is conveyed by the >s< and >$< sounds* 2he first stan$a of 1n Giss 2ilscher<s Llass has no real hint of the turmoil that is to come( -uffy shows us a typical day in Giss 2ilscher+s class* =hile the children trace the route with their fingers on a map) the teacher tells them the names of places on the 4lue .ile* 0fter an hour comes playtime and a bottle of milk* 7ther images from school are the window-pole and the bell* @2he laugh of a bell swung by a running child@) personifiacation is used in this line when -uffy describes the bell as laughing* @4etter than home@ may mean that there was more to do than there would be at home and the bright colours would be more e'citing than

home decoration* 0lthough 4rady and &indley /@Goors Gurderers@ in the "!6#s) have become infamous for their child murders) in school any fears the children might have would disappear they would feel secure and safe* -uffy compares this fading of fear to the fading of a faint smudge where a child corrects a mistake written in pencil* 2he children think that their teacher loves them) and see a @good gold star@ on their work as proof of this* 1n the first half of the poem there is no sense of time passing* 2his comes in the second half* 2he growth of the tadpoles is e'plained in terms of punctuation marks /similar to the way in which Aeamus &eaney describes them)* 2he action of the %dunce,) in letting the frogs out) hints at trouble to come) the children are amused) not concerned for the animals* 4ut the real change is noticed from the comment made by @a rough boy@ about %how you were born,* 2he young Larol 0nn -uffy suspects truth in what the boy says and this is confirmed by Giss 2ilscher+s avoidance when she is asked about birth* @3everish Muly, actually hints to us that it is the child) not the month) which is feverish in Muly however @feverish@ can also be read as a metaphor for the heat and humidity of the month* 2he electrical storm) about to break) is felt as @a tangible alarm,* 1t makes the child feel uncomfortable and %fractious,* =hen the reports were handed out it was as if childhood had ended) as did their school year* 2he breaking thunderstorm is a metaphor for adolescence - a deluge of feelings) hormones and changed attitudes* 1n conclusion 1 think that the descriptions from both Aeamus &eaney and Larol 0nn -uffy help depict what their poems are about* 1n &eaney<s we see how his attitude towards nature is change and in -uffy<s we see the change in her life from childhood to adolescence* 4oth poets use similar ad?ectives and images to portray aspects of their lives and 1 think they use memories from their childhood to e'press thoughts and feeling simply but very effectively*

5. Blackberry-picking ?his poem gi-es a -i-id a!!ount of pi!(ing bla!(berries" &ut it is really about hope and disappointment .how things ne-er Buite li-e up to our e8pe!tations) and bla!(berry pi!(ing be!omes a metaphor for other e8perien!es"

n the first half of the poem Heaney des!ribes the pi!(ing 1 from the appearan!e of the first fruit to the fren9y of a!ti-ity as more fruit ripens" ?he se!ond half of the poem !on!erns the attempt to preser-e the berries 1 always a failure, as the fungus set in and the fruit fermented" .Now that many people in the west ha-e free9ers, this problem is sol-ed" &ut do many young people still go to pi!( bla!(berriesD)

n the first se!tion Heaney presents the tasting of the bla!(berries as a sensual pleasure 1 referring to sweet @fleshA, to @summer%s bloodA and to @lustA" He uses many ad'e!ti-es of !olour .how many !an you findD) and suggests the enthusiasm of the !olle!tors, using e-ery a-ailable !ontainer to hold the fruit they ha-e pi!(ed" ?here is also a hint that this pi!(ing is somehow -iolent 1 after the @bloodA !omes the !laim that the !olle!tors% hands were @sti!(y as &luebeard%sA .whose hands were !o-ered with the blood of his wi-es)" ?he lus!iousness of the fresh fruit !ontrasts with what it Bui!(ly be!omes @furA and @rat1grey fungusA, as @lo-ely !anfulsA smell @of rotA" ?he poem is set out in iambi! pentameter !ouplets with half rhyme" *i(e many of Heaney%s poems it is full of monosyllabi! nouns= @!lotA, @(notA, @!ansA, @potsA, @blobsA, @pri!(sA,

@byreA, @furA, @!a!heA, @bushA, @fleshA and @rotA .there are others)" ?he poem has a !lear stru!ture 1 the two se!tions mat!h the two stages of the poet%s thought" ?his poem is ambiguous in its -iewpoint, too" <e see the -iew of a frustrated !hild in @ """felt li(e !ryingA and @ t wasn%t fairA, but a more deta!hed adult -iew in the antithesis of @6a!h year hoped they%d (eep, (new they would not"A ?he poem loo(s at a theme that is as old as poetry itself 1 the transitoriness of pleasure .how good things do not last), and relates it to a familiar !hildhood e8perien!e" Heaney suggests that what is true of bla!(berries may be true of good things generally" &ut this is argument by analogy" Nowadays we !an preser-e our fruit by free9ing it 1 so does this mean that hopes are not disappointed after allD How far is this poem about something parti!ular or about life in generalD 68plain how the poem !ontrasts ideas of e8pe!ted pleasure and disappointment" Does this poem gi-e the -iewpoint of a !hild or an adult or bothD Can you e8plain why Heaney, in the last line, says that he @hopedA for something, e-en though he @(newA it would not happenD what an ama9ing poem,showing the fun of him as a young boy and then the despair as the fruit rots"ama9ing Howe-er does anyone really (now the meaning behind the bla!( in( and white pagesD ?o me it seems that the sub1themes ha-e loads of -iolen!e in them e-en though its ment to be a poem about a !hild" An e8ample of this !ould be %our hands were peppered with thorns pri!(s% ?he proper meaning for peppered is for e8ample someone peppered you with bullets" ts another way for saying full of holes" t seems rather grusome to be about a !hild to me" ?he line that i lo-e the most and the stri(es me as being odd to be put in this poem is when it says %5ur palms sti!(y as bluebeard%s% f anyone doesn%t (now the blood thirsty story of &luebeard" He was a man who murdered his wi-es" So his hands would be sti!(y be!ause of the blood that was all o-er them" So pi!turing an image of inno!ent adorable !hildren with bloody hands is rather horrid" Howe-er the poem is !le-erly disguised and is indeed an en'oyable poem to read" t%s true that Seamus Heaney is from Northern reland, so his e8perien!es there ha-e shaped his life and are often e8pressed through his poetry" He uses many war or -iolen!e referen!es in most of his poems" >oou don%t ha-e to Gloo(G to see that, its right there in the poemH n GDeath of NaturalistG, Heaney also tal(s about the theme of lost inno!ense and the transition between !hildhood and the adult world, -ery similiar to this poem" A line in that poem says Gmud grenadesG whi!h is ob-iously to do with -iolen!e or feeling threatened by the frogs the that GD"5"A"NG des!ribes" ?he line Gwith thorn pri!(sG gi-es thoughts on the !rown of thorns put on Christs head before he was !ru!ified" ?his is another e8ample of the disturbing images, !le-erly disguised by Seamus Heaney"

