(b) ‘Heaney’s poetry continues to engage readers through its poetic treatment of man’s relationship to nature.’
In   the   light   of   your   critical   study,   does   this   statement   resonate   with   your   own interpretation of Heaney’s poetry?
In your response, make detailed reference to TWO poems you have studied.
Seamus Heaney’s poetry offers the reader a profound insight on nature, and the concept of death as an omnipresent overshadowing subject matter. The poetry specifically reflects on the heritage, sustainability and ramifications of the land on humanity through the intrinsic relationship between man and nature. Heaney illuminates these key ideas through the exploration of Irish history in which he reflects on both the affinity between man and nature and the inevitability of death on a national level. It is through Heaney’s exploration of such universal ideas which essentially contributes to the textual integrity of the poems, allowing Heaney’s texts to transcend time and thus continue to engage readers. These reflections are exposed within both ‘requiem for the croppies’ and ‘At a potato digging’.
Heaney’s poem ‘Requiem for the croppies’ although written on the fifteenth anniversary of the 1916 Easter uprising, focuses on the battle of Vinegar Hill in 1798 between the English and Irish. ‘Requiem’ retells the story of Ireland’s unremitting desire for home rule and the harsh outcomes which followed. Heaney reflects upon this battle and in particular on nature as a benevolent force, depended on to sustain man throughout the battle. The poem begins with visual imagery “the pockets of our greatcoats full of barley” conveys the significance of nature to man throughout the battle as it provided a form of sustenance in a time of desperate need. The croppies beneficial use of the inscrutable forces of nature is evident as “We'd cut through reins and rider with the pike”. In doing so Heaney implies an ironic co-operation between aspects of Irish nature and the Irish...