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Poem: Strand At Lough Beg

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Poem: Strand At Lough Beg Christopher Cameron Nov. 2001 ~ Lambert Poetry Paper The Strand at Lough Beg The Part of this poem that is to be looked at first is imagery in the title of the poem. Seamus Heaney starts us off by giving us this picture of the Strand at Lough Beg, which is the shore of a lake. Already the reader is given the starting point of this story; the Kind of person that Colum McCartney is. Seamus Heamey begins the poem with an image of isolation, confusion, and the loss of safety. Heaney describes what happen the night that his cousin was killed: Leaving the white glow of the filling stations And a few lonely street lamps among the fields You climbed the hills towards Newtownhamilton Past the Fews Forest. Out beneath the stars- (lines 1-4) The first few lines describe how his cousin started out in the glow of the gas station where he was, and him driving off to an open area in a town with the stars above him. The light here represented safety. Colum has started off in a situation where he was very close to this light: where there was, most likely, a store and other people. After he is done at the gas station he then drives away. Heaney gives us the image of the lampposts passing by as he drove. This shows how the light was now outside of where he was but it was still with him. ...read more.


The description of the cold nose gun moreover makes it seem even more a brutal crime because it makes the killing seem more planned because the gun had still not been fired, as if the gun itself was waiting for him to come. In these lines we are taken back to the feeling of safety when Heaney says how Colum wasn't in familiar territory: he was in hostile, protestant territory instead of Catholic. In referring to Lough Beg it implies that Colum's land was peaceful and that there wasn't any feeling of insecurity when you were there. In addition, he mentions that there is a Church near Lough Beg, giving the reader the sense that Lough Beg was a place to be considered close to sanctuary. The poem takes a turn in the third stanza, and Heaney talks about the way that his cousin lived. Importantly, he also describes his cousin's nature and outlook on what was going on between the Protestants and Catholics. There you use to hear guns fired behind the house Long before rising time, when duck shooters Haunted the marigolds and bulrushes, But still were Scared to find spent cartridges, Acrid, brassy, genital, ejected, On your way across the strand to fetch the cows [Lines 17-22] In these lines Heaney describes he lands that Colum lived on and the way he was effected by little things. For example, the fact that the firing of duck shooters scared him as a grown war reflected either how bad the war was (that every loud nose disturbed him and just reminded him of what was going on) ...read more.


On account of his cousin being killed in the middle of hostile territory, the chances were that Seamus Heaney never recovered Colum McCartney's body. And gather up cold handfuls of the dew To wash you. Cousin. I dab you clean with moss Fine as the drizzle out of a low cloud. I lift you under the arms and lay you flat. With rushes that shoot green again. I plait Green scapulars to wear over your shroud. [Lines 39-44] In these six lines Heaney describes the way Colum should had been buried. The way Heaney describes this cleansing of the body and clothing it was depicted in a very ritualistic and loving way. It showed how important it was to Heaney that his cousin was buried correctly and humanely. Seamus Heaney's The Strand at Lough Beg describes Colum McCartney's death in three different ways: The way he might have died, why he shouldn't have died, and the way he should have been put to rest. It is important to notice how Heany doesn't mention, once, any vindictive hatred towards the killers but instead focuses on love and an undying respect for the dead. The poem starts out with a tempestuous seen, that connects to all the readers senses and introduces us to the scene of his death. However, the poem develops into a loving and heartbreaking eulogy to Colum McCartney, through Heaney's expression of light, mystery, change, and way of living. ...read more.

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