What is the mood in the poem 'Clearances' by Seamus Heaney?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mood of “Clearances” is sorrowful and meditative as the speaker remembers his mother’s life and her death.

Mood is the emotional effect of a poem.  In this pome, the speaker keeps a distance between the poem and his mother’s death, so the mood is sorrowful but not a deeper emotion.

Then she was dead,
The searching for a pulsebeat was abandoned

The death of the speaker’s mother brings about musings about her life, and their relationship.  He remembers cobblestones “ thrown a hundred years ago” that seem to be coming right at him.  He is deeply connected with her past, because her past is his past.

Keeps coming at me, the first stone
Aimed at a great-grandmother's turncoat brow.
The pony jerks and the riot's on.

Death usually makes us think about a person’s life, and the effect that person had on us.  When the death is recent, the grief is still too near.  At the time the poem ends, the speaker has acknowledged his mother’s death, but it has not completely sunk in yet.

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