thin( there is a -ery -alid point about the disturbing images !reated through the simile Heaney has used regarding &luebeard" as( the s!epti!= why else would he ha-e used the pirate from this parti!ularly gruesome taleD don%t belie-e it was a mere a!!ident" f you loo(, you%ll find the poem !ontains other referen!es unusual for a !hild%s point of -iew= the GlustG for pi!(ing and the fa!t that the berries% Gflesh was sweet E li(e thi!(ened wineG" Seamus Heaney%s poem has a deeper meaning to it, that there is always a beginning to life but also an end to life 1 religious symbolsD 5ne is immediately stru!( by what seems to me to be intense religious symbolism" why else would heaney say Gthe flesh was sweet, li(e thi!(ened wine= summer%s bloodG ..relating the wine to blood I thus ma(ing the !onne!tion between the berries I the ta(ing of !ommunion as 'esus% blood))D also, the line about their hands being pri!(ed by thorns, relating to the !rown of thorns" how does this all tie in to the deeper meaning of the poemD >ou !ould also !ome to belie-e this poem to be about a summer roman!e" t starts with G*ate AugustG and there are definite se8ual referen!es .i"e" he mentions the Glust for pi!(ingG)" *i(e any relationship, howe-er, it is not without pain and the peppered hands are referring to the fa!t that though it was a sweet relationship it had holes and !ould not last" At the end when the fruit rots he says G6a!h year hoped they%d (eep, (new they would not"G ?hough it would be ni!e if summer roman!es lasted they don%t" this poem is 'ust one e8tended se8ual metaphor" ?he bla!(berries reprsent pure women and after a while they Gturn sour"G Heaney is always left unsatisfied by the loss of inno!ense and purity in women" )any of Heaneys poems !ontain se8ual metaphors, so this poem is no suprise" A different -iew on it" &luebeard was EnotE a pirate, but he ga-e ea!h wife a string of (eys with one (ey she is forbidden to use" Sin!e they all use the (ey, he finds out and (ills them" t is li(e the !hildren pi!(ing berries= ?hey (now the berries will rot, 'ust li(e &luebeard (nows his wife%s !uriosity will get the better of her" ?his poem is an allegory for life" 5ne goes through life G&la!( berry pi!(ingG and while there are hard times and good times, in the end you die" Howe-er, impending death does not affe!t the life that one had" ?his that is why he still did it e-ery summer pi!(ed the bla!(berrys, (nowing the would not (eep" *ife does not last fore-er, Cherish itH ?his poem seems to be more of a des!ription of how things ne-er li-e upto e8pe!tations" ?he first part of the poem shows a !hild%s e8!itement of the prospe!t of pi!(ing the berries, and his enthusiasm when !arrying it out" &ut the se!ond half !learly shows an unfortunate downward sprial for the !hild as e-erything seems to go wrong" Also the in!lusion of &luebeard is a !lear sign of sadness" 5ne angle is that it%s lust *ust n August, the bla!(berries ripen" ?he lust for the berries begins when @you ate that first one and its flesh was sweet"A ?he imagery of the berry is that it is full and ripe, unli(e the green, hard ones" ?he 'ui!e is @li(e thi!(ened wine,A and the e-iden!e of this tasting, the @stains upon the tongue,A lea-e a @lust for pi!(ing"A ?he imagery of wine, something

whi!h one !ra-es, e8tends into the deeper meaning of lust" ?he pi!(ers, in their lust for the sweet berries, gather up anything !an to pi!( the berries with" ?he image that @big dar( blobs burned li(e a plate of eyesA at the pi!(ers personifies the berries, and thus ma(es the ne8t lines -ery poignant" ?he pi!(ersJ hands are @sti!(y as &luebeardJs,A a !hara!ter in fairy1tales who murders his wi-es" ?hrough imagery, the pi!(ers are now !ast in the same light as the murderer" 6-en in line si8, the narrator points out that @summerJs bloodA was in the pi!(ing" ?he imagery of this blood e8tends to the berriesJ 'ui!es and the pi!(ers in'uries from thorns" 6a!h year, the pi!(ers hoard all the berries from the -ine" &y satiating their lust for the fruit, they ultimately (ill the berries" A @rat1grey fungus glutted on our !a!he,A the narrator laments" ?he image of @rat1grey fungusJ !on'ures a sinister feel to the death of the berries in its rodent imagery" $ust as the pi!(ers lustfully glutted the -ines, so the fungus gluts the store of berries" ?he poem ends with the narrator stating that e-en though he (nows the berries will rot ea!h year, he !anJt stop hoarding them" ?his is the same as the effe!t lust has on someone1they !annot stop feeding it e-en though they (now their @rewardA will spoil in the end" ?he imagery used in the des!ription of the berries1@wine,A @glossy purple !lot,A and @flesh was sweetA ser-es to display the draw of the berries, and establish a !ause for lust" ?hen the imagery of @palms sti!(y as &luebeardJsA show the !rime in satiating lust" *astly, the images of the rotted berries and @rat1grey fungusA show the !onseBuen!e of lust" Se8ual referen!es ?his entire poem is about se8 and the loss of inno!en!e" ?he berries are a representation of no matter how hard we try to hold on to our !hildish inno!en!e, we all ine-itably loose it" t !an%t be helped He pi!(ed too many berries"""!ans and !ans of them"""e-en though he (new that they would ne-er be eaten" And so they rotted" ?o me, the poem is about e8!ess"""the lust for life to the point of e8!ess, and e-entually wasting our li-es 11 we had so mu!h of it that we negle!ted it, thin(ing that life would always be there, and e-entually dis!o-ering that our li-es had turned into a rotten sour mess" lol am depressed now 11 will drin( some bla!(berry wine be!ause had a free9er and some 7ruit 7resh, and sa-ed all my berries" Some people thin( it was about relationships in general and how people long for these lo-ing relationships but they ne-er turn out the way you want put eben though you (now this you !ontinue to persue it" some people thought it was about life in general" o-erall we agreed the theme was disappointment" ea!h year he des!ribes how he went ba!( in the fields to pi!( these berries at all !ost .pots, pans, et!")despite the fa!t that he (new they were only going to rot" no matter when he pi!(ed them or how many he pi!(ed the same result happened" people do this in life and relationships" !inderalla went to the ball e-en though she (new her !arriage would turn ba!( into a pump(in" i thin( the big Buestion here is whether or not that moment of satisfi!ation is worth the ine-itable disappointment heaney is ob-iously refering ba!( to his !hildhood and how he would let his hopes build up and get disappointed and though he (new he was going to be let down he would still

