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Poets through the ages have examined mans relationship with nature - With reference to 20th century poets, examine how Seamus Heaney treats it in his collection.

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Introduction

Poets through the ages have examined mans relationship with nature. With reference to 20th century poets, examine how Seamus Heaney treats it in his collection. This essay will show the similarities and contrasts between the three poets chosen, these being - Seamus Heaney, and the romantic poet William Wordsworth. All three of the poets examine man's relationship with nature in their work, however accomplishing this in slightly contrasted styles. The main writer I will be considering is Seamus Heaney - born in Ireland in 1939. Heaney's work is all based around the events in his child-hood. Heaney uses a great deal of description to achieve such emotion in his work. He takes everyday tasks and uses these two factors to make them seem interesting to the reader. One of Heaney's most famous pieces is 'Digging' which is based around the young poet sitting inside his house writing. All he can hear from outside is his father digging in the garden. Heaney is obviously very proud of his ancestors, as he states in colloquial slang "By God the old man could handle a spade Just like his old man" making it seem like digging is a greatly skilled task. He also shows this expertise needed by using alliteration like 'spade sinks' or 'gravelly ground'. He also uses onomatopoeia with the alliteration, 'squelch and slap.' Heaney is trying to get across to the readers the muddy, wet sound that could be heard from the window. ...read more.

Middle

Although this is contrasted in the following sentences with much softer and silky words like 'bubbles gargled delicately'. This is a similarity between this and Hopkins' 'Pied Beauty' as they both show the positive and negative side of nature. The poem is split into two sections, the first one showing the innocent Heaney telling of his story. This poem is similar to 'Pied Beauty' as it shows the positive and negative form of nature. The first section, shows the young Heaney being enthralled by the frog-spawn and tells how every spring he "would fill jampotfuls of the jellied specks" (tadpoles). He tells us in the voice of his primary school teacher "how the daddy frog was called a bull frog... and how the mammy frog laid hundreds of egg and this was frog-spawn." This demonstrates Heaney's innocence and the clean but honest school teacher's version of sex. However in the second half of the poem, Heaney goes back to the 'flax-damn' and sees 'angry frogs' have invaded it. The smell in the fields is stronger and the noise from the dam is louder than before, as 'the air was thick with a bass chorus'. Heaney has lost his innocence and doesn't like what the nimble swimming tadpoles have turned into. He is no longer in control and this is what he is scared of. He feels guilty for taking the frog- spawn and thinks that the frogs now want 'vengeance'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again, Wordsworth is relaying a childhood experience, taking his 'huge wallet' over his shoulders (to collect the nuts) and a 'nutting crook in-hand'. Looking back, he is now realising that he was in the wrong and shows some of his emotions and feelings in his work. Although at the time, he thought collecting these fruits was enjoyable and extremely innocent, now looking back he feels guilty for interfering with nature's way. Another point in the poem in which he believes he is completely innocent point for interfering with God's world, is where he discovers 'a virgin scene!' His senses become out of control and can hardly breath. He has found a place where no person has ever been before and realises how beautiful nature can really be. Wordsworth uses the senses a lot in his poetry purely to represent how nature can effect someone that badly. The readers can then build a picture in their minds of how greatly struck William Wordsworth truly was. All of the poetry mentioned in this essay is based around mans relationship with nature. Whether this being a positive one, for example Digging where Heaney sees his Dad working skillfully with nature, or whether it be a negative form of nature, such as Death of a Naturalist where Heaney feels guilty for taking the frog-spawn when he returns to see angry frogs waiting for vengeance. The poems show both the beautiful and violent sides of nature using many childhood experiences to do so. ...read more.

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