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Seamus Heaney Poetry Commentaries Storm on the Island In the poem "Storm on The Island", Heaney focuses on the ideas of isolation and living so close to nature. The poem mainly depicts on the destructive powers of nature, for example, the wind is so strong that the spray hits "the very windows" of people's houses. The poem challenges the idea that island life is idyllic - the sea is not "company" but like a cat, seemingly tame, yet apt to turn "savage" and spit. At first living on the island may have advantages like "no stacks/Or stocks that can be lost", but disadvantages soon appear like the absence of trees (cannot hear the sound of the wind approaching the "leaves and branches" and no "natural shelter". The poem also uses a lot of military metaphors: the wind (like a fighter-bomber) "dives and strafes" while space is a "salvo" and air bombards. Perch In the poem "Perch", Heaney shows how the perch lives up to its name - keeping its place while the river and everything else moves past or around it. ...read more.


Digging In the poem "Digging", a young man looks up to both his grandfather and father. Seeing his father (now old) "straining" to dig "flowerbeds", the poet recalls him in his prime, digging "potato drills". And even earlier, he remembers his grandfather, digging peat. He cannot match "men like them" with a spade, but he sees that the pen is mightier, and with it he will dig into his past and celebrate them. The pen is "snug as a gun" because it fits his hand and is powerful. There is a central extended metaphor of digging and roots, which shows how Heaney, in his writing, is getting back to his own roots, which means his identity, and where his family comes from. Mid-Term Break In the poem "Mid-Term Break", Heaney speaks about the death of a person ironically comparing it to having a mid-term break. The poem's title suggests a holiday but this "break" does not happen for pleasant reasons. The boredom of waiting appears in the counting of bells but "knelling" suggests a funeral bell, rather than a bell for lessons. ...read more.


The child sees farming as simply imitating his father's actions ("close one eye, stiffen my arm"), but later learns how skilled the work is. He recalls his admiration of his father then; but now his father walks behind. His father is not literally behind him, but the poet is troubled by his memory: perhaps he feels guilt at not carrying on the tradition of farming, or feels he cannot live up to his father's example. The Play Way The poem "The Play Way" presents a lesson in which children listen to classical music and write without any other direction. The tone of the poem is optimistic and positive. And also makes a connection between the sensual (but not primarily rational or intelligible) pleasure of listening to classical music and the more reflective activity of writing. The poem is ambiguous: the poet sees that the children are unsure what to do, yet sees that something has happened, "new looks". The teacher is comfortable with the idea that the children "have forgotten" him. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarut (Time) Chayanupatkul December 3, 2007 ...read more.

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