The Common Thread Which Runs Through Seamus Heaney's Poems


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The Common Thread Which Runs Through Seamus Heaney's Poems

Seamus Heaney, a famous author, who has written many famous and
heartfelt poems and sonnets, such as Follower and Mid-term Break, has
shown to have a link, which runs through each of his poems. A theme,
which has seemed to crop up continuously. This expression of theme is
childhood innocence, tradition and family.

He often writes about childhood memories and thoughts of his past. He
incorporates his childhood into his poetry by writing about his own
experiences. Heaney's poetry takes him back to his childhood. It
reminds him of family traditions which he may not take part in now, as
he is older and has a bigger life than what he did on the farm, and he
shows how he enjoys his time there. He writes about life and death,
which shows the reader the feelings and emotions he had through hard
times, and the good times in his life. Through his poetry he
successfully makes us feel his joy and his pain.

The follower is a good example of a childhood poem. Heaney writes
about how his father worked and how he used to help him. The tone of
the poem is nostalgic when he remembers what happened in the past he
realises it was better than what he thought at the time. He admired
his father as he worked on the farm, and he felt like he wanted to
grow up in his fathers shadow. 'All I ever did was follow in his broad
shadow round the farm.' You can tell from reading the poem that his
father has traditional methods of farming as he uses horse ploughs and
other methods of farming. Heaney had an ambition to be like his
father.

As he grew older, he seemed to swap roles with his father, which gives
a sense of irony, as it was him who followed his father around in
admiration 'stumbling in his hobnailed wake,' and wanting to be just
like him. It is at the very end that Heaney actually became his

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father, taking on the farm and finding his dad has become his younger
former self, 'but today it is my father who keeps stumbling behind me,
and will not go away.'

'Digging' also Shares childhood memories as well as follower. However
Digging also shows us more tradition than Follower as Heaney, by
watching his father he remembers his father and his grandfather were
expert diggers, this shows us that it is tradition to farm their land.
He is proud of the way his family is, how they enjoy hard work and
have tradition, but sadly decides to break this tradition, 'Between my
finger and my thumb the squat pen rests. I'll dig with it.'

Death of A Naturalist is also about Heaney's past as it is a
recollection of an incident, which frightened him as a child. It shows
childhood innocence through his vivid imagination in the vengeance of
the frogs, "The great slime kings were gathered there for vengeance
and I knew that if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it." He
also shows his childhood innocence though his old hobbies such as
filling jam pots full of frog's spawn and watching it hatch.

Through the exploration of Heaney's poems we can see that the common
threads are family, tradition and childhood innocence. There are many
techniques that he uses and this I think is one of the greatest, the
reoccurrence of these simple themes, which are left to play on our
minds.


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