Heaney, Personal Helicon - IOC points & analysis

Heaney, Personal Helicon - IOC points & analysis

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Personal Helicon Persona (who could very well be interpreted as Heaney himself) played with wells as a child. He liked the mechanics of it and after interacting with it for a while he drags the “mulch” out of the bottom of it. This allows him so see his own reflection and he uses the well to think about life and reflect. Persona now reflects through poetry Point 1 – Childhood imagery and the effect on maturing – justifying why he writes poetry “waterweed, fungus and dank moss” -

Heavy use of earthy materials shows his childhood innocence and fascination with nature (naturalist)

“savoured the rich crash” -

Enjoyable childhood experiences – he has not yet become mature “Buckets and windlasses” – enjoying playing and having new experiences

“fructified” – fruit is ripe – associated with growth and fertility (algae but in a good way) could be seen as growth of maturity or generating inspiration + sensory experiences “finger slime” is beneath him and “all adult dignity” – DoaN Point 2 – Metaphor of the well “saw no reflection” – initially with poetry you don’t see anything about yourself “dragged out the long roots” – tidy it up “white face” – see yourself looking back – he used the wells to reflect on life and himself “echoes […] own call” - all wells sound different – he sees himself differently through all poetry – each poem is a new well “clean” “reflection” -highlights that the poem has become more reflective “Narcissus” stared at his own reflection at helicon – ended up killing him – now the persona can reflect through poetry – starts with digging He can see himself while writing poems – can have a conversation with himself – “echoing” Wells are like poetry as he can see himself through them – almost like a third person observer Point 3 - Structure & Title Helicon -

Source of poetic inspiration in Greek mythology


Either a fountain or where the muses live He is setting out to explain his personal source of inspiration

All senses are present -

He is looking back and can see his personal development His memory of sensory experiences allows whim to remember the well – look back on source of inspiration

Unusual rhythm and rhyme -

Lots of assonance, “pumps, buckets”, “bucket plummeted”, “drop, moss”, “hovered, bottom” ABAB with many half rhymes + iambic pentameter These changes to the conventional pattern of an ABAB poem indicate the poet asserting his personal style and challenging the reader to reflect on this.

Ends the collection where he started – explaining why he writes poetry Conclusion It’s the last poem – very important Ties up the death of a naturalist – loss of innocent enthusiasm Explains why poetry Explains how he will write his poetry and leave his mark