Autumn iRevise Online Tutorial Series 31st of August to 5th of December

Seamus Heaney's Poetry, Essential Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

Begin 4

Summary 4

Annotation 4

Bread 6

Summary 6

Annotation 6

Poem from a Three Year Old 7

Summary 8

Annotation 8

I See You Dancing, Father 11

Summary 11

Annotation 11

A Cry for Art O’Leary 13

Summary 18

Annotation 18

Saint Brigid’s Prayer 24

Summary 24

Annotation 24

Sample Answer 26

Brendan Kennelly’s Poetry, A Personal Response 26

Begin

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.

Summary

This poem is a wonderful motto for life, and a lesson in the art of never giving up, of forever being glad to have the ability to experience the birds, springtime, and the ability to 'begin'.

Annotation

Begin (at first, this reads as a command to start something new; as the poem progresses, it becomes clear that the poet actually means ‘Begin again’ – as we see in line 1)

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
(the speaker’s typical morning sights and sounds on a busy street in Dublin of people on their way to work, school, etc.)
Every beginning is a promise (a description of every new day)
born in light and ...

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