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How do poets use nature to present their ideas? Refer to "At a Potato Digging' by Seamus Heaney, a poem by Clarke, and two pre 1914 poems.

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Introduction

�How do poets use nature to present their ideas? Refer to "At a Potato Digging' by Seamus Heaney, a poem by Clarke, and two pre 1914 poems. � "At a Potato Digging" written by Seamus Heaney uses the natural activity of growing potatoes to portray a much deeper, more complex and involved meaning. The whole essence of this poem uses nature to depict and describe past situations. Heaney uses a normal aspect of farming to discuss and evaluate other issues such as the vagaries of nature, the Irish famine of the 1800's, mankinds relationship with nature and optimism for the future built on a sober respect for a bitter and tragic past. The first stanza places the emphasis on the arduous (strenuous) work that the labourers had to endure whilst gathering the potato crop. "Labourer's...swarm...stoop...Fingers go bad in the cold..." These words are associated with the past and the pain and suffering that the labourers had to endure each day. "Fingers go dead in the cold" This statement is filled with irony when read in the full context of the poem. ...read more.

Middle

However in Gillian Clarke's poem " A Difficult Birth, Easter 1998" she uses nature as a symbol for something else. She depicts a ewe giving birth to show the difficulties encountered in instigating peace treaties. Clarke uses the ewe giving birth to develop wider issues such as the Good Friday peace deals, the suffering of the Irish people and the need for peace, hope and optimism for the future. This poem has links with "At a Potato Digging" as they are both based on types of birth and show elements of both positive and negative...the dual aspects of nature. Gillian Clarke begins her poem describing her ewe and how she had never previously managed to become pregnant and how it was thought that she was unable to conceive, "...we thought her barren...." This phrase has a dual meaning. The obvious meaning is that of the ewe when her owners had believed she was unable to conceive. Whereas the deeper meaning is connected with the Irish Peace Deal. Peace in Ireland was an old trouble and had been out of peoples grasp for a long time, people had tried on many occasions unsuccessfully. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "Patrolling Barnegat" Walt Whitman uses the natural world to show the absolute power and awesome majesty of the sea. However John Clare uses the natural world to fully express his continuous love of nature by using a much calmer method than Whitman. In "Patrolling Barnegat" Whitman attempts to recreate the sounds of a storm. Using this he conveys the vagaries of nature. This links with "At a Potato Digging" because they both deal with disasters inflicted by nature. In both poems nature is presented as cruel and fierce. In part of Heaney's poem he describes how he feels about the earth, 'bitch earth' A statement from Whitman's poem conveys a similar meaning, 'demoniac laughter' Both the poems present the mercilessness of nature and the purpose of these statements is to convey the awesome ferocity and majesty of nature. However "Patrolling Barnegat" the poet focuses more on nature itself rather than using it to expand on a larger theme. In "At a Potato Digging" Seamus Heaney uses a detailed description of the potatoes and uses a multi-sensory approach as he tells us what they are like, "Flint-white , purple...knobbed and slit eyed...good smells exude...whose solid feel, whose wet inside ...promises taste of ground and root... ...read more.

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