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Seamus Heaney's "Digging" Poem

In this poem 'Digging' by Seamus Heaney, there is an element of ambiguity. The author writes this poem about a Father 'digging potatoes' - this however, is only on the surface. Underlying the true intention or meaning of the poem reveals the great admiration and respect for how hardworking his Father and Grandfather was. All though this may just be a poem about 'digging potatoes'. The poet reveals the tremendous skill in digging and conveys certain artistry in this physical act. The poet also uses this poem to speak out against the past political situation of farming in Ireland.

He uses his words as a 'weapon' to speak out what he personally feels to be wrong.

The poem is written in free verse. Although the first two stanzas of the poem show the start of regularity and rhyme, this changes to the use of free verse continuing to the end of the poem. This form of free verse allows the poet a freedom for subtle rhythmic variety, for example using assonance. Or making words look like they rhyme. Which is shown quite regularly through this poem.

Free verse also complements the style of the poet 'connecting' with the reader in the way that it seems like the poet is writing directly to the reader. Making it a more 'in touch' and personal poem to subjects that we can relate to. In this case. Having a respect for your Father or your heritage.

The poems opening line, in a simple, complete one line statement, conveys the impression of the poet talking to us directly and also sets a 'snapshot' of time for the reader:

"Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests; snug as a gun"

This opening line focuses our attention to the fact that this is set in present time. It is as if the opening lines in the first stanza is creating the beginning of his memories being told by the poet.

When Seamus Heaney uses the word "gun" in relation to his "pen." The author uses this simile "gun" to express his relief that he can use h...

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Seamus Heaney's "Digging" Poem. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 09:31, July 27, 2016, from