Compare and Contrast Follower&Those Winter Sundays

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Was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children. His father owned and worked on a farm of 50 acres in co Derry. His mother came from a family called McCann, she was a very out spoken woman, whilst his father sparing of talk, Heaney believes the difference in temperament led to a 'quarrel with himself', from which his peotry arises. At the age of 11, Heaney won a scholarship to St Columb's college, a boarding school in Derry City, 40 miles from home. Heaney went on to become a lecture at queens university and in 1970/71, as a result to a trip to Berkeley in the US , Heaney resigned to write full time. Since 1982 Heaney taught for one semester per year at Harvard and, in 1989 elected professor of poetry at Oxford university, a post which required that he deliver 3 public lectures per year.

Robert Hayden
Was born in 1913, the year in which Rosa parks arrived in the world. Robert was the son of Ruth and Asa Sheffeys, who separated soon after the birth of their son, and he was raised by foster parents Sue Ellen Westerfield and her husband, William Hayden, who lived in Detroit ghetto which was nicknamed, 'Paradise Valley'. Robert Hayden graduated in 1936. Hayden then after his masters degree, taught for several years a the University of Michigan, where he became professor of English. Hayden once said that he considered himself to be a, 'poet who teachers in order to earn a living so that he can write a poem or two now and then'.


The poems “Follower”, by Seamus Heaney and “Those Winter Sundays”, by Robert Hayden, although similar in some respects, differ in tone, structure, rhyme and rhythem.


The structure of both poems are very different. “Those Winter Sundays” consists of 3 stanzas of differing lengths. In contrast Seamus Heaney's “Follower” is made up of of six stanzas of equal length.“Follower” has a regular ABAB rhyme scheme, while “Those Winter Sundays” has a distinct absence of rhyme. As the subjects dealt wth in this poem are not easy to put across, nor to deal with, so the irregular rhyme suits this peom, as it show the different emmotions felt by robert hyden, in childhood and adulthood.

The first three stanzas of “Follower” focus on the poet's father and on Heaney's admiration of him. In stanza four, the mood turns to one of frustration and regret as the poet faces his feelings about his father and also himself;

“But today it is my father who keeps stumbling behind me,
and will not go away.”

In comparison Robert Hayden, in “Those Winter Sundays” also focuses on his admiration of his father in the first two stanzas of the poem, The third and final stanza also reveal a tone of regret and distress;

“What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?”


In both poems the theme is that of, father son relationships and their regret and remorse in adulthood. In “Follower” and “Those Winter Sundays” there is a distinct theme of relationship between past and present and of the changing relationship between father and son. The theme of admiration for both poets' fathers can be seen, however Hayden portrays his admiration in a much more understated form than Heaney.

Heaney illustrates the theme of childhood by stressing the admiration he has shown towards his father;

“His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.”

Similarly Hayden talks admirably about his father;

“ Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueback cold.”

Growing up is illustrated in “Follower” when Heaney states he wants to be exactly like his father, a skilled farm owner;

“I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm”

Although both poems have the theme of regret. Heaney's is that of not following in his fathers foot steps choosing a profession which is very different...
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