Poem Analysis Digging

Topics: Poetry, Seamus Heaney, Family Pages: 3 (855 words) Published: April 9, 2014
Poem Analysis Digging

Digging is a poem written by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. It’s about a person looking back into the past and thinking about his father and his grandfather. The memories in the poem are about his father and his grandfather’s occupation. The sentences: ‘Stooping in rhythm through potato drills.’ shows that his father was a potato farmer and ‘My grandfather cut more turf in a day’ shows that his grandfather was a turf harvester.

The title of this poem also has a meaning. It has a literally and a figuratively meaning. The literal meaning of ‘Digging’ is digging with a shovel into the ground, which refers to the writer’s father and grandfather. The figurative meaning is digging with a pen onto a piece of paper, which refers to the writer of this poem. The writer of this poem is also the speaker. This becomes clear in the sentence: ‘Between my finger and my thumb / the squat pen rests; snug as a gun.’ It’s also a simile because he compares the pen to a gun and it means that the pen gives him peace.

The speaker is admired by the work of his elders and expresses a self-deprecated attitude towards them because he wants to be as good them, but he thinks he isn’t. There are 2 moods in this poem. In the beginning he regrets that he’s not a farmer like his father, but in the end he accepts his fate as a writer which becomes clear in the last sentence: ‘I’ll dig with it.’ The poem is written in free verse although there is some rhyme like: ‘Under my window, a clean rasping sound / when the spade sinks into gravelly ground.’ This part is also imagery because the clean rasping sound makes you visualise the spade that sinks into the ground and gravelly ground is also alliteration.

The message of this poem is that you shouldn’t regret choosing a different path than your family. You shouldn’t regret being a writer instead of a farmer. In every stanza of the poem there is imagery and because you start to create a mental picture of the...
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