Exploring the Nature Poetry

Exploring the Nature Poetry

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Exploring the Nature Poetry

Nature poetry focuses on nature as its subject. The genre of nature
poetry shows us the importance and beauty of nature in the world
today. Different poets use nature poetry to different affect. Two such
poet are Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost. These poets’ nature poems are
widely recognized and very popular. Frost uses his nature scenes to
show us the relationship between mankind and nature whereas Heaney
uses his nature scenes to depict the realism of everyday life.

Robert Frost was born on March 26th 1874 in San Francisco; in 1882 he
dropped out of school and was educated at home. After his father’s
death the family moved to New Hampshire where Frost and his sister
attended school. His first published poem “La Noche Triste” appears in
the Lawrence High School Bulletin in April. In 1894 he published a
poem in the independent- “My Butterfly In Eloy”. After accepting an
offer to teach he moved his family to Plymouth, England. His first
book “ A Boys Will” was published April 1915. In 1924 frost was
awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “ A Further Range”. In 1939 he was
awarded the prestigious Gold Medal by the National Institute of Arts
and Letters in New York. His health began to deteriorate as his
eyesight worsened. In 1962 he fell seriously ill. He died on January

In Frost’s poetry we see the link he creates between nature and
mankind. He shows us through his poetry that although humans often
think they are superior to nature this is not the case. Having read
many of Frost’s poems we see many individual messages in them. In
“Birches” we learn about the attitude that must be adopted to life and
that we learn to live life through what we learn about nature. In
“After Apple-Picking” we learn that you should always take
opportunities because missed opportunities will haunt you. I have
chosen to take an in-depth look at Frosts poem “Mending Wall”. I feel
this poem is the best example of his message and style.

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In “Mending Wall” we learn that hunters have knocked down a wall
between two neighbours and they decide to build it up again together,
one on each side. However there is a much deeper meaning to this poem
than there appears to be at first glance. The two neighbours are
maintaining the barriers between them by building up the wall. They
are trying to protect their possessions. The two men building the wall
are very different. One has an inability to think for himself and just
says what is socially acceptable whereas the other man is more of a
free spirit and is imaginative and fulfilled. Having written this poem
Frost wanted his readers to understand that by looking at nature you
can see the different types of people in the world and the different
attitudes they have to life.

Frost uses many stylistic features to make his message memorable. He
uses assonance to slow down the pace of the poem and we can therefore
picture the depicted scene clearly in our minds. It is used in the
phrase “not one stone on a stone”. We can imagine the wall completely
destroyed by hunters. Another device used by Frost is colloquialism.
We see this in the line ‘the gaps I mean’. The colloquialism is used
so that the reader can connect with the poem. Another device used is
omonatopoela, we see this in the phrase ‘yelping dogs’. The sounds
used means the reader can feel what it was like to be there as she can
actually hear the sounds. Frost uses a cliché to make his message
memorable, it is ‘good fences make good neighbours’. This cliché
highlights how straight laced and boring this man is compared to the
narrator. Finally Frost uses a metaphor to keep his message memorable,
it is ‘He is all pine and I am all apple orchard’. These two trees
depict the men perfectly. Pine trees are never changing whereas apple
trees change through the seasons and blossom.

The poet I have chosen to compare and contrast Frost with is Heaney.
Seamus Heaney was born in April 1939. His father owned and worked a
small farm in County Derry in Northern Ireland. When he was twelve
years of age. Seamus won a scholarship to St. Columba’s
College, a catholic boarding school in Derry city. He lived in Belfast
between 1957 and 1972 and then moved to the Irish Republic. He also
has had regular teaching periods in America. Heaney’s poems first came
to public attention in the mid 1960’s. Heaney’s poems are often dark
because of the quarter century of violence and inner distrust he was
born into. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995.

Seamus Heaney’s poetry essentially aims to show his readers the
reality of everyday life. In his poetry we can often see how his
upbringing in troubled Northern Ireland has affected him. Having read
some poems of Heaney’s we see how each has their unique message. In
‘Follower’ we learn how life changes and how, as people become older,
they lose their power. In ‘Blackberry – Picking’ we learn of the human
capacity for hope and that hope is eternal. In ‘Churning Day’ we see
how something ordinary is changed into something beautiful. In ‘A
Potato Digging’ we learn of Ireland’s past and how, far the country
has come to the present day.

The poem I have chosen to compare and contrast with Frosts’ ‘Mending
Wall’ is ‘Digging’. I feel this poem is the best example of his
message and his style. The poem tells the story of a boy watching his
father digging the potatoes. The deeper meaning of this poem shows the
passing of an age, the attractions and repulsions of digging and how
the way of making a living has changed. He wanted his readers to
realize what potato digging is really like and what it is like to be
there. Heaney uses a number of literary devices to make his message
memorable. Firstly, he uses onomatopoeia ‘the squat pen rests’ to show
us what the pen was like, this is also personification as the pen is
resting. These two devices give us an idea that the pen is lazy.
Another device used is the simile’ snug as a gun’. The image of
violence shocks us and encourages us to read on. Another literary
device used is alliteration, ‘gravelly around’ shows us the harsh
resistance of the soil and how hard digging it must have been. Heaney
also uses repition, ‘by god, the old man could handle a spade. Just
like his old man.” The repetition shows how men are caught in a trap.

We see many differences and similarities between Frost’s ‘Mending
Wall’ and Heaneys ‘Digging’.

The first similarity we see between them is that both use
colloquialisms in their poems so the reader can relate to their
message. We see this when ‘Digging’ says, ‘by God’ and in ‘Mending
Wall’ it says ‘The gaps, I mean” Using everyday language makes the
poems seem more real and they immediately become of more relevance to
the reader as they can relate to them in their everyday life

Another similarity we see is that they both use devices such as
alliteration to bring out the slowness or speed in which something is
done. When alliteration is used in a poem it can have great affect on
how the poem reads and how well the reader can picture the event
taking place.

The first difference we see in the poems is through the two poets
different style in writing. Frosts’ poetry is very symbolic whereas
Heaney’s poetry is personal, it is about his family members and
specific people.

Another difference we see is that Frost’s poem is about the different
attitudes to life. Frost’s poetry is about the different attitudes to
life. Haney’s poetry is about how life changes.

In conclusion, the poem I like the most is Heaney’s ‘Digging’. I feel
it is easy to relate to and I enjoy his style of writing. He is an
Irish poet and I can relate to the problems he is talking about as
they are relevant to the Irish way of life.
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