A poem I have recently read is “Mid-term Break” by Seamus Heaney. I found this poem deeply distressing because the poem is based on the death of a young boy. The poet demonstrates not only death, but also how it deeply affects others.
The poem is about a young school boy attending boarding school who is called to go home. The title suggests a holiday but instead it is a break in the school term as the boy’s younger brother at the age of four had been knocked over and killed.
Seamus Heaney adopts the persona of a young schoolboy, the older brother of a child who died. The poem was particularly memorable for me as it allows me to see the views of the death through his eyes. We know the poet uses the persona of the school boy as the poem starts:
“I sat all morning in the college sick bay”
This shows that the boy is sitting in school waiting to be collected by his neighbours. This is also unfamiliar to him as he is not often sitting in the school sick bay.
The poet also highlights the sadness through his use of persona as it shows us the young boy is experiencing death for the first time.
The title “Mid Term Break” made this poem particularly memorable for me as it suggests that the boy is going on holiday. We learn in verse one that this is not the case as it says:
“Counting bells knelling…”
The word ‘Knelling’ vaguely hints that something has happened in the family such as a death.
The first verse of the poem was particularly memorable as the poet says:
“I sat all morning in the college sick bay.”
This is unfamiliar to the boy as h is not normally in the college sick bay.
The poet also suggests that time is ‘ticking’ by as he says:
“Counting bells knelling classes to a close”.
This means that he has been sitting the sick bay so long that he has heard class after class ending. The poet also uses this as an affective method of alliteration (repetition of sound).
Another unfamiliar scene to him is:
“At ten o’clock our neighbours...