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Compare the ways in which Heaney and Sheers use their nationality and background in their poems

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Heaney and Sheers use their nationality and background in their poems. Your response must include detailed discussion of at least two poems. "Requiem for the Croppies" is a poem that confronts the brutal reality of Ireland's past. The poem focuses on the battle of Vinegar Hill, fought in 1798 between the British army and the Irish rebels In the past there have been many Irish rebellions: 1641. 1782. 1798. 1848. 1916. Heaney suggests that historical repetition is as natural as the cycle of nature and its seasons. The "barley" in this poem, a staple food for those without "kitchens on the run," sprouts from the earth on which these soldiers died fighting. This new "barley" will feed the rebels of the next era, not just literally, but also metaphorically, as will the revered memory of those who planted it. The poet segregates the rebels with the upfronted article; "A". "A people ['s]" lack of social conformity is emphasized in their unwillingness or inability to march; "hardly marching", which would normally be the very picture of collective movement. Instead, the rebels are forced to be "on the hike," an individual activity and one which suggests a terrain that is unsuited to mass transit. ...read more.

Middle

Sheers personifies this hill and gives it a biblical importance; "her holy scar", highlighting its importance and the influence it holds. By using a biblical reference Sheers may be implying that the hill holds a collective history or meaning which we can all relate too. This may explain why he so often uses landscape as the basis of his poems, from which he can explore more complex themes. For Sheers the land holds "the answers / to every question I have never known", suggesting that the landscape knows what Sheers is searching for even if he doesn't himself, highlighting the strength of their relationship and the role of the hill as a source of inspiration for this poetry. There also seems to be a high level of intimacy with the Welsh landscape: "Her weight, the unspoken words / of an unlearned tongue", which intensifies his connection between the two and gives the sense that, to Sheers, the landscape is almost like a lover because the bond between them is that strong. One would say that the admiration of the Welsh landscape evident in this poem is similar to Heaney's evocation of Ulster. Heaney, like Sheers, grew up in a rural, farming background, like his father and his ancestors before him. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Hedge School", by Owen Sheers also portrays how his rural upbringing has influenced his ability to write poetry. Sheers recalls his boyhood self blackberry picking on the walk home from school. The blackberry picking provides Sheers with a "lesson" as he experiments with ways of eating the berries with different degrees of ripeness. The berries of different ripeness could represent the ideas that form a poem that he must hoard together to form the "hedgerow caviar" or a poem itself. Sheers chooses "not to eat them at all, but slowly close my palm into a fist instead, / dissolving their mouthfeel over my skin". Sheers must take good care of his most precious ideas and not let them be lost to the depths of his mind, when his ideas emerge he cant just grab at them, he must protect them and let them develop instead, therefore Sheers is showing the intricacy and skill involved in creating a poem. Finally, he can express all his ideas in his poem as he allows the words to pour over the page in a similar way to how the berries dissolve on his skin. Therefore Sheers' rural Welsh background has taught him and provided him with the inspiration needed to write poetry, much like how Heaney drew on his Irish upbringing as a stimulus for his poetry. ?? ?? ?? ?? Francesca Tye ...read more.

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