Seamus Heaney Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What poetic devices and themes are found in Seamus Heaney's poem titled "North"?  

Expert Answers info

Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

[Continued from above.]

Lines 18-19 display a kind of internal rhyme, since both “me” and the last syllable of “epiphany” are accented, thus contributing in yet another way to the sheer music of the poem.

Line 22 contains an allusion to Norse mythology, thus contributing to the mythic nature of the poem and to its chronological expansiveness. At this point the phrasing of the poem becomes less lucid than it has been; allusions to times past and to past cultures complicate the meaning of the work, making it denser and less easily penetrable than it has previously been. The speaker seems to be alluding to the less attractive aspects of ancient Norse culture, including its bloodiness and its ethic of revenge.

Line 29 initiates a new phase of the poem, in which the speaker is directly addressed by the “longship’s swimming tongue,” mentioned in line 20 (an example of a metaphor) . The tongue advises the speaker how to compose and what to expect, including shimmering lights surrounded by...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 827 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial