Analysis Of Bog Queen
Seamus Heaney, as part of his ‘Bog Poems’ collection, wrote the poem, ‘Bog Queen’. In this poem, Heaney brings together the main themes of his bog poems, including religion and sacrifice, pain and suffering, conflict within the Irish society and the links between the past the present. Heaney believes that Mother Ireland is Mother Earth, of which it pulls everyone together, showing that Irish land is of great importance. In this particular Bog poem, the Bog person made known here is a female woman.
The poem opens with, “I lay waiting”, and giving the impression that she knows that she will be revealed once again. Heaney here uses first person, which could signify that Heaney is identifying himself with the Bog Queen, showing that he has a deep connection with the woman and the themes of the poem. He uses first person to identify himself with the Queen, to show his anger towards the thoughts that Ireland is not learning from history, that it is going to lead into destruction. Heaney loves Ireland, but now what it does. The poem then progresses, “Between turf face and demesne wall, between heathery levels and glass toothed stone”. The use of, “turf face”, shows that she is completely enveloped in the deep earth. Heaney uses the repetition of the word, “between”, showing again that she is concentrated deep into the earth. However the word, “demesne”, meaning land that was owned by a King, could show that because the woman was buried in such land of importance, then this is why she is revered as a Queen, the fact that she should be honoured to be sacrificed in such a place of high significance. This links to the idea that all bog people who were sacrificed were chosen, and therefore they should be extremely happy that they were chosen to be a sacrificial person.
The second stanza starts with a formal description of the Queen, “My body was Braille”, her body being said to be like the language of the blind. Smooth, gentle, but with small bumps. This could be said to be how Ireland is in Heaney’s eyes, he respects it, as it is his native country, however it has its problems, such as conflict, which needs to be addressed. Also, it can also show the idea that certain parties are blind to everything that is going on around them, how there has been conflict and history is just repeating itself, as her body is decaying, no one is seeing what is happening around them, they must open their eyes, and learn from their mistakes. The word, “creeping”, is also used in this stanza, which gives the notion of something negative, not positive, it can be said that it is criticism of Ireland, showing the conflict within the Irish society. The stanza continues with, “dawn suns groped over my head… and cooled at my feet”, relating to the theme of nature; the sun has covered all of her in its daily sunrise and sunset.