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Analysing Two Poems By Seamus Heaney British Literature Essay

This research is an activity study including discussions and research of two poems by Seamus Heaney, one of the postmodern poets. The poems, which will be analyzed, are: Bogland as well as the Tollund Mortal.

In Heaney's poetry we can see a connection between the mythical and the rational, the past and the present, to describe his thoughts and feelings, regarding the Irish troubles and human being experiences. Heaney represent his feelings toward these problems by using imagery and structural techniques that can be found in his poems.

Chapter one of this study is a review of the ideology of postmodernism with focus on postmodernism and poetry. In addition, it includes the meaning of postmodernism, different views and criticism on Heaney's poetry and his ideas about the concepts of imagism.

Chapter two analyzes the poem Bogland and reveals some points in describing the poem such as its national factors and two key images in the poem and talks about the way the poet has achieved and used them in his poems. In addition, it talks about about Heaney's essay on the poem called The Bog People by P. V Earth.

Chapter three is approximately the poem The Tollund Mortal and pertains it to the lethal and violent features existing in The Bog Citizens. It discusses the way the corpses from historic area and primitive customs promote themselves to the poem. It's also about the strangeness in the current conditions and how Heaney changes his descriptive statements and emotional accounts into images in his poetry. It says that what's considered is the history of present and the whole area is in imaginative terms.

Heaney's poetry is the imagination and dreams of liberty in his mirror and writing these poems can be an function of expressing what's going on in his head.

Today postmodernism is recognized as a reproduction of ancient practices. Postmodernism like modernism, employs the ideas of rejecting boundaries between high and low forms of artwork, rejecting inflexible genre distinctions, and emphasizing parody, irony and playfulness. 1

Postmodernism tips to an evergrowing truth in culture. Anything hurried, image centered, any items that shocks or no longer keeps the traditions in itself can be viewed as postmodern.

Dr. Christopher Carter, one of the professors at College or university of Louisville is convinced:

From Adrienne Full to Jacques Derrida, poets regularly attack conventional limitations, recondition them, dismiss them. Postmodern poets often subvert the sorts they appropriate. They create as different selves while refusing to speak for anybody, risk the same followers they catch the attention of, revitalize senses and thoughts flattened by mass market culture. They compose a cacophonous music which thrives on interruption and frustrated expectation. Sonnets may have fourteen links, on the other hand hardly ever fourteen lines. Language, that cultural jail, becomes a niche site of communal level of resistance. 2

Postmodernism can even be considered in poetry. One of the famous postmodermn poets are: Jacques Derrida, Kathy Acker, Adrienne Affluent, Charels Berstein, Yeats and Heaney.

Seamus Heaney within an essey From Sensing to Indication in 1974 has identified his poetic activity and the development of his poetic brains, and he believes that at first a person starts to office exactly like other imitators and then what he learns is really his special strategy in poetry, he call it craft of writing. Then the poet achieves some results about approach, and in detail it is a assortment of skills that the poet uses to create his own style and method.

About The Bog Community he writes:

I admire the number of any poem's criticism to be more colorful, and I love it to become more firm. The words allow you to own this two-faced come across. They laugh at their reader's pathway of reading and wink at the poet's system of using them. Of succession, in it there is a lot symbolic theorization, on the other hand not that in my own conscious movements toward writing poetry. I used to be guided by the symbolic prescriptions, on the other palm I enable with a amalgam of generalities that in a vague system can best describe that symbolic label. And I find the concepts of imagism, strategy of the symbolism, interesting: presenting a graphic as a mental and emotional knot in an instant of hour. I think many of these were unavoidable by taking into consideration the succession I put in English books that come to its optimum with Eliot and Yeats. 3

This part of modernist's traditions needs no justification. Heaney was also aware of this concern and for that reason maybe by reason of of this, in an article in 1974, that can be an influential essay for understanding his poetical grows, he talks about these matters in detail.

Writing about Heaney in 1968, Jim Hunter said:

"His own involvement will not exclude us: there are sporadic private sources, and the descriptive quality of his writing makes it easy to check out. . . Heaney's living is a warm, even more positive one: his tone is that of traditional sanity and humanity. "4

Heaney referred to his area by writing Digging as the first poem of his first tome. With this and many later poems, like Tony Morison's, he was concerned about the oppressed.

After writing the powerful bog poems of North (1975), he was regarded as a politics poet and was obligated to are in the Irish Republic. The troubles of Ireland sustained in his poems, on the other side the richer harmonies in Field Business (1979), Station Island (1984), The Haw Lantern (1987), Experiencing Things (1991), as well as the Spirit level (1996) present his strong intelligence in poetry, and that's why Robert Lowell considers him as the best Irish poet since W. B Yeats. "

Heaney is the success of the 1995 Noble Award for books.

