In “Digging” the speaker’s attitudes toward his father are admiration, love, and disapproval.
In ll. 1-6 the speaker talks in the present tense and describes with admiration what his father is doing. “Snug as a gun” in l. 2 suggests that the speaker is well suited as a writer because the pen fits his hand well. Line 3 describes the speaker’s father, who is digging in the flowerbeds and making a “clean rasping sound” (l. 3). “Spade sinks” and “gravelly ground” are two instances of alliteration that help to describe the spade’s (l. 4). When the speaker looks through the window, he notices his father’s “straining rump” (l.6.) which causes the speaker to have a flashback about his father.
Using achronological time in ll. 7-15 the speaker describes a flashback of his father from “twenty years away” and shows much admiration for his work (l. 7). The speaker’s father is digging though “potato drills” (l. 8). “Stooping in rhythm” in l. 8 shows the speaker’s admiration for his father because he notes the rhythm which shows his father’s experience and skill. The speaker uses “we” and “our” in ll. 13-14 to compare himself to his father because, while they are different people, he respects and loves his father and wishes to be similar to him. In l. 15 the speaker explicitly shows his admiration for his father when he says, “By god, the old man could handle a spade.”
In ll.16-24 the speaker continues using achronological time by delving into another flashback; this one is of his grandfather who he compares to his father with a simile in l. 16. The speaker explains that his grandfather could “cut more turf in a day/ Than any other man” (ll. 17-18). Lines 19-24 give an example of the speaker’s grandfather’s hard work. The speaker brought his grandfather a bottle of milk that had been “corked sloppily.” His grandfather drank it quickly and “fell to right away/ Nicking and slicing neatly” (ll. 20-23). The speaker’s grandfather took no rest from his work....