let his hopes build up as any !hild would" heaneys use of imagery is not to show any (ind of roman!e or hatred but to simply set the s!ene for the reader, heaney has had some happy but also some sorrowful memories of his !hild hood and his simply trying to share them through his use of imagery and language" seamus heaney in the poem bla!(berry pi!(ing mentions blood allot" su!h as Gour palms as sti!(y as bluebeardsG and also it mentions the berrys as being G!lotsG well blood !lots" it then metions the flesh of the berry Gthe flesh was sweetG whi!h brings you ba!( to blood" also it mentions blood Gsummers blood is in itG" seamus is ob-iously disguising blood with in his twisted yet 'oyful poem" it des!ribed the se8ual e8perien!e and the loss of inno!en!e" ?here are many referen!es to menstruation .the !lots and fermented wine)" )ore importantly, the depi!tion of so!ial maturity and a new (nowledge" ?he referen!e to &luebeard is des!ribing how, li(e the (ey that (ept bleeding in the myth, (nowledge is permanent, as when he des!ribed he always felt li(e !rying" Also, noti!e how the stan9as do not always rhyme" Hard rhymes are a symbol of !hildhood nursery rhymes, but really life is not perfe!t and promising" ?he slant rhyme is therefore used" 5n the first time reading this poem, it tal(s about (eeping and losing" 5ne !annot (eep something for so long, only till it GrotsG" it is rele-ant to death, how death !omes and goes, so applies to life" ?he first se!tion of the poem gi-es life 1 !omparing a !hild%s growth with pi!(ing bla!(berries, ?he se!ond se!tion !ould be germane to death" ?hroughout the poem, why the poet used Gbla!(Gberries rather than strawberries, or blueberries, or rasberry in general" thin( Gbla!(G in berries hints a relation with death and losing" ?he title also !at!hes attention= G&la!(berry1+i!(ing"G if it was G+i!(ing &la!(berriesG, would it ma(e any differen!eD ?here is a slight differen!e, someway in the metaphor -iew of the poem, that if it was swit!hed to G+i!(ing &la!(berriesG rather than G&la!(berry1+i!(ingG" noti!e a lot of religious undertonesD there are a lot of referen!es to !olours, green and blue !ould show !onfli!t between !atholi! and protestant" ;ed and +urple refer to the robes of !ardinals from the ;C !hur!h" ?horn pri!(s, blood, hea-y rain .noah and the ar()" these are 'ust theories" the a!tual Gpi!(ingG itself relates to fighting and !onfli!t" 5ne definitely see religious !onnotations in this poemF but also the awa(enings of a boy to the harshness of the world" ?he first stan9a is the -oi!e of a !hildF loo(ing forward to eating bla!(berries and pi!(ing them and so on 1 the 0nd stan9a is about the disappointment, the undertone being loo(ing forward to growing up and e8perien!ing life, then the disappointment of being grown up" Also, what about the se8ual !onnotationsD +erhaps the disappointment of first lo-eD ?he underpinnings of the !olour %red% and the use of words su!h as %lust% and blood% supports this idea thin(" bla!(berry pi!(ing is about sla-ery" At a first reading, it doesn%t seem so" &ut after you read the title, you start wondering why he !hose bla!(berries instead of blueberries or

rasberries" ?he bush represents Afri!a that nourishes its berries, or the afri!ans" the har-ester is guilty, and des!ribes them as eyes wat!hing him" ;emember how in the sla-e ships, how sla-es were pa!(ed so tightly that if one got si!(, it would infe!t the othersD n the same way, the hoard of berries seperate from their nourishing bran!hes begin to rot and infe!t those around it"

7. Follower ?he title of this poem is ambiguous 1 it shows how the young Heaney followed his father literally and metaphori!ally" ?he !hild sees farming as simply imitating his father%s a!tions .@!lose one eye, stiffen my armA), but later learns how s(illed the wor( is" He re!alls his admiration of his father thenF but now his father wal(s behind .this metaphor runs through the poem)" 6ffe!ti-ely their positions are re-ersed" His father is not literally behind him, but the poet is troubled by his memory= perhaps he feels guilt at not !arrying on the tradition of farming, or feels he !annot li-e up to his father%s e8ample" ?he poem has se-eral de-eloped metaphors, su!h as the !hild%s following in his father%s footsteps and wanting to be li(e him" ?he father is sturdy while the !hild falls 1 his feet are not big enough for him to be steady on the une-en land" ?here are many nauti!al referen!es=

?he father%s shoulders are li(e the billowing sail of a ship" ?he @sodA rolls o-er @without brea(ingA .li(e a wa-e)" ?he !hild stumbles @in his wa(eA and dips and rises on his father%s ba!(" @)apping the furrowA is li(e na-igating a ship"

n these images the farmer is not shown as simple but highly s(illed" Heaney uses spe!iali9ed terms .a spe!ial le8i!on or register) from ploughing 1 terms su!h as @wingA, @so!(A and @headrigA" ?here are many a!ti-e -erbs 1 @rolledA, @stumbledA, @trippingA, @fallingA and @yappingA" ?here are lots of monosyllables and !olloBuial -o!abulary, freBuently as the rhyme word at the end of line" Some of these terms sound li(e their meaning .onomatopoeia), li(e @!li!(ingA, @plu!(A and @yappingA" ?he metre of the poems is more or less iambi! .in tetrameters 1 four poeti! feetEeight syllables to ea!h line) and rhymed in Buatrains .stan9as of four lines)" <e see a phrase without a -erb written as senten!e= @An e8pertA" ?he poet uses !ontrast 1 apart from the general !ontrast of past and present we note how=

the father%s !ontrol is effortless .@!li!(ing tongueA or @single plu!(E5f reinsA) while the powerful horses .@sweating teamA) strain, and how the young Seamus @wanted to grow up and plough"A but all he @e-er did was followA"

n thin(ing about the poem you might li(e to !onsider these Buestions=

<hat does the poem show of the relationship of father and son, and how time has !hanged thisD <hat does the last line of the poem meanD Does Heaney really want his father to @go awayAD s this a poem about farming spe!ifi!ally or is it rele-ant to other s(ills and o!!upationsD How does Heaney e8plore the idea of family tradition hereD n %7ollower% Heaney presents us with a -ery -i-id pi!ture of his father as he appeared to the poet as a young boy" <e learn a lot about both the relationship that e8isted between them and the way Heaney saw his family" ?he father is, more than anything else, an energeti! and s(illed farmer" He is %An e8pert% with the horse1plough and Heaney as a little boy would simply get in his father%s way" ?he poem is full of admiration for his father%s strength and s(ill with horses" At the end of the poem, howe-er, we are mo-ed to the present day and there is a !hange in rolesF it is now Heaney%s father who has be!ome the !hild who gets in the way" His awareness of how the passing of time has brought about this !hange does not lessen the lo-e and respe!t he feels, howe-er" Heaney remembers when he was a small boy, and in the poem he loo(s up to his father in a physi!al sense, be!ause he is so mu!h smaller than his father, but he also loo(s up to him in a metaphori!al sense" ?his is made !lear by the poet%s !areful !hoi!e of words" An e8ample of this is in the lines= GHis eye Narrowed and angled at the ground, )apping the furrow e8a!tly"G ?he !hoi!es of the -erbs GNarrowedG, GangledG and G)appingG effe!ti-ely suggest his father%s s(ill and pre!ision" <e are also told that young Heaney Gstumbled in his hob1 nailed wa(e,G whi!h brings to our mind a pi!ture of the ploughman%s hea-y boots, the !arefully ploughed furrow and the !hild%s !lumsy enthusiasm" ?his idea is repeated in the lines= G was a nuisan!e, tripping, falling, >apping always"G ?hese words, espe!ially G>appingG ma(e us thin( of the boy as being li(e a young and e8!ited puppy 1 en'oying playing at ploughing, but of no pra!ti!al help" n fa!t, he was a hindran!e to a busy farmer, but his father tolerates him" His father%s strength and power are also -ery effe!ti-ely brought out in the simple, but effe!ti-e simile= GHis shoulders globed li(e a full sail strung &etween the shafts and the furrow"G ?he !omparison here suggests a man who spends mu!h of his time out of doors, a

