Act of Union essay
Extracts from this essay...
Act of Union I To-night, a first movement, a pulse, As if the rain in bogland gathered head To slip and flood: a bog-burst, A gash breaking open the ferny bed. Your back is a firm line of eastern coast And arms and legs are thrown Beyond your gradual hills. I caress The heaving province where our past has grown. I am the tall kingdom over your shoulder That you would neither cajole nor ignore. Conquest is a lie. I grow older Conceding your half-independant shore Within whose borders now my legacy Culminates inexorably. II And I am still imperially Male, leaving you with pain, The rending process in the colony, The battering ram, the boom burst from within. The act sprouted an obsinate fifth column Whose stance is growing unilateral. His heart beneath your heart is a wardrum Mustering force. His parasitical And ignmorant little fists already Beat at your borders and I know they're cocked At me across the water.
There are many aspects to the poem. There is the geographical, human and political side of it. Our class went through the poem and highlighted in three different colours words from each of the three chosen aspects. This made it slightly easier to see beneath the poem's camouflage. After doing this it started to become more clear and people started to come up with some more relevant ideas. We slowly began to realise that the poem wasn't about what we had first thought but in fact about something completely different. To help us even more Mr Gardner, our teacher, drew us a drawing on the board. In the drawing there was a man and a women. This drawing put together all the imagery from the poem. It worked very well. For example, in the poem it says about an Eastern Coast. This turned out to be the man's back and "the man" was Britain. The woman he was standing over was Ireland.
This is because he has an Irish name, Seamus Heaney, and this might have given it away slightly. By not giving the name it made it a bit harder because it could have been about any country. This made it much harder for us to work out what the poem really meant. When he "revealed" the name you could hear the "ahh's" around the room. This once complicated poem seemed to become more clear and easier as time went on and more and more things got uncovered about it. So at the end Mr Gardner asked who liked the poem. Most of the class did, in fact, all the class except from one or two. In my opinion at the time I thought it was OK, but thinking about it now I really think it is very clever. It is a clever poem basically describing all Britain and Ireland's troubles in one short poem. It is very clever how it describes all these things but disguises it in a poem that you think is about human relationship. So overall it was a definite hit! Ruairidh McPherson.
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