Poetry Analysis: Seamus Heaney's Twice Shy

Topics: Poetry, Anxiety, Love Pages: 3 (840 words) Published: February 7, 2015
Seamus Heaney uses his poem Twice Shy to establish the theme of anxious love. This underlying theme is used to convey to readers the conflict of the young lovers that gives rise to anxiety as they are caught between protecting oneself from heartache, and risking confession of a true love. Heaney communicates his message through the use of poetic devices as his speaker contemplates whether to go through with his decision or to refrain. The thought process behind his restraint is one that causes him to feel anxiety or nervousness as the speaker enters this new love. The structural choices Heaney makes from the start of the piece make evident just how deep the struggle of protecting oneself from heart ache vs. confession of love is ingrained. There is an inherent rhyme scheme in the alternating form of ABCBDB: “In suede flats for the walk…For air and friendly talk” The fluctuating rhyme scheme increases tension as readers feel the conflict of trying to balance the on and off rhyme running through the poem simultaneously. The rhyme scheme mirrors the poem in that it presents the readers with alternating perspectives – just as the the speaker is ultimately presented with in his internal conflict. Seamus Heaney does not fail to deliver poetic devices within the actual text either. The second stanza opens with heavy pathetic fallacy, “Traffic holding its breath, Sky a tense diaphragm:” Heaney ascribes these actions, dripping with tension and anxiety to the environment around the walking couple. This pathetic fallacy helps to establish the theme of nervous love, as these actions are said to be both on the ground with the traffic, as well as in the sky. This couple is essentially surrounded by the anxiety of their relationship. The effect of the couple’s emotions being reflected unto their setting is that it develops the idea that these apprehensive emotions are important and must be dealt with. The speaker, and his partner cannot ignore that they must eventually...
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