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Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney

  1. 1. Seamus Heaney ➢ Blackberry-Picking​ ​(Rochi Vago) for Philip Hobsbaum Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full, Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's. We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache. The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
  2. 2. I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not. In the poem “Blackberry-Picking” we can spot the Rite of Passage that the voice goes through. The poem compares adulthood with childhood. First, the author analyze the exciting life of a blackberry picker. But when the ripe berry decays, the memories of childhood are over. The berries decay means the childhood decay, too. It loses its innocence, and confront the harsh things in life. “I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair/ That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.”, as in “Journey”, the child starts crying when he sees how harsh life is. He picked so many blackberries that they started to get rot, we can relate this excessive blackberry picking as an aspect of an ambitious person, but the child did not learnt, the next summer he did the same. The poem is a flashback, now, Seamus Heaney can understand the meaning of the rotten blackberries, ambition won't get you anywhere. Picking—> metaphor for the sweet, innocent childhood.
  3. 3. ➢ Personal Helicon​ (Juana Pérez Muñiz) As a child, they could not keep me from wells And old pumps with buckets and windlasses. I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss. One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top. I savoured the rich crash when a bucket Plummeted down at the end of a rope. So deep you saw no reflection in it. A shallow one under a dry stone ditch Fructified like any aquarium. When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch A white face hovered over the bottom. Others had echoes, gave back your own call With a clean new music in it. And one Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection. Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime, To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme To see myself, to set the darkness echoing. The poem talks about a man who remembers his childhood. The voice explains how much he enjoyed wells when he was a kid and talks about an anecdote in one of them. At the end of the poem we can see that the voice went back to the well as a grown up. Since the voice loved wells as a kid, we can spot how innocent he is, since the kid had such an imagination he saw things a grown up can not. He saw a “trapped sky” on the buckets, he paid attention to the smells of the fungus, he was just a kid having fun with something that, in my opinion, is not that fun. By saying this I mean that wells are not fun for adults in order to express the kid’s innocence. This proves the fact he was just a kid. When the voice went back, the poet expresses the fact that all those marvelous things the kid appreciated where not found. This portrays a rite of passage, since all those “echoes that gave back your own call, with a clean new music in it” were now dark. The voice passed through a Rite of Passage, he passed from being an innocent boy to be a grownup.
  4. 4. This well is his “personal helicon”, its his personal instrument or muse. When he was a kid it gives him back his innocence and his naiveness, the well give him joy music. As a grown up, it gives him darkness. The well portrays what he feels. As a kid it portrays his joy, as a grown up it reveals his guilt, he is guilty of ending his family legacy when he started being a poet. Not only the well reflects that, but it also reflects the fact that he grew up, he lost his innocence, that is the rite of passage. Literary devices: ● Alliteration: “Dark drop” to emphasize how much the voice loved something simple and dark ● Olfactory Image: “the smells of waterweed, fungus and dank moss”, the poet portrays the kid’s innocent life and emphasizes it by describing the smells at the wells to make the anecdote more vivid and full of emotions. ● Metaphor: “trapped sky”, this metaphor represents that the sky is ‘trapped’ in a bucket, it reflects the kid’s innocence since he really believes that it is trapped, when it is actually the reflection of the sky in a bucket of water ● Simile: “fructified like any aquarium”, ● Personification: “Echoes gave back your own call”, the echoes are personified in order to express his innocence bu believing the well sang to him ● Personification: “Darkness echoing”, the echo is personified again to express the fact ir become dark.
  5. 5. ➢ Digging​ ​(Margarita Muller) Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. Under my window, a clean rasping sound When the spade sinks into gravelly ground: My father, digging. I look down Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds Bends low, comes up twenty years away Stooping in rhythm through potato drills Where he was digging. The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft Against the inside knee was levered firmly. He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep To scatter new potatoes that we picked, Loving their cool hardness in our hands. By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man. My grandfather cut more turf in a day Than any other man on Toner’s bog. Once I carried him milk in a bottle Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up To drink it, then fell to right away Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods Over his shoulder, going down and down For the good turf. Digging. The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge Through living roots awaken in my head. But I’ve no spade to follow men like them. Between my finger and my thumb
  6. 6. The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it. CHILDHOOD IN THE FARM portrays the relationship between the poet and his father. * the poet remembers his father and the lineage he comes from. * the poet reflects on his father * tone: serious and full of reflection. * The speaker is looking back through the family history, noting how hard his father and his grandfather have worked the land. He is in awe of their achievements yet resigned to the fact that he, as creator of the poem, is destined not to follow them and their digging. * The speaker's approach is serious and studied and quietly assured which creates a tone of thoughtful admiration and pride. He has respect for those who were expert diggers. Metaphor: the pen --> tool to dig inside himself and to take out his feelings, he carries deep inside. Instead of using a spade as a tool to dig, he uses a pen. In the poem, there is a rite of passage since ​the speaker digs for his identity: In this case, the pen is the object of desire In this poem, the voice avoids following his father steps = trespassing the father figure and its authority. A dare —> cut off its family tradition. Understand the mischief —> Heaney is aware by the end of the poem with the fact that his skill of digging with a pen is as powerful as his forefathers’ act of digging for the survival. In this poem, the voice is able to accept his internal change, his loss of innocence. Circular structure = circle of life (internal journey)
  7. 7. ➢ Death of a Naturalist​ ​(Silvestre Braun) All year the flax-dam festered in the heart Of the townland; green and heavy headed Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods. Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun. Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell. There were dragonflies, spotted butterflies, But best of all was the warm thick slobber Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied Specks to range on window sills at home, On shelves at school, and wait and watch until The fattening dots burst, into nimble Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog And how he croaked and how the mammy frog Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too For they were yellow in the sun and brown In rain. Then one hot day when fields were rank With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges To a coarse croaking that I had not heard Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus. Right down the dam gross bellied frogs were cocked On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped: The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting. I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.
  8. 8. This poem is about a young boy that had his first biology class. He loved seeing all that insects and small animals, and listen to his teacher. Here it shows the innocent part of childhood and the unconditional trust to the adults. But at the end of the poem, the boy saw something that would change his perspective of life and he would loss his innocence. That's why this poem has a rite of passage. Their steps are: Object of desire---> The knowledge of biology that the boy wants to have. Trespassing the authority---> He trespass the teacher’s lesson A dare---> there isn’t a dare Understand the mischief---> understanding how babies are born Apologizing---> Accepts his loss of innocence The title is very important as it is connected to the poem. At first, the word Naturalist is a reference to the boy and his interest of biology, a potential Naturalist. The word death is a metaphor (as anybody died). The death of that feeling of naturalist that the boy had.