Seamus Heaney's "Peninsula" Essay

Words: 1094
Pages: 5

Seamus Heaney is a famous Irish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and is considered by many to be the most interesting Irish poet since William Yeats, who likewise won a Noble Prize in his day. Heaney's literature frequently communicates the rather tranquil setting of his home land, Ireland, and in particular the North of the country, where he was born. (BBC News Magazine "Faces of the week", 19 January 2007)

His unique portrayal of Ireland’s countryside lead to his Noble Prize and the Swedish Academy mounting praise on him “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth” (New York Times, October 6 1995, by William Grimes). His love for the Irish landscape is clearly evident to the reader in many of his poems.
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Similarly in this line: “At dusk, horizons drink down sea and hill,” The personification of the landscape here is particularly interesting; the horizon appears to be “drinking” the landscape, as the sun sets it appears to be sucking away light from the sights of the peninsula. One too must drink in the atmosphere as a source of inspiration. As the sun fades away, less and less of the land becomes visible as more and more the scene is slowly being swallowed by darkness.

“And you’re in the dark again. Now recall”

The day turning into night and darkness taking over is a metaphor for the gloom before the journey, as beforehand the narrator was struggling for anything meaningful to say, However, he makes reference to his inspiration; “Now recall”, this showing the effect of the peninsula still remains stamped in his mind, and he can draw from that, and encourages the reader to do the same.

The poem is broken up into four stanzas, the first of which focuses on the beginning of the journey, focusing on the bigger picture; the sky, the overall impression of the land at first sight. The next two stanzas focus in more detail on the little unique features of the land, the things seen at a glance from the car window, the things to be dwelled on while contemplating new material. While the last stanza focuses clearly on recollecting