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Digging- Poetry Commentary.

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Introduction

Digging- Poetry Commentary Digging is seen as a tradition to the poet's family for many generations, as he expresses his feelings related to the past, present and future. Not only does he speak of digging literally but also digging metaphorically; going down deeper to find truth and history of the family. We immediately discover his liking for writing, "squat pen rest; snug as a gun". This simile suggests words are just as harmful as bullets, and that a writer has as much freedom in expressing their feelings even in such a simple simile told in monosyllabic words, conveying strength and power. Instead of describing and confining to the room he sits in, he turns his attention to the outside world where he sees his father undergoing the known tradition. This displays his curiosity and perhaps his guilt in resorting to playing with a pen and not a spade. We learn of his admiration for his father, who puts much effort into producing potatoes. ...read more.

Middle

The stanzas are of all different length imitating unpredictable thoughts mimicking what happens with memory relapses, moving on from one thought to another. Throughout the poem the short end-stopped lines, are the most simple yet powerful in conveying definite feelings or actions. For example "Digging" and "the squat pen rests." Monosyllabic words also help to achieve this effect. He interrupts himself with "By God, the old man could handle a spade." The colloquial language used strengthens the conversational tone found in this short stanza as he thinks back in his mind. He travels back further in time, remembering the sight of his grandfather when he was a child. "Nicking and slicing" and cutting "more turf in a day", suggests his grandfather's destructiveness and his brutal ways. The onomatopoeia portrays the sound the poet can recall when thinking of his grandfather, making the past come to life once again. "Toner's bog" is a specially chosen place as it can be assumed its associated with Ireland where it is ironic to think it suffers from potato famine. ...read more.

Conclusion

His ancestors are still alive within him. Images of roots wriggling and reaching towards him come to mind but they fail to touch his heart. He decides he is not suitable to follow his ancestors and father's footsteps, as a result giving up years of tradition. His final thought, an uplift and optimistic one where he decides writing is the best way ahead for him. The perception of the pen changes in the last three lines. "I'll dig with it"� becomes an ambition and emphasizes determination to be different. He is interested in talking about the physical activity that takes place in the proceeding of the tradition but not much feelings or thoughts are recognised from the diggers which is one reason for not being near education and not able to write whereas the poet can do, making him very different to his traditional ancestors. This poem is written by Seamus Heaney and reflects his own experience with his family. He will dig with his pen, suggesting he has a tool of his own and can be as brutal with it as his ancestors were with digging. 1 ...read more.

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