An tEarrach Thiar Poem Translated Annotated Analysis

May 17, 2017

An tEarrach Thiar - The Western Spring


Annotated Analysis

A man tossing down (throwing it down without care – the basket is empty, likely still heavy)
A creel from his back (a wicker basket for carrying newly caught fish); (hints at how hard the work it is, i.e. ‘back’-breaking)
And the red seaweed
Gleams in the sun
On the white shingle
(an image of the Western shoreline, the ‘red seaweed’ contrasting the ‘white’ sand)
Glorious the sight (another image the speaker admires fondly)
In the Western Spring. (further repetition of the poem’s title establishing the poem’s pattern)

 

Women stand in the little pools
At low ebb tide
(the shallow waters of the sea flowing out from the shore)
With skirts tucked up
(literal meaning – to avoid the water; metaphorical allusion – this is symbolic of their day’s hard work, the women’s ‘skirts tucked up’ to avoid any accidents or delays to their work’s completion)
Casting long shadows
On the peaceful scene
(an intriguing image, could suggest that these women, through their ‘long shadows’, create the need and pressure for the men to complete their work; they are relying on the men; this conflicts the peace and wonder experienced by the speaker and reminds us of the urgency of life; we need certain things to survive, regardless of how peaceful our surroundings are)
In the Western Spring. (we now have a sense of the poet’s intention; for the speaker, these images constitute spring in the West of Ireland)

 

Gentle lapping of oars (after two visual images, we return to sound, the oars making their way through the ebbing seawater)
As a currach full of fish (a boat with a wooden frame, over which animal skins or hides were stretched)
Comes
towards the shore (currach, comes, full and fish all contribute to the soft alliteration of these lines; again, the device is subtle, creating a gentle picture and mood – one representing the speaker’s joy at the scene)
On a calm golden sea
(a further visual image, ‘golden’ connotes the sea’s worth to these people; because they rely on it for fishing, it is their livelihood/gold)
At eventide (the end of day/evening)
In the Western Spring. (for the speaker, all of what’s gone before encapsulates the ‘Western Spring’; at the time this poem was written, it was still customary to capitalise the seasons – spring suffices now)

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