man who is a part of nature" ?he word GglobedG also suggests great strength and gi-es the impression that the father was the whole world to the young boy" t is important to note that his father is not simply strongF his tender lo-e and !are for his son are emphasised by the fa!t that he Grode me on his ba!(E Dipping and rising to his plodG" ?he sound and rhythm of these lines !on-ey the pleasure young Heaney had in the ride" ?he poem is written in si8 stan9as of four lines ea!h" ?he first four stan9as des!ribe Heaney%s admiration for his father and his abilities" ?he ne8t fi-e and a half lines SH5< that the poet wanted to grow up to be li(e his father" Howe-er, he feels that he !ould do no more than get in the way" ?hen there is a twist in the last two and a half lines= G&ut today t is my father who (eeps stumbling &ehind me, and will not go away"G ?he use of a new senten!e beginning with the !apital %&% emphasises the importan!e of this statement" All through the poem Heaney uses de-i!es li(e this to suggest to the reader something about his father" Some lines ha-e a rhythm whi!h suggest the ruggedness of the ploughman and the rhythm of the ploughing" Also, Heaney uses words that do not rhyme e8a!tly, li(e Gso!(G and Gplu!(G .%half1rhyme%)" ?his adds to the %!raggy% des!ription" Heaney is also -ery !areful about how he arranges the words on the page" ?he se!ond stan9a begins with a brief two word statement 1GAn e8pertG, whi!h, in its emphati! bre-ity, for!es us to ta(e note, and lea-es the impression that there is nothing more to add" 6-en though the word %lo-e% is ne-er used in the poem, it is ob-iously the word that best des!ribes the basis of the relationship e8isting between Heaney and his father" ?he poem is -ery mu!h a personal e8perien!e, but it has a mu!h wider signifi!an!e relating to any (ind of hero1worship by a %follower%" Now that he is himself an adult, Heaney a!(nowledges that the father he hero1worshipped as a young boy has grown old and needs as mu!h toleran!e and patien!e as he himself on!e showed his son" magery t is an interesting point that Heaney uses so many nauti!al referen!es when tal(ing about his father in 7ollowing" Gfull sail strungG, Gmapping the furrowG, Gwa(eG, Gdipping and risingG +erhaps these are some suggestion that he thought the role of a farmer to be more s(illed than most people thought and atta!hing this nauti!al imagery promotes the s(ill reBuired" G?he use of a new senten!e beginning with the !apital %&% emphasises the importan!e of this statement"G all of his poems depi!t some aspest of his !hildhood, his father has had the greatest inflen!e on his wor( than anyone else in his life

Con!rete poetry 1 when the poem loo(s li(e its topi! eg a poem about a fish would be in a fish shape" Noti!e how the lines of %7ollower% are neatly done, long shorter long shorter long shorter, 'ust li(e a well ploughed field" ?his further adds to the theme of the father being an e8pert" Also the first line of the poem is Gmy father wor(edG so gi-ing the impression that is was indeed Heaneys father" ?he one thing that always grabs attention when reading this peom, is the last two lines, whi!h !an be open to interpretation" s it that his father is now old and frail, whi!h would e indi!ated by the use of the word GstumblingG, or would it seem that it is more of the fathers presen!e that follows him, almost as a spirit, whi!h i find indi!taed in the line Gand will no go awayG" Some readers seem to ha-e !onfused the -oi!e of the spea(er in the poem with that of the author" +oetry is not ne!essarily autobiographi!al 1 although Heaney%s may well be 1 and the person spea(ing is not always spea(ing with the author%s -oi!e" )y mother 'ust published a boo( of poetry, and while re!ogni9e !ertain referen!es and people in her poems, they are not a !opy of life and she is insulted by the idea that the poems are autobiographi!alH in relation to the last two lines heany almost !on-eys his father as a tormenying soul haunting him and e-ery time heany sees him he remembers his !hildhood dream and the toleren!e his father showed him" heany does not seem to show his father toleren!e whi!h maybe emphasises him not turning out li(e his father" >ou !an also ma(e the !omparison with 5lypus, the Cree( giant who !arried the world on his shoulders in the line GHis shoulders globed li(e a full sail strung"G the use of ar!hai! language really submits a personal -iew of the interrogation of growing up" t is a masterpie!e from heaney whi!h !asts a sideways glan!e at dealing with the elderly the poem !arried an unsaid form of lo-e" *oo(ing at the immense detail with whi!h the young spea(er remembers his father, !an see some basis for interpretation for lo-e and awe" $ust interested to find out what you guys thin( about the last stan9aD t might be about his gratefulness for his father%s toleran!e towards a %nuisan!e% li(e him" it was about a role re-ersal, how the awe he felt as a !hild has be!ome !ondes!ension towards the nuisan!e his father now is, espe!ially be!ause he draws this similarity between his past GfallingG and his father%s present GstumblingG within the same stan9a" All the same, the idea that it might be a tone of affe!tion A poem whi!h deals with !hildhood is GfollowerG by Seamus heaney" He ma(es this poem more -i-id by using su!h poeti! te!hniBues su!h as figurati-e language, imagery and word !hoi!e""

n heaneys G7ollowerG we dis!o-ered that this poem has an interesting -iew of his father, with their relationship and bonds whi!h they had" the last few lines are referring to Heaney%s father%s ghost, or soul, not to an apparantly !rippled old man" Heaney%s K7ollower% is !omple8F the uni-erse the spea(er inhabits is not a simple oneF he is sub'e!ted to the harsh reality of life from a young age, he is not being told to lead but to follow, he is trained for dis!ipleship" He is not able to !hange reality as e-en when he grows up, the shadow lur(s behind him, not willing to set him free" the use of nauti!al imagery within the poem helps to !reate admiration for the s(ill and pre!ision of Heaney%s father" Howe-er one !ould also interpret this imagery .words su!h as Gfull sail strungG and Gwa(eG) as a metaphori!al means of representing a 'ourney= as father and son tra-el through their li-es" the final stan9a of this poem may highlight a !hanging of times, in his father stumbling behind struggling to get by in modern times and Heaney in a good 'ob in different times, better times" last statement has double meaning, that his father is following him both physi!ally, as a wea(ened old man, as well as spiritually, or as a memory, perhaps

