Digging: Seamus Heaney Relives His Childhood

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Seamus Heaney is the speaker in his poem “Digging”, where he writes about his family tradition as manual workers; he is from Castledawson Co Derry at Northem Ireland. Therefore he uses some local expressions “My grandfather could cut... than any other man on Toner’s bog”, he uses that expression because of a local bog business owned by a family, whose name was Toner.

The setting of this poem brings the reader at to a potato farm, and at a bog’s field as the writer Seamus Heaney writes about his father and his grandfather’s working lives, “My father digging... by God, the old man could handle a spade, just like his old man.”

The Poet started his poem with the present sentence, “under my window a clean rasping sound, when the spade sinks into gravelly ground. My father, digging. I look down.”The word gravelly used by Seamus Heaney, refers to the one crop law, that was imposed on Ireland by England, the huge famine that stroke Ireland later on, was then blamed on it.

Seamus Heaney bring the reader then to the past, we travel with him to his childhood, “Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds, bends low, comes up twenty years away...Stooping ... Where he was digging.” Here the poet writes about his father’s working on potato’s farming, we can notice that his father was a very hard worker as he certainly fed his entire family with his own produce, “He rooted out tall tops buried...to scatter new potatoes that we picked, loving their cool hardness in our hands.”

At this stanza I can even see the young Seamus Heaney’s little hands, holding the potato and admiring its size and freshness, maybe even thinking of the nice warmth that he would feel, when later on his lovely mum would serve to her family a warm potato leek soup, when then his father would sit at dinner table with his family and do his prayers, thanking God for this feast.

The father-son-grandfather relationship is certainly a memory of love, respect and...
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