History with Derek Mahon

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History is a subject which preoccupies Mahon in many of his most important poems. I would choose particular poems because of his view towards our history and the past. His poetry presents history in a very negative light. Mahon sees the past as 'deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say'. In the poem Rathlin Mahon recalls historical violence on an island that is now a 'sanctuary' of peace and 'through with history'. However this island in the past has witnessed 'unspeakable violence' with the massacre of the Rathlin women. He speaks of the 'unnatural silence' on the island gradually becoming 'natural' over the years through the island not being inhabited. Come the end of the poem Mahon is unsure 'whether the future lies before us or behind'. Whether the violence is now behind us or is violence a continuing part of our future?

In Mahons Poem Kinsale there is a welcome and a long awaited moment of light and hope. The opening line of this poem was an optimistic thought from Mahon himself by saying, 'the kind of rain we knew is a thing of the past'. The use of imagery in this poem is both vivid and warming. The image of 'Yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay' is a striking image as it is both beautiful and positively uplifting. The sun is a direct contrast to the rain. The sun is an image of hope and the 'future forbidden to no-one' while the rain is the constant reminder of a violence filled history. Although Mahon showed a slight sense of hope he is constantly overcome with those 'who have come so far in darkness and in pain'.

In the poem A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford he uses the metaphor of mushrooms neglected in a shed to represent the victims of history. Please note! This is not an example of text written by our writers! Essaypedia.com is a database of essays that were collected at open web resources. You can use them at you own risk following the citation rules below.

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