9. At a otato Digging n this poem Heaney loo(s at man%s relationship with the land 1 the !ulti-ation of the potato is a way into reland%s so!ial history" ?he first and last of the four se!tions depi!t the digging and gathering in of the potato !rop today" ?he se!ond se!tion loo(s more !losely at the potato, and the third is an a!!ount of the great +otato 7amine of 124,112,3" <e sometimes asso!iate the gathering in of food !rops with offering than(s to Cod .as in the Har-est 7esti-al) but here Heaney suggests that the rish labourers ha-e a superstitious or pagan fear of a nature god .the @famine godA) whom they must appease with their offerings" Although the farmer uses a me!hani!al digger to turn up the soil in whi!h the potatoes lie, the 'ob of gathering in the potatoes still relies on human wor(ers" ?he ma!hine turns up the roots and the labourers, in a line, bend down to fill their wi!(er !reels .bas(ets)" As they fill their bas(ets, they lea-e the line to drop the potatoes into the pit, where they will be stored" ?hough the wor( is hard, and ma(es the wor(ers% fingers @go dead in the !oldA, they wor( almost automati!ally .@mindlesslyA) made tough by their @Centuries ofEfear and homage to the famine godA" ?he fol( memory of the great famine ma(es them ready for almost any hardship, in pursuit of full stoma!hs" ?he potatoes !ome in different !olours .a!!ording to the -ariety)" ?he se!ond stan9a e8plains how they sprout and grow in their nati-e soil" Although the great famine, !aused by blight, happened more than 1,3 years ago, still ea!h year the potato har-est !an be an an8ious pro!ess, as the wor(ers smell the potatoes and feel them for firmness 1 ma(ing sure they are

free of the blight" .A fungus1li(e organism, !alled Ph&to*hthora infestans, !auses the disease" ?his organism harms only the potato and, to a lesser e8tent, the tomato, a member of the same plant family") n this a!!ount, they !ome out, e8uding @good smellsA and undamaged by the digger 1 @a !lean birthA, to be @piled in pitsA" ?hey resemble s(ulls, but are ali-e" ?hey ha-e eyes .sprouting points) but these are blind 1 they ha-e not yet sprouted" n the third stan9a, Heaney uses e8a!tly the same phrases 1 @*i-e s(ulls, blind1eyedA 1 but this time referring to the people who suffered in the great famine of 124," +oor people .that is most people) in reland at this time relied almost wholly on the potato as their staple food" ?his e8plains why they would e-en eat @the blighted rootA 1 but there was no real !rop to spea( of, and the blighted potatoes !ould not feed the people" ?he @new potatoA, whi!h seemed @sound as stoneA, would rot within a few days of being stored 1 and @millions rotted along with itA" ?he phrase is ambiguous 1 it means that millions of potatoes rotted, but ma(es us thin( of the people who died" .?he population of reland dropped from 2 million before the famine to , million afterwards" +erhaps a million died, while others left for 6ngland or the :nited States of Ameri!a") ?hose who sur-i-ed were famished 1 Heaney li(ens this to the sharp bea(s of birds snipping at people%s guts" ?he people are shown as desperate and demorali9ed 1 @hungering from birthA 1 and !ursing the ground, @the bit!h earthA" As this se!tion mo-es ba!( in time at the start, so it ends by returning to the present, where the @potato diggers areA and @you still smell the running soreA 1 as if the blight opened a wound that has ne-er healed" n the fourth and final se!tion, the wor(ers ta(e their lun!h brea( 1 they no longer depend on the potato for their own food .though they earn their pay by digging it)" nstead they ha-e @brown bread and teaA, and their employer ser-es it, while there is no shortage, and they @ta(e their fillA" &ut they are not ta(ing any !han!es 1 the earth is not to be trusted .@faithless groundA)" As they throw away the dregs of the tea and their bread!rumbs, they ma(e their offerings 1 @libationsA 1 to this god whom they fear and must appease" ?he poem has a !lear formal stru!ture 1 the four se!tions go together rather as the mo-ements in a symphony" n presenting the main sub'e!t, the @+otato DiggingA of the title, Heaney ma(es two e8!ursions 1 to inspe!t the mar-ellous food plant in !lose1up, and to re!all the terrible history with whi!h it will always be asso!iated in rish memory" ?he first and last se!tions ha-e a loose iambi! metre .a mi8 of tetrameters and pentameters) and a !lear A&A& rhyme s!heme 1 whi!h brea(s down only in the poem%s final line" .<hy might Heaney do thisD)" ?he se!ond se!tion has fewer rhymes in an irregular pattern, so the effe!t is not -ery ob-ious to the reader" &ut the third se!tion uses rhyme in pairs= AA&& and so on" Here the rhyme words are emphati!, an effe!t made stronger by the tro!hai! metre" .?he stress usually falls on the first syllable of ea!h pair" ?his metre wor(s well for bitter politi!al -erse 1 Shelley uses it in his (ask of %narch&") ?he poem abounds in images" Heaney uses natural metaphors 1 of ro!( .@flintA, @pebblesA and @stoneA), of bodies .@s(ullsA and @blind1eyedA), or of animals .@birdA and @bit!hA) 1 to des!ribe things" ?here are many images that suggest religious belief or !eremony 1 but no mention of the established Christian faith= @pro!essionalA, @godA .note the small @gA), @homageA, @altarA, @than(fullyA, @fastsA and @libationsA .liBuid offerings, usually poured onto the ground or an altar, in many an!ient religions)" Alliterati-e effe!ts are e-erywhere 1 @grubbingA and @graftedA or @pitsA and @pusA" And the Anglo1Sa8on -o!abulary, whi!h is

often monosyllabi!, ma(es use of te!hni!al or diale!t words, as well as sound effe!ts .li(e onomatopoeia)" Small details are -ery telling, for e8ample=

=e note how the workers are able to stand upright for a moment) before stooping again* 2he image suggests the way in which people with natural dignity are forced to bow to their toil and humble themselves* 2he modern labourers may be free) but they may also still have something of the servile mentality* =e see) too) that the starving people live in wicker huts - a suitable material for the strong but light creels) yet somehow not substantial enough for a comfortable and fireproof home*

As in Digging, the labourers% wor( is a symbol 1 but of whatD

0re they digging up their past) a folk memory or a grievance that will never be put right6

.otes on the poem %-rill,) in the first line) does not refer to a machine) but the row of potatoes - called a %drill, because the machine or person that plants the seed-potatoes /not really seeds) but sprouting tubers) drills a series of holes into which the seed-potatoes go* %in +forty-five, refers to the first year of the 1rish 8otato 3amine - " 45* 2he significance of the date may depend on the reader* Jnglish readers may think of "!45 /the end of =orld =ar 2wo) and Acots may think of "745 /the Macobite uprising under 4onnie 8rince Lharlie)* 2he omission of the first two digits also suggests the viewpoint of the people at the time /as we now talk of the Swinging Sixties) rather than the 1960s) who do not need to identify the century* 4y using the same form) &eaney suggests the way the memory has been passed on and kept alive in the oral tradition*

?his poem dates from the late 19#3s" +erhaps farming methods ha-e !hanged in reland sin!e, but in most of the world still the wor( is done by human labour 1 and, 'ust as in 19th !entury reland, many people%s li-es depend on a single !rop"

&ow) in this poem) does &eaney connect past and present6 =hat view does the poem give of man+s relationship with the earth6 -oes the poet really think /and want the reader to think) of the earth as a %bitch, and %faithless,6 Godern readers in the west may no longer have a sense of where our food comes from - does this poem challenge us not to take things for granted6 &ow does this poem e'plore ideas of religion) ritual and ceremony6