Seamus Heaney and "Bogland"

The yr 1969 is a substantial year for Heaney, when he posted Bogland. On this poem Heany helped bring himself from modernism to the postmodernism. It is rarely seen that all of the poets in passing from modernism to postmodernism experienced all of his points completely.

Two key images that contain an important role in his sight, exclusively when we move from his prior poems, are untouched corpses and bog. How do the poet achieve both of these images? The images are salient by reason of first of all, they don't seem to be to own any mythological aspect and secondly, no person before Heaney has used them in poetry in this pathway. We see no trace of them neither in the plays of Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, J. M. Synge or Yeats no sign of them in the short stories and books of Adam Joyce, Samuel Beckett or Yeat's poems. Irish freelance writers had considered no notice of these boggy corpses before publication of Heaney's poems. Alternatively Heaney himself not only brought up the presence of those corpses and the bog on the other hands also established a reality that has nowadays be a part of Ireland history.

The poem will go like this:

We have no prairies

To slice a major sun at evening

Everywhere the attention concedes to

Encrouching horizon,

Is wooed into the cyclops' eye

Of a tarn. Our unfenced local land

Is bog that retains crusting

Between the places of the sun.

They've taken the skeleton

Of the Great Irish Elk

Absent of the peat, stick it up

An astounding cage thorough of air.

Butter sunk under

More when compared to a hundred years

Was recovered salty and white.

The surface itself is kind, black butter

Melting and starting underfoot,

Missing its extreme definition

By an incredible number of years.

They'll never dig coal here,

Only the waterlogged trunks

Of great firs, very soft as pulp.

Our pioneers keep striking

Inwards and downwards,

Every coating they strip

Seems camped on before.

The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.

The wet centre is bottomless.

Heaney shows some tips in talking about this poem. First of all is that this scenery reminds him of his youth. Subsequently, bog is not simply a scenery on the other hand this can be a fame. In the past some creatures resided in it or some other sank in it. The butter, which was deposit under the coal to save lots of it from decay, is considered absent white and salted, and it hasn't decayed in a single century. This fame has national sides, further. Whatever was deposit in Dubline's museum, was a sign of your exploration in the boggy area. The things found in the bog awaken the general public and personal fame of the poet. Thirdly the poet uses analogy. Prairie is one of the characteristics of America's ground. The prairie in the dusk doesn't separated sunlight in Ireland. Heaney remembers this thought from the fame of American books. The books of pioneers, a kind of literature that is written with the opening of America's continental border. Here, it is not that condition. In this fenceless land, the bog is layered and in each part that is used by Irish pioneers, the past generations, in previous years have place up a camp. Here, the pioneer doesn't carry on, on the other side he falls; and here the land won't reach its reason after an incredible number of years. Extracting coal from here's difficult, by reason of bog's aqua has softened the firs. Heaney with the image of this bog which retention extends to his poetical freedom. Alternatively he doesn't stay in this self-reliance, he will try to bring this subject near to a modern-day system of poetic statement. In detail the explanation of Heaney's popularity in Ireland is the fact he deepens the world of death, this eternal subject matter bout of poetry, in the Irish homeland and the loss of life of the words of poetry. Nowadays we come back to two main images of Heaney's poem: bog and corpse.

Heaney's indication from the Bog Citizens, released in the same time as Bogland, is not without rationale. P. V World, the writer of The Bog Community, clarifies completely about the preserved corpses of men and women within Jutland. These corpses are bare and their throats have been section or they were suffocated. The copy writer believes that these corpses were first deposit under the coal in the age of Flat iron, and he feels that the men corpses were sacrificed in a custom in the age of the motherhood of "The Mom Goddess" and were sacrificed to ensure the fertility of the land.

The Mother Goddess selects young men as her bedfellows and in the spring she break up their bloodstream on the lands. Among these men whose mind is kept in the museum Silkeburg, is named The Tollund Person that is the title of one of Heaney's poems that people will discuss in the following chapter.

Seamus Heaney and "The Tollund Person"

What occurred before and accompanied with violence, fatality and getting rid of, threw itself into a risky approaching. Heaney, with a reference to these occurrences that happened in his kingdom, wrote the poem Tulland Mortal. In Fatality of a Naturalist he says: " WHILE I wrote this poem, I experienced a virgin sense, the feeling of death"(124). Here comes the poem:


Some day I'll go to Aarhus

To see his peat-brown mind,

The mild pods of his eye-lids,

His pointed skin area cap.

