In his poem Personal Helicon Heaney writes: I rhyme/ To see myself,
to set the darkness echoing. To what extent and in what ways has your
readings of his poems led you both to understand and to agree with
what he means?
Seamus heaney was one is nine children, born in 1939 in Northern
Ireland. Heaney and his family were part of the Catholic minority, at
the time, and as we can see from his poems, he came from a poor, lower
class family of farmers and the pride and respect he had for his
parents is clearly echoed in his poems. However, later in life Heaney
moved south so that he could write his poems more openly some of which
showed his political preferences. This brought mounting pressure to
his conscience and as a well-known poet he felt he had to say
something, which he did using his poems. This quote comes from the
poem 'Personal Helicon' in which Heaney remembers himself as an
inquisitive boy, fascinated by wells, gradually exploring the world
Helicon is a mountain in Greece where nine muses are thought to have
lived; they were daughters of Zeus an sources of inspiration. In this
poem, 'Personal Helicon', Heaney talks about his own inspiration,
"wells and old pumps with buckets and windlasses". Heaney was an
inquisitive boy, alive and open to the world, he spent a lot of time
outside and was interested in how things work. From the opening lines
of this poem, we can see that Heaney was not fascinated by cars or
toys like most children, he was interested in wells, the sounds and
smells of simple things like "waterweeds, fungus and dank moss." he
was attracted to darkness and danger:
"[he] loved the dark drop
[he] savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it."
Looking deeper into the poem, we can see that Heaney's image is
important to him, the theme of reflection occurs in every stanza and
he even mentions Narcissus, a man who was self-absorbed and
Digging, as one of his poems is called, is an on going action, it is
something that his father and grandfather have been doing for past
"by God, the old man could handle a spade
Just like his old man."
and hoped to pass on this 'tool' to Heaney. We can tell that Heaney
spent a lot of time in the countryside and working on the farm from
the highly specific language he uses, such as "lug" of a spade which
city people would not know the meaning of. Land in...