Namely "Bogland" Written by Seamus Heaney Essay

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¶ … namely "Bogland" written by Seamus Heaney and "The lake island of Innisfree" by W.B. Yeats. Both poets are describing an island, yet the poems are very different. The Bogland in the first poem is nothing but Ireland, the country where the poet was born. We understand that the description he makes of the island concentrates his own feelings towards it. In the physical description the poet includes his own feelings towards the territory which has served him as a school of thought (and feeling?).

We might assert that while the metaphors used within the poem are scarce, ttheir use and meaning are exceptional. If Ireland is the country of the bogs, then it is safe to say that the bog is the symbol of both the country and its history. "Literary geography (as opposed to literary criticism) would examine the poetical descriptions of bogs in comparison to how closely the imagery fits the empirical reality of the landscape, offering alternative approaches to geographical understanding. While objective studies in geomorphology and ecological succession may help to explain the origin and development of bogs, literary geography considers place-creation to be also subjective, based on landscape perceptions which take to account humanistic responses as well as purely environmental factors"(Meredith, 127).

" We have no prairies/To slice a big sun at evening" (Heaney 1-2) suggests that the horizon is infinite. The open space of the Irish geography suggests it is a free land with free people, who have the opportunity to experience anything they might think of. "Everywhere the eye concedes to/Encrounching horizon" (Heaney, 3-4)- therefore, the limit to the Irish land is not another land or geographical entity, but the horizon itself.

Reading between the lines, the readers understand that Heaney perceives his home land as infinite. In the following lines we will see that Ireland is perceived not only as being infinite, but also eternal. The point which the poet wishes to make is not that his country is literally infinite and eternal, but that its people are blessed with a historical development which has allowed them to be free. We are therefore dealing not only with landscapes, but also with mindscapes (Meredith, 126).

The association with the eye if the cyclop suggests that the country has had a mythological foundation. It is interesting to notice the use of the collective pronoun, which suggests the poet is speaking for all his Irish fellowmen "our unfenced country/Is bog that keeps crusting" (Heaney, 6-7).

The lack of fences must not be interpreted as a lack of protection, but rather as a lack of confinement. The Irish do not need fences in order to divide their territory, because they respect each other enough. The poet suggests that the Irish people are united by a strong bond.

Another very interesting and suggestive metaphor is the one of the butter "Butter sunk under / More than a hundred years/Was recovered salty and white. / The ground itself is kind, black butter" (Heaney, 13-16). On the one hand the butter is a symbol for the creation of the country. Being part of the essential nutrition elements, butter is to be associated with the source of life. On the other hand, its kindness is obviously a hint to the character of the Irish people. The characteristics of the land are passed unto its inhabitants. "Our pioneers keep striking/Inwards and downwards" (Heaney 23-24)is a very interesting statement. Usually pioneers are oriented towards the future. In this case, they are focused on the revealing of the past. Reading between the lines, it is understood that the past is the keeper of the truth and the most important source of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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