!7. "i#-$er% Break ?he poem is about the death of Heaney%s infant brother .Christopher) and how people .in!luding himself) rea!ted to this" ?he poem%s title suggests a holiday but this @brea(A does

not happen for pleasant reasons" 7or most of the poem Heaney writes of people%s unnatural rea!tions, but at the end he is able to grie-e honestly" ?he boredom of waiting appears in the !ounting of bells but @(nellingA suggests a funeral bell, rather than a bell for lessons" ?he modern reader may be stru!( by the neighbours% dri-ing the young Seamus home 1 his parents may not ha-e a !ar .Buite usual then 1 Heaney was born in 1939, and is here at boarding s!hool, so this is the 19,3s) or, more li(ely, were too busy at home, and relied on their neighbours to help" ?he father, apparently always strong at other funerals, is distraught .-ery upset) by his !hild%s death, while the mother is too angry to !ry" @&ig $imA .apparently a family friend) ma(es an unfortunate pun 1 he means to spea( of a metaphori!al @blowA, of !ourse" ?he young Seamus is made uneasy by the baby%s happiness on seeing him, by hand sha(ing and euphemisms .e-asions, li(e @Sorry for my troubleA), and by whispers about him" <hen late at night the !hild%s body is returned Heaney sees this as @the !orpseA .not a person)" ?his !ontrasts wonderfully with the final se!tion of the poem, where he is alone with his brother" Note the personal pronouns @himA, @hisA, @heA 1 as opposed to @the !orpseA" ?he !alm mood is beautifully shown in the transferred epithet .@SnowdropsEAnd !andles soothed the bedsideA 1 literally they soothed the young Heaney)" ?he flowers are a symbol in the poem, but also in reality for the family .a symbol of new life, after death)" ?he bruise is seen as not really part of the boy 1 he is @wearingA it .a metaphor), as if it !ould !ome off" Heaney li(ens the bruise to the poppy, a flower lin(ed with death and soothing of pain .opiates !ome from poppies)" ?he !hild appears as if sleeping .a simile)" <e !ontrast the ugly @!orpse, stan!hed and bandagedA, whi!h be!omes a sleeping !hild with @no gaudy s!arsA 1 dead, but, ironi!ally, not disfigured" ?he last line of the poem is most poignant and s(ilful 1 the si9e of the !offin is the measure of the !hild%s life" <e barely noti!e that Heaney has twi!e referred to a @bo8A, almost a 'o(ey name for a !offin" 5-erall, we note the !ontrast between the embarrassing s!enes earlier and the final se!tion where, alone with his brother, Heaney !an be natural" ?he poem has a !lear formal stru!ture, in three line stan9as with a loose iambi! metre" ?here are o!!asional rhymes but the poem%s last two lines form a rhyming !ouplet, and emphasise the bre-ity of the !hild%s life" )any of the lines run on 1 they are end stopped only in the last line of a stan9a, and in three !ases the lines run on from one stan9a to the ne8t" As in mu!h of Heaney%s poetry, there is no spe!ial -o!abulary 1 mostly this is the !ommon register of spo(en 6nglish"

Contrast the rea!tions of the two parents 1 how does the reader rea!t to thisD <ith whom, do you thin(, is the mother angryD How does the poem !ontrast the fuss of the home!oming with the !almness of the s!ene when Seamus sees his brother%s bodyD <hat do you thin( is the meaning of the poem%s last lineD

?he bells (nelling !lasses to a !lose is a metaphor for the funeral bells !losing heaneys brothers life to a !lose

Heaney is spea(ing 7;5) an ob'e!ti-e -iew in the poem as he refers to his dead brother as %the !orpse%" He doesn%t want to be personally in-ol-ed ?his poem e!hoes the different stages of grief" 7rom the disbelief of it all, to when it finally sets in that his baby brother has died" Heaney has used the imagery of his brother simply being asleep" As he finds it hard to understand that his brother, a young boy with his whole life ahead of him, has been hit by a !ar and (illed" <hen you get to the final line, it hits you hard and has all the impa!t on the reader that it was intended to" A beautiful pie!e of poetry, whi!h identify with, as my father died when i was younger" <or( out e8a!t(y how the !hild !ame by the fatal in'ury to his temple, and when you ha-e done so e8plain why it is pre!isely his left temple whi!h has the in'ury" ?he poem !an be read almost as a mystery storyH )id1term brea( is his finest" t !on-eys in great detail the de-astation whi!h a the death of a young person !an bringH and the way in whi!h his brother was (illed only amplifies the effe!ts it had on heany" ?he final line is one so short but full of -ery effe!ti-e words" %a four foot bo8, a foot for e-ery year%" this hammers home the inno!en!e of the !hild, who had all his life ahead of him" this poem is a -ery tou!hing one as it portrays the feeelings that heaney when his brother died, i felt that i !ould realy get into tune with the poem as i ha-e a younger brother of four years of age" lo-e the use of symbolism in the poem" ?he poppy bruise standing for -iolent and untimely death 'ust ties in so well it is an e8tremely mind pro-o(ing e8ertion" t ma(es us thin( of the -alue of life and on some le-el 5ne tries to relate to young Seamus% e8perien!e of his younger brother%s death" one poem !ould say so mu!h"""in su!h a dense amount of te8t Does anyone else see a relation between the father who is !rying and Ghad always ta(en funerals in his strideG and the son who has been (illed by the !arD Could this be a representation of his in-ol-ement in the a!!identD t !ould add an interesting twist to an already e8!eptional poem" ?he last line is made up of one syllable words .besides e-ery) whi!h help emphasise the young age of the -i!tim" ?here is doubt the father is !rying be!ause he feels responsible .e-en though he might be), thin( he is 'ust !rying be!ause he has lost one of the most important persons of his life, and he deeply misses his presen!e" this poem was Buite sad"?he last line ma(es you feel emotional as it tells you that henaeys little brother was only 4 years old and got (illed by a speeding !ar"

A -ery mo-ing poem, and Buite different from the earthy poems of his we are studying .Digging, &la!(berry +i!(ing, Death of a Naturalist, An Ad-an!ement of *earning""")" $ust wondering, although this is probably a dumb Buestion, is it based on truthD )id1?erm &rea( was one of Heaney%s poems 5ne en'oys analysing this poem not only be!ause of its sadness and anger but be!ause there was a deeper meaning to why the poem was wrote" A truly indi-idual and interesting way of e8pressing emotion" Heaney portrays a sense of deta!hment all throughout the poem 11 perhaps a result of him being away in boarding s!hool at the time 11 until the last stan9a where he is alone with his brother" Here, his brother finally be!omes H S brother and not 'ust a GbodyG or G!orpseG" ?he last line is the !lima8 of the poem although nothing happens" <e are made aware of e8a!tly how old his brother is and it is the only time that Heaney uses a proper rhyming s!heme througout the poem" ?his adds a double emphasis that really lea-es it engra-ed in your mind" ?his poem is powerful be!ause it%s real" t%s real be!ause it is plain" t%s plain be!ause it doesn%t probe the poet%s feelings" t doesn%t probe the poet%s feelings be!ause he probably wasn%t aware of them" <hat he was aware of was what was going on around him, so this is what he des!ribed in the poem" ?his allows the reader to really feel the impa!t of the tragedy from the poet%s standpoint" ?he enormity of the sho!( on Heaney !an be seen from the way his brain !an%t fully absorb it yet"

