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Visitors' Comments about:

Digging

Seamus Heaney

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2005-05-27
Added by: Jen
Leave Seamus Heaney alone! His poems are brilliant. To anyone who might criticise him i would like to see you do any better! His poems show an immense amount of pride for his Irish heritage which as an irish person we can all identify with.
digging seamus heaney
2005-06-09
Added by: olly
Digging

This poem is like ‘Follower’, as it shows how the young Heaney looked up to his elders in this case both father and grandfather.
Heaney seeing his father who is now old finding it hard to dig, Seamus recalls him in his prime, digging ‘potato drills’. He cannot match men like his father and his grandfather who he also recalls him also digging peat bogs but he sees that the pen is his spade and his is mightier for him. This is not a cozy poem about digging the earth; it is more about digging oneself out of the earth, about pulling up the "living roots " that "awaken in my head". Heaney with his pen will dig into his past and translates them into poems. Heaney shows the skill and dignity in their labour. We see also see their sense of the work ethic, the father still digs in old age, the grandfather, when he was working, would barely stop to drink.
It opens at the start with a metaphor. The pen is:
“snug as a gun”
because it fits his hand and is powerful.
‘Digging looks at two fond memories, the father digging the potato drills, the grandfather digging turf, this is what he was known for: being the best digger on the peat bog. Seamus celebrates his grandfathers and fathers skill and expertise not their strength.
Digging roots are to do with the poem ‘Digging’ which show how Seamus, in his writing, is getting back to his own roots, where he is from.
‘Digging’ seems to me it is written with dignity and profundity even though we are talking about mud and hands on work. I think this because he is talking about his family and he doesn’t say a bad word about them. He is obviously proud because he thinks the world of his father and grandfather.
‘By God, the old man could handle a space.
Just like his old man.’
Heaney's choice of verbs is both precise and effective, as he describes his grandfather's easy skill in "Nicking and slicing neatly". The poem is full of the sounds of work precisely described. The hard 'g' sounds of "digging", "gravelly ground", "snug", "lug" and "soggy" have an onomatopoeic effect in making vivid the sound of the spade sinking into the hard ground.
The poem is in a mood of which is there is no word order, irregularity and no rhyme.
The poem begins almost as it ends, but only at the end is the writer's pen seen as a weapon for digging.
i think his work is intreiging and different. i like the irregularity. im 15 doing my coursework
2005-06-14
Added by: Anna
So many people have commented that Heaney as the personna feels guilt for differing from the rural farming life and opting for a life filled with writing. I disagree. I don't see any indications of Heaney's guilt, I see a man proud of his ansectors, grandfathers and fathers and their work on the farm. The poem "Digging" does not show any guilt but rather shows an explantion for Heaney's decision to part from the farming life.

Digging
2005-06-26
Added by: Terrance Millet
Heaney’s poems are far from dull, and “Digging” is a poem of touching and startling depth. There are few dull poems, few few dull stories, but many dull readers of literature. A poem is like a mirror, someone once said: If an ass looks into it, you cannot expect an angel to look out. Some of the more callow responses on this web page bring this saying to mind.
From this far side of the Atlantic, it’s distressing to read vigorously negative comments about Heaney’s poetry, to see vitriolic refusals to be engaged by his readers. Surely these comments are the exception. If not, the laments of Joyce and Yeats still ring true about Ireland and her artists. Heaney is an important component of Literature courses taught here at university. Indeed, some yearlong British Literature courses taught at the university level here begin with Heaney’s translation of “Beowulf” and finish with his poem “Digging.”
2005-07-05
Added by: kate
Ruby dosent know what shes on about
"Digging"
2005-09-19
Added by: Carol Willette Bachofner
this is one of the best poems to demonstrate to students how each of us has a talent and must follow it.
Open minded
2005-10-17
Added by: Kate G
The snap crackle and pop of diction as Philip Hobsbaum would say. Has anyone notices that hen you read this poem aloud your mouth goes into overtime if feels like marbles are being rolled around your mouth its marvellous. Unfortuanetly i did have to study this poem. Even though its a work of art i have to agree that schools are ruining these great poems by making their students study them insistently. Noone wants to do that. No students shouldnt be doing exactly waht they want to do and i do agree that they should study things from different times. I can also accept what the students are saying and even though it can annoy some people a belive everyone is entitled to their opinion. This poem is wonderful its just a shme that the schools are ruining theat for others
DIGGING
2005-11-21
Added by: sean
WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I have heard the expression each to their own but why write things in a way so that people can't understand them. everyone is praising this poem when in actual fact it is just a load of rubbish put together and people are now adding their comments on how good it is. The point is if you have something to say then say it. there is no point in beating around the bush and writing this pile of....
Irish history
2005-11-27
Added by: Sam
Heys.. I thoroughly enjoyed the literary comments by you guys on this poem, esp. by irish nationals. Being a foreigner, i only know a little about the irish conflicts between catholics and protestants, which have greatly improved already. In reading the line "snug as a gun", i felt i was missing out on something only an irish could truly understand. The comments were quite illuminating! esp. the bit about the 'potato famine'. Thanks! =) Other parts, such as "the curt cuts of an edge through living roots", about Heaney's conscious, though guilty choice to literally dissociate himself from his own roots of tradition, however, can be appreciated by anyone, anywhere. I like the closure at the end, where he 'digs' with his pen and comes to a compromise between the past and his passion.
2005-12-12
Added by: Hesham
This is a great poem once I read the comments that helped me to further understand the deep meataphorical content within the poem's lines.

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