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Eavan Boland, Essential Poetry Guide

© 2016.

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Table of Contents

The War Horse 5

Summary 6

Annotation 6

Child of Our Time 8

Summary 8

Annotation 9

The Famine Road 10

Summary 11

Annotation 12

The Shadow Doll 14

Summary 14

Annotation 15

White Hawthorn in the West of Ireland 17

Summary 18

Annotation 18

Outside History 20

Summary 20

Annotation 21

The Black Lace Fan my Mother Gave Me 22

Summary 23

Annotation 23

This Moment 25

Summary 25

Annotation 26

The Pomegranate 27

Summary 28

Annotation 29

Love 31

Summary 32

Annotation 32

Sample Answers 34

Boland’s reflective insights are expressed through her precise use of language. 34

The appeal of Eavan Boland’s poetry. 37

Write a personal response to the poetry of Eavan Boland. 43

Eavan Boland

Eavan Boland (born 24 September 1944 in Dublin) is an Irish poet, author, and professor who has been active since the 1960s. She is currently a professor at Stanford University, where she has taught since 1996. Her work deals with the Irish national identity, and the role of women in Irish history.

The War Horse


The War Horse

This dry night, nothing unusual   

About the clip, clop, casual 

Iron of his shoes as he stamps death 

Like a mint on the innocent coinage of earth. 

I lift the window, watch the ambling feather 

Of hock and fetlock, loosed from its daily tether 

In the tinker camp on the Enniskerry Road,   

Pass, his breath hissing, his snuffling head 

Down. He is gone. No great harm is done.   

Only a leaf of our laurel hedge is torn— 

Of distant interest like a maimed limb,   

Only a rose which now will never climb 

The stone of our house, expendable, a mere   

Line of defence against him, a volunteer 

You might say, only a crocus, its bulbous head   

Blown from growth, one of the screamless dead. 

But we, we are safe, our unformed fear 

Of fierce commitment gone; why should we care 

If a rose, a hedge, a crocus are uprooted   

Like corpses, remote, crushed, mutilated? 

He stumbles on like a rumour of war, huge   

Threatening. Neighbours us...

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