while reading this poem one noti!es how Heaney (nows e8a!tly when e-erything happened to the time the neghbours !ame to !olle!t him" to the time the ambulan!e !ame not only does he do this with the time aspe!t also with small detail li(e the Gpoppy bruiseG and what big e-ans had said whi!h doesn not sound li(e a young boy would say instead a grown man would say dat and he o-er heard him she or he say it" Another great thing about this Buietly poignant poem is the title" t ma(es you e8pe!t something about happy !hildhood memories, or perhaps freedom, perhaps it symbolises the fa!t that the little Heaney was loo(ing forward to the s!hool holidays but then was fa!ed with the horror of his brother%s death" whilst he was sitting in the !ollege si!( bay and ea!h bell rang for ne8t lessons""ea!h bell !ould represent ea!h (nell""whi!h made him thin( more of his brother" Ga four foot bo8"""a foot for e-ery yearG those few words mean a great deal""he uses his words wisely and it tou!hes your heart" ?he last line of the poem is made up of one syllable words" ?he line is short" $ust li(e the !offin, 'ust li(e his brother%s life" t stands alone among the other fully de-eloped -erses" ?he use of en'ambment .lines running into ea!h other) !reates an effe!t of the poet almost sleep1wal(ing through the wa(e, in a da9e" He is unable to feel anything" t is not until the end, G?he ne8t morningG that he is able to fa!e the body and finally re!ognise that his brother is dead" &efore this point e-erything is written to a-oid tal(ing

about death" His !ations are limited, it is others a!ting around him 1 his mother holds his hand, not the other way around" G!ounting bells (nelling !lasses to a !loseG has a rhythmi!al effe!t imitating the ti!(ing of a !lo!(" Appropriately reinfor!ing the dis'ointed sense of timelessness as he waits trying to a-oid thin(ing about this most serious sub'e!t" t is !learly on his mind from words su!h as G(nellingG, lin(ed with funeral bells"

?he title ) D?6;) &;6AL refers to the brea( from !ollege that the elder brother had to ta(e before the term ended" t also refers to the untimely brea( in the !hild%s life" Seamus Heaney uses many effe!ti-e te!hniBues to !reate the effe!t that we are e8perien!ing what the poet was going through" the first te!hniBue is the de!i-ing title G)id1term &rea(G" it gi-es you the image of happiness but infa!t early on in the poem we begin to doubt our enitial thoughts as we dis!o-er the title is a total !ontrast to our inital thoughtsHHH

12" Personal Helicon ?his is a (ey poem to understanding Heaney . %d argue)" ?he (ey lies in the last !ouple of lines, G rhymeE ?o see myself, to set the dar(ness e!hoingG" ?his poem is in!luded in the most notably politi!ised !olle!tion of Heaney%s wor(, North" >et Heaney states !learly that he is not to be a politi!al poem" ?he reason he writes is to e8plore himself and his relationship with the world" n typi!al Heaney mode, !hildhood is a time of delight and horror" ?he well is attra!ti-e to begin with, but what does Heaney use to !apture his attra!tionD @dar( dropA, @trapped s(yA, @smellsMof fungus and dan( mossA" Noti!e too the @rotted board topA" ?he penultimate stan9a ta(es us to an almost idylli! !hildhood of e!hoes .loo( ahead to Nar!issus in the last stan9a) and !lean new musi!" 5f !ourse, this is spoiled by @the ratA" ?hin( about the images this 'u8taposition !on'ures up" Childhood is a time of inno!en!e but the world !orruptsD 5r is Heaney, writing as an adult, unable to es!ape !orruption and remember the world as a !hildD 5r is he painting a pi!ture of delight, tinged with horror to !apture the politi!al realities that were unfolding around himD 6-ents were mo-ing Bui!(ly in the north of reland" n su!h a !limate, @to pry into roots, to finger slime,E?o stare big1eyed Nar!issus, into some springE s beneath all adult dignityA" <hen people were being gunned down on the streets, suffering the indiginities of life in an o!!upied 9one, being interned without trial, what right did poetry ha-e to indulge itself in na-el1ga9ingD Heaney asserts his right to re'e!t politi!s" He uses poetry to see himself in the wellF to loo( ba!( into the dar(ness of the past and shouting into it, to hear it spea( ba!( to him" t would appear that he su!!eeds with this poem" 7rom a formal perspe!ti-e, donJt miss the ten syllable lines and the abab rhymes" 7or me, the syllables !apture the fine wor( he has done in !apturing the right sounds= whisper @+lummeted down at the end of the ropeA and noti!e how the ts and ds are ni!ely offset by

the ps and the ns" ?he abab rhymes seal ea!h little stan9a together and also lin( ea!h to the others" GHeaney%s muse is a gritty, plodding, deliberate !reature, more Caliban than ArielG it says a lot about heaney%s style, his language is spe!ifi! but not flowery .espe!ially in later poems), his themes are gritty and real, not airy and irrele-ant" %m often stru!( by how bluntly honest he is" Not about ignoran!e of poetry" ?he referen!e to nar!isuss was a !omment on the ignoran!e of poetry in the s!heme of reland%s %troubles%" rather, he is simply too mature to be e8ploring and refle!ting on himself in ways li(e that" heaney%s words and thoughts are beyond anyones lo-e for poetry"he has no eBual in the world of english poetry

&o%paring poe%s >ou may be as(ed to do this in an e8am" <hile you write about one poem, ma(e brief referen!es to another, if rele-ant" At the end of your wor(, try to bring the two together 1 e8am boards gi-es mar(s for !ross1referen!es" CCS6 e8aminers e8pe!t this for higher grades" +ollower and Digging are about Heaney, as a !hild, and his father .and grandfather)" &oth poems=

!ompare what Heaney has be!ome, with his and his elders% e8pe!tations of him when younger ha-e a stru!ture whi!h relates past to present de-elop a single !entral metaphor 1 whi!h appears in the title refer to real, re!olle!ted e8perien!es from the writer%s !hildhood try to show the dignity in o!!upations whi!h are often ridi!uled by the edu!ated

The ,arl& Purges and (id!Term $reak are about death, but are -ery different in approa!h" &oth=

are rooted in !hildhood e8perien!es but the effe!t of one is mu!h more harmful than the other ha-e similar three1line stan9a, and .li(e +ollower and Digging) ha-e shift of -iew in latter part of the poem Buote dire!t spee!h whi!h the poet re!alls

&ut where one leads to an ambiguous and !yni!al !on!lusion, the other is open and honest, in the same way in whi!h +ollower is able to display emotion .lo-e of a father) freely"

2he titles N-igging+) N3ollower+ and N-eath of a .aturalist+ all are significant to the rest of the poems* 0 common theme is the loss of innocence) coupled with lack of confidence and self doubt*

