Seamus Heaney Clearances Poems

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Topics: Poetry
Seamus Heaney - Clearances 3

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives--
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

The “Clearances” collection is an insight into Seamus Heaney and his mother’s relationship, it deals with his mother who is deceased , sonnet 3 is set in the past, it deals with distant past and the author’s link to his mother’s family history which he is not directly part of.
The sonnet is relatively staright forward, In the first eight lines we are given a simile describing the potatoes peeled:
...let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Next is a metaphor describing the peeled potatoes sitting in a bucket of clean water:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share / Gleaming in a bucket of clean water
In "When all the others were away at Mass" Heaney moves from the distant past of the first two quatrains, through a telling break in lines, the into a place nearer the present in the final quatrain. But this present reality is too much to bear, and he retreats again to the past in the final couplet. In this way memory serves as a shield to protect him from his mother's death.
Onomatopoeia is used with little pleasant splashes.
There is a pivotal shift found at the beginning of the ninth line, where the scene changes in the writer's memory, to fast forward to his dying mother's bedside.
A metaphor (and idiom) is used with:
"Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for

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