In the level local land near by

Where they dug him absent,

His persist gruel of winter seeds

Caked in his stomach,

Naked except for

The cover, noose and girdle,

I will stand a disseminate hour.

Bridegroom to the goddess,

She tightened her torc on him

And opened up her fen,

Those dark juices working

Him to a saint's kept body,

Trove of the turfcutters'

Honeycombed workings.

These times his stained face

Reposes at Aarhus.


I could risk blasphemy,

Consecrate the cauldron bog

Our holy earth and pray

Him to cause germinate

The scattered, ambushed

Flesh of labourers,

Stockinged corpses

Laid absent in the farmyards,

Tell-tale skin area and teeth

Flecking the sleepers

Of four young brothers, trailed

For miles across the lines.


Something of his unfortunate freedom

As he rode the tumbril

Should come to me, driving,

Saying the names

Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,

Watching the pointing hands

Of kingdom citizens,

Not knowing their tongue.

Absent within Jutland

In the antique man-killing parishes

I will feel lost,

Unhappy and at territory.

The poem is approximately the causes of fate. The opportunity of survival for the bog physiques. Inside the poem, the poet has considered the independence very salient and valuable. There is absolutely no society, no assemblage, frosty death and external forces.

The first image is an image of a corpse who is quiet and found in the torc of others. There can be an emphasis on his brown epidermis. He is left unprotected, nude and destroyed on the other hands increased at the same hour. There's a harsh feeling linked with the surrounding kingdom. The goddess is area of the native land. The only markings it leaves on subjects, are the remains of their death, cover, noose and girdle.

The isolation from society is emphasized in the poem by dwelling on the strane reputation such as Tollund, Graubelle, Nebelgard. The at territory is just the person's normal state which is not said to be comfortable.

The poem has special kind of characteristics much the same to Yeat's poetry. By far the most influential characteristic of computer, is its strangeness in the current condition. The poet didn't necessitate to result in a strange lifetime in this poem, on the other side the poem is odd itself, by reason of of those authentic corpses which were brought absent of the bog. . Alternatively the poetry of this area, which is entirely strange and scary, cannot be written just with a descriptive terms. We will see that Heaney himself emerged to this final result that offering a landscape all the more a landscaping which is so scary is not enough. The poet's responsibility is never to describe a panorama either it's gloomy and savage or it's poetical and beautiful. He can't just get influenced and then produce his poetry. The primary characteristic of an integral part of modernism in poetry is fragmentary display of the portions. Heaney these days, has the subject, has his descriptive assertion, has its mental profile, then he changes most of them into images. Alternatively in this poem, to begin with he deals with external references by reason of each image of the poem and the bits of poetry can refer to that event. Corpses from historic area and from primitive customs present themselves to the poet. Nineteen corpses that early had lost their total geography, seems to the poet. Today's area of the poet with these primitive corpses is in danger. The poet himself says that he's in fear. In neuro-scientific novel, we have seen distressful worlds in the works of "Borges", "Nabakov", "Italo Calvino" and "Margues" and in poetry in the works of "Robert Creely", "John Ashbery" and nowadays in the works of Heaney that is nearer to our hour.

Who will state corpse?

To his vivid cast?

Who will remark `body'

To his opaque repose?

Heaney is one of the very most political poets of the twentieth hundred years, on the other submit spite of communal and political matters, he's the poet of presence. He has a certain notion and aim in poetry. The poet recognizes that after producing his poetry as a progressive conscious of his interval and the words of his history and his citizens, he discloses his dependency in his poetry. When he has passed all these things, he attained an end that the philosophers nowadays call it critical stop.


Heaney can be considered as a poet who demonstrated commitment to the classic British poetry and modern European-English poetry traditions. Alternatively by reason of of his protest against the practices that is transferred to him from the past, he shows his originality by turning away from earlier and traditional concepts to modern conventions.

Heaney's poems, that happen to be related to, Sacrifice Ceremonies are, as they were, the images in Heaney's reflection. These are his imaginations and dreams of flexibility. What we have is a predicament in which the existence becomes absent, according to the logic of the poem, never to an unknown territory at all, on the other palm to what the poet always realized on the other palm had simply forgotten. It is like the region is a hidden unconscious stuff in the poet's thoughts, and writing the poems is the action of expressing this lifestyle. In these terms, the violence in Ireland is a reimburse of the ceremonies of sacrifice and Heaney's poems present such transaction.

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