?he three poems whi!h ha-e sele!ted to study the de-i!es used by Seamus Heaney are %Digging%, %7ollower% and %Death of a Naturalist%" Heaney was born in 1939 and grew up on his family%s farm in County Derry" He was the eldest of nine !hildren, and as a !hild was fas!inated by his father%s wor( on the farm" His interest in nature as a !hild !an be seen in %Death of a Naturalist% and his admiration for his father is shown in both %Digging% and %7ollower%" Heaney uses a !onne!tion between humans and the natural world in most of his poems" 5ne de-i!e used by Heaney is how he titles his poems" ?he titles %Digging%, %7ollower% and %Death of a Naturalist% all are signifi!ant to the rest of the poem" ?he title %Digging% gi-es us an immediate image of the up and down mo-ement and this feeling is !ontinued throughout the poem by Heaney%s repetition of the word %dig%" ?he title sounds -ery mundane but on!e the reader has read the poem it all of a sudden be!omes more interesting" %7ollower% is an ambiguous title and shows how the young Heaney followed his father literally and metaphori!ally but effe!ti-ely their positions are re-ersed" ?he title %Death of a Naturalist% is ironi! as it is hard to imagine a real naturalist, su!h as Ste-e rwin, being s!ared of some !roa(ing frogs"

Heaney also uses the opening lines to all three of these poems to grab the reader%s attention" n %Digging%, he begins with %&etween my finger and my thumb%" ?his opening line is sudden, and he uses the word %my% twi!e to emphasise the fa!t that the poem is written in the first person" Heaney writes %7ollower% with the word %my% appearing in the first line too" ?his te!hniBue also highlights his use of the first person and ma(es both poems seem more !on-ersational" ?he opening line of %Death of a Naturalist% tells us that %All year the fla81dam festered in the heartE5f the townland%" Heaney uses en'ambment to ma(e it sound smoother and more natural than a poem with a regular rhythm and rhyme s!heme" ?his te!hniBue draws more attention to the a!tual !onte8t rather than the layout and presentation of the poem" Another te!hniBue whi!h appeals to reader is the way in whi!h Heaney presents different emotions in his poetry" Admiration is !learly demonstrated in %Digging%" Heaney des!ribes his father%s wor( as %straining%, indi!ating how hard his wor( was and how he really pushed himself to the limit" ?he use of the word %rump% is normally for the rear of an animal, and so hints at Heaney%s father being as strong as a bull or an o8" %Comes up twenty years away% tells us that Heaney%s father was an e8perien!ed digger and also that he had perse-eran!e and stamina" ?his use of time !le-erly swit!hes the poem from the past to the present and gi-es the reader the impression that Heaney will always loo( up to his father%s wor(" n %7ollower% we !an learn about how a young Heaney felt inferior to his father and his wor( on the farm" <e learn this from when he says that %NHeO stumbled in his hob1nailed wa(eE7ell sometimes on the polished sod%" %Stumbled% and %hob1nailed% !ontrast with ea!h other and this furthers the effe!t of this parti!ular e8tra!t" ?he 'u8taposition with %fell% and %polished sod%, being the differen!e between !lumsiness and perfe!tion, is une8pe!ted and draws attention to this parti!ular point" ?his hints at how the young Heaney felt out of pla!e on the farm"

*oss of inno!en!e is another theme whi!h Heaney uses in his poetry and this !an be seen in %Death of a Naturalist%" <e see the shift of tone in the poem from where Heaney is in his own !osy little world where he uses !hildli(e terminology su!h as %daddy frog% and %mammy frog% to where he begins to fear the frogs and tells us that the %slap and plop were obs!ene threats%" ?he use of onomatopoeia here emphasises the intimidating sounds that made the young Heaney feel threatened" Seamus Heaney feels si!(ened by the end of the poem and runs away from the horrors of the real world whi!h he has only 'ust dis!o-ered" Heaney also uses a !hange of mood in %7ollower%, but this is from admiration to irritation" He also !le-erly throws in a role re-ersal in the last stan9a as he tells us that % t is NhisO father who (eeps stumblingE&ehind NhimO, and will not go away% now" <e get the impression earlier on in the poem that Heaney%s father was patient with his following him e-erywhere he went, whi!h !ontrasts greatly to an older Heaney%s annoyan!e with his now elderly father" Although this poem has a dramati! !hange of tone, it is -ery satisfa!tory to the reader be!ause it !reates a %full !ir!le% and finishes where it began, e8!ept the opposite way round ob-iously" Heaney appeals to the senses in his poems to !onne!t with the reader as well" n %Death of a Naturalist%, he s(ilfully appeals to the feel of the %strong gau9e% as well as the %sound around the smell% all in one lineH ?his ma(es the reader feel far more in-ol-ed in the poem and also gi-es an unusual but a!!urate des!ription of bluebottles" <ords used throughout the poem su!h as %slobber% and %'ellied% remind us !onstantly of the gooey te8ture of frogspawn too" Heaney begins %Digging% with an appeal to the sense of tou!h in the opening line, %&etween my finger and my thumbE?he sBuat pen restsF as snug as a gun"% Here we are not only reminded of the feel of a pen, but also of a gun" 5ne would not normally asso!iate these two ob'e!ts with ea!h other, so the line has more impa!t" Heaney uses this appeal to the sense in the first line to ma(e the reader feel almost li(e it is them who is holding the pen" n the se!ond stan9a, the alliteration of %gra-elly ground% highlights the rough feel of the gra-el !ontrasting with the smooth te8ture of the spade" Heaney also des!ribes the %!ool hardness% of the potatoes and the %!old smell of potato mould% -ery effe!ti-ely by using this de-i!e" Heaney does not use many ob-ious appeals to the senses in %7ollower% but does suggest mo-ement a lot by using -o!abulary su!h as %dipping%, %rising%, %stiffen%, %tripping% and %falling%, so in a way we !ould !ount this as a good use of e-eryday mo-ements" 7inally, the last de-i!e whi!h will loo( at used by Heaney is how he in!orporated his own life e8perien!es into his poetry and how effe!ti-e this is" All three poems show that Heaney uses his own life story as a dri-ing for!e" &oth %7ollower% and %Digging% tell us about his relationship with his father, !urrent and past, whereas %Death of a Naturalist% has undertones of the religious !onfli!t in Northern reland at the time by the use of war imagery" ?he arri-al of the frogs at the end is li(e a military in-asion, and we are told that they are %angry% and in-ade the dam" Heaney du!(s %through hedges%, li(e he is hiding from the enemy" ?hey are %!o!(ed% li(e firearms and %poised li(e mud grenades%" ?he imagery gi-en here is intimidating and the des!ription is typi!ally melodramati! of a young boy" ?his realisation of the frogs being mena!ing !reatures !ould represent the realisation of how life is not all !osy" belie-e that Heaney%s greatest te!hniBue is the way in whi!h he !an appeal to all senses in one line" lo-e this ability he shows off freBuently in his poetry be!ause the reader is really able to lose themsel-es in his poetry and feel li(e they are really there" t also gi-es his poems more depth and ma(es them memorable"