The first Seamus Heaney poem I will look at

The first Seamus
Heaney poem I will look at in this essay is, “Mid-
break,” the most emotional of the three poems and the one people
who have been to a funeral can relate to.
“Mid-term break”,
is a poem about one of Seamus Heaney’s most upsetting and
disturbing memories of his childhood, going to his first ever funeral
and it being his only bother who was just 4 years old you had just
become what do you call them these days err…oh that’s it, an
infant would not have made it any better for Seamus, plus the fact
the room was full of strangers shaking his hand and telling him they
were sorry about the tragedy that had fallen upon his family and
whispers about him informed them he was the eldest made him very
embarrassed and scared enough to hold his mothers hand,

I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

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tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’.
Whispers informed
strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my

I mean, how would you feel if you went to a
funeral for the first time wouldn’t you frightened and embarrassed
of the strange people coming up to you shaking you’re hand talking
to you because you did not know any of them, and it was you’re only
brother(s) or sister(s) or even twin(s) funeral wouldn’t you be a
upset and really lonely?
Because if you had nobody younger or
the same age as you to talk to about what teenagers call “stuff”
i.e.: the latest fashions, most popular celebrities of the time (I
say this because you know kids these days, one day one band is the
coolest one day and crap the next) and about you’re experiences and
you’re hobbies.
*Otherwise you’re parents are the only
people to talk to and think about it for a minute they do not give
you the feeling you’re mixing in with other people you’re age,
plus the fact the bands they talk about like: The Sex Pistols, Slade,
Queen, The Pet shop Boys and the Manic street Preachers (see Top Of
The Pops 2 Television show which songs and bands from the past) are
not cool and do not exist anymore and rarely are these bands popular
again like the Beatles who’s latest album sold platinum and beat
favourites: West life to the top spot.
The poem is also written
in the first person which in my opinion gives the poem a more
personal view, it is if we are Heany going to the

Throughout this poem, Heaney uses many poetic
techniques and devices, such as colloquial and emotional language,
metaphors, similes, repetition, and alliteration.
You can see
one example of which in the first stanza or verse of the poem where
he uses alliteration,

“I sat all morning in the collage
Counting bells knelling classes to a close”

Seamus Heaney has used alliteration in this stanza or verse to
accentuate the C sound in the following words: collage, classes and
close, by doing this device Heaney repeats the C sound and creates
rhythm in the stanza or verse.
Another example of poetic devices
and techniques Heany has used in the first stanza or verse (depends
what you want to call it) is,
That at the start of the poem
Heaney describes his boredom of having to wait for the bell to sound
the end of the lesson,

“Counting bells knelling classes
to a close”

Although Heaney is referring to the school
bell, the word “knelling” suggests a funeral bell. This creates
thoughts of death as soon as the poem opens. The “knelling classes
to a close” could also refer to the fact the church bells knell his
brothers life to a close.

Heaney uses a metaphor to
describe the bruise on his Four-year-old brothers left

“Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple.”

This makes the nasty thing of having a big bruise into a
nice thing by comparing it to a beautiful wild flower called a poppy
that we use on Remembrance Day to remember people you have died in
wars for the protection of this country, such as World War 1, World
War 2, Vietnam, The Falklands, Grimier and the latest war on terror
we have been dragged into by George.W.Bush, (who is copying his
farther going to war with Iraq claiming to fight terror when it is
really all about oil), (Seamus sees his little brother as a
The last line uses alliteration, repetition and a
poetical technique called explosive information to really but
enforces on the fact that Seamus’ little brother was only Four years
old when he died,

“A four foot box, a foot for every

The alliteration, repetition Heaney has used in
this last line is the F sound to accentuate the sound in the
following words: four, foot, foot and for by doing this device,
Heaney repeats the sound putting emphasis on the fact that the person
being buried is only Four years old, but the main technique he has
used, in the poem is the explosive information technique to emphasise
the powerfulness of the poem’s ending. Heaney’s honesty helps us
image the sadness and pain felt by the family.

structure of Seamus’ sad poem, “Mid-term break”, about a time
that anyone would find a upsetting event (a funeral) has a uniform
structure of seven verses or stanzas, some verses or stanzas deal
with specific individuals such as the second stanza the people Seamus
focuses on are his farther, “In the porch I met my father
He had always taken funerals in his stride,” and Big
Jim Evans, “And big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.” Other
verses or stanzas use enjambment to carry ideas to the next verse or
The stanzas or verses only have three lines so they are
easy on the eye to read, so you it draws your attention and gives
importance to the shorter last line.


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