Seamus Heaney Digging Essay Help

Between my finger and my thumb   

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   

When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   

My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   

Bends low, comes up twenty years away   

Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   

Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked,

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   

Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day

Than any other man on Toner’s bog.

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up

To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, going down and down

For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head.

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.

A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney

1517 Words7 Pages

A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney

The poems 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' have many similarities, and contrasts. Some of the reoccurring themes in the two poems include memories of childhood and changes in the life of the writer. There are contrasts too, in 'Death of a Naturalist'; the writer is concentrating on himself and his own experiences in life, rather than the experiences of others. In 'Digging', the opposite is true, as the writer concentrates mainly on the events in other people's lives, namely his father and grandfather. The endings of both the poems have a different feel to them. 'Digging' finishes in a much more positive tone than 'Death of a…show more content…

'Death of Naturalist' is about a young boy, his love for nature and how he relishes every aspect of the countryside. A part of this passion is being aware of a host of small things that many people would find insignificant; animals, frogspawn and all the noises of life around him. This changes in the second stanza. The poet has a change of heart and he seems to retreat from the nature he previously loved. He writes:

'I sickened, turned and ran'

So we can see he doesn't feel the same passion about nature any more, it was a "death" of the naturalist.

'Digging' is about a young man who feels that he is not worthy to follow in his father's footsteps. He tells the reader about how great his father and grandfather were, but throughout the poem he says very little about himself. Towards the end his mind is changed. Although his ancestors were hard working men who earned their living through digging, he feels that his writing is a worthy path to follow. He will "dig" with his pen.

Toward the end of both these poems the feelings change. In each poem the writer feels one thing at the beginning, but toward the conclusion his mind is changed, either for the better, in 'Digging', or for the worse, in 'Death of a Naturalist'. It could be said that he had a change in perspective.

Even so, both poems have a deeper

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