Seamus Heaney- Poems

  • Created by: totaloser
  • Created on: 22-05-19 17:43


  • About Heaney picking blackberries as a child and then them going mouldy
  • Positive to Negative between the two stanzas, the inevitable change
  • Innocence of youth to the depressing reality
  • Perspective change from we to I
  • Links to Death of A Naturalist
  • Uses listing
  • Uses Caesura 
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  • About the comparison of the Irish landscape to the American landscape
  • Heaney reflects on his pride about the landscape of his home country, Ireland
  • A positive exploration of his land and the complex identity of the Irish
  • Follows a basic and standard stanza structure 
2 of 15


  • About a riverbank in Ireland and how place and language define an identity
  • Static first stanza, quite a visual poem and verses
  • It is a dialetical poem and how non-Irish people won't be able to say the word 
  • Heaney feels resentment towards non-Irish people, relates to the history of Ireland
  • Writing a phonetic representation of Irish language 
3 of 15

Death of a Naturalist

  • About Heaney collecting frogspawn as a child
  • Shift of tone, from nostalgic and positive to negative
  • Theme of childhood, nature and loss of innocence
  • Distant past to a more recent past
  • Poetic voice, creating his teachers voice to fit into the setting of a child in school
  • Frogs coming back to haunt the children
  • Uses assonance 
4 of 15


  • About how his family are farmers yet he is a writer
  • Talks about how the past can't change
  • But his career choice has changed
  • Heaney is uncovering emotions rather than earth
  • Uses onomateopioea/phonological effects e.g 'squelch'
  • Starts in present tense, then past, then back to present
  • Links into the theme of memories 
5 of 15


  • About his idolisation of his father, how its changed as he's got older
  • It is a reflection on change and aging
  • Nostalgic tone, his lack of geneorisity to his father may be something that he regrets
  • Shift in perspective, from third to first person and then back to third
  • Listing of verbs
  • Past tense 
6 of 15


  • About Heaney being caught in a hailstorm
  • Heaney reflecting on how he was a child in the hailstones
  • Reflects on the whole nature of memory
  • Oxymoronic 
  • This memory only suddenly came to him
  • Quite a nostalgic tone because it is reflecting on the memories 
7 of 15

Mid-Term Break

  • About the death of his brother
  • Uses a sombre tone
  • Heaney reflecting on the life-altering event
  • Sense of place created by conversations, use of prepositions and precise details
  • Uses syntatic paralleism 
  • End stops, show hesitation
  • A structured stanza 
8 of 15

Night Drive

  • About a drive through France
  • Talks about how much he begins to miss familarity
  • Links to Bogland 
  • Links into the theme of memories
  • Visual imagery with the sights and smells
  • End stops at the end of each verse 
9 of 15

The Otter

  • About his wife swimming, reminds Heaney of an otter
  • A combination of memory and the idea of belonging
  • Uses a lot of imagery
  • Semantic field of the body
  • There is phonological effects
  • Uses the natural to explore the regular
  • Links into the skunk as both talk about his wife 
10 of 15

Personal Helicon

  • About how as a child, Heaney would go into wells and enjoy them
  • Reflects on the idea of exploration
  • Trying to say that writing should be for yourself, not out of vanity
  • 5 quatrains, clear structure, each verse deals with a different well
  • No enjambment
  • Links to Death of a Naturalist
  • Links into the theme of childhood 
11 of 15


  • About Heaney remembering the experiences of a bog body
  • Links into the theme of the troubles
  • Splits into four sections, in present then past then direct address, then goes to self-reflection
  • There is allusion with 'the stone of silence'- to be stoned to death or the weighing stone in line 11
  • Links into the Tollund Man 
12 of 15

The Skunk

  • About Heaney thinking about his wife when he's away
  • Shows Heaney's reflection of his wife
  • The movement reminds him of a skunk
  • Animalistic comparisons
  • Phonological effects
  • End stops create a sense of anticipation
  • There is a sense of sexual desire 
13 of 15

Strange fruit

  • About the head of a girl who was preserved in a bog
  • It is talking about how she died and the apperance of her skin 
  • References the song strange fruit
  • Semantic field of Catholicism
  • Listing of adjectives
  • Links to the Tollund Man 
  • Underlying dark tone 
14 of 15

The Tollund Man

  • About Heaney thinking about the bog body, a sympathetic journey
  • Links into the theme of the troubles
  • Reflects on the bog body's punishment and how Heaney will make a pilgrimage 
  • The poem refers to the trauma of Ireland and the troubles and how Heaney will feel at home when visiting the bog body 
  • A sad, melancholic tone, first person, imagining himself visting him
  • It's Heaney imagining an experience and creating a realisation 
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