Seamus Heaney Essay

Topics: Poetry, Family, Rhyme Pages: 2 (733 words) Published: May 8, 2013
How is the idea of parent/child relationships presented in Digging by Seamus Heaney a poem by Gillian Clarke and two poems in the Pre-1914 poetry bank?

In Heaney’s poem Digging the poet demonstrates his affection and respect for Father and Grandfather. Clarke, in her poem Catrin demonstrates that parent/child relationships can provide a battleground a battleground for positive and negative feelings. Ben Jonson in On My First Sonne shows that pride and love are a father’s most obvious feelings for a young son, yet Yeats seems to suggest, in The Song of the Old Mother, that parents often feel frustrated by their offspring.

In Digging, Heaney makes extensive use of alliteration to bring the reader closer to the rhythm of digging. In line four of the poem this is particularly evident: “…spade sinks into the gravelly ground.”

The repetition of the ‘g’ and ‘s’ sounds provide the reader with an understanding of the noises that they might encounter in the garden whilst near a “digger”, but the repetition of these sounds creates a rhythm that helps to emphasise the idea that Heaney regards his father and grandfather as being masters of a skill that he does not possess. However, Gillian Clarke in her poem Catrin, makes strong use of metaphor to emphasise the complex nature of the relationship that exists between the poet and her daughter. The “red rope of love” which both mother and daughter “fought over” reminds us that each seeks to dominate the relationship that exists between them. They are attached to each other, literally at Catrin’s birth, and in their relationship they seem to fight to be free.

Clarke makes use of simple two stanza form in her poem Catrin. In the first stanza the poet reflects upon her daughter’s birth and the effect that it had upon the mother’s life. In the second stanza of the poem the poet considers her daughter later in life and finds that “she is still fighting” with her daughter, but now she is given to admiring, and yet...
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