The first poem called “The Early Purges” is about the childhood of Seamus Heaney the poet. He is describing his childhood when he was six in 1945 and he wrote the poem in 1965. He was so young when he first saw kittens drown and rats trapped by Dan Tagret. He felt very sad and disgusted by the way they got rid of the animals. Growing up he took less care and attention to these horrible events as he describes the puppies as “bloody pups” and seems as though he does not care about them anymore by saying, “I just shrug”. He is also talking about the people in town that consider the animals being killed as an unnatural event and call them pets while people in farm call them pests and consider them as something, which has to be “kept down”.
The second poem is called “Daffodils” by Wordsworth in 1800’s. This poem is also about the poet describing his own life. He uses similes by saying in the poem ” I wondered lonely as a cloud “. He describes himself seeing a host of golden daffodils beneath a lake and trees. The beautiful daffodils were all around the place, dancing full of life and tossing their heads while the wind was blowing. He felt very happy and pleased seeing all those daffodils. Seeing them “fluttering” and”dancing” and made him feel alive and he enjoys their “jocund company”. It seems the daffodils are precious to Wordsworth by using very positive words describing the daffodils, for instance “golden daffodils” or “continuous as the stars that shine, and twinkle on the Milky Way”. He describes them as the stars in the sky and also gold. He also thinks they are alive as he says “host of daffodils” or “dancing daffodils”. He describes himself as isolated and lonely but happy as he is saying” the bliss of solitude”. He imagines the dancing daffodils while lying on his couch, therefore he feels very happy and pleased. Then he dances as the daffodils are dancing which can be explained as the celebration of “Bliss of solitude”.
Seamus Heaney has grown in a farm in Ireland. He used to see violence everyday and more importantly it started to happen in his childhood when he was nothing but a little innocent child. Therefore as he grew up and got older, he just had to accept that violence’s even though he didn’t like it and he used to be very frightened and horrified seeing all that cruelty to animals as he says “suddenly frightened” when he describes the kittens dead body. Those upsetting and frightening memories will stick to his mind as he grows up. As it says in Heaney’s Biography, most of his poems are about things that happened to him or happened to the environment around him. He also talks about the differences between farms and towns, and what these two different societies think about each other and of course animals.
Wordsworth is a famous poet in Britain. He loves nature; therefore all of his poems are about nature and how beautiful it is. He also talks about how nature can affect people’s lives. He has been lonely while he has become a poet. Therefore he talks about his loneliness quite a lot. He links his loneliness to the nature and describes loneliness, beautiful when combined with nature. Looking at all that beautiful nature made him feel very alive, especially when he looked at the dancing of daffodils in the “breeze” as he says “a host of golden daffodils, beside the lake beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze”. Using personification he has described the flowers moves in breezes to dancing to make them alive and happy. Therefore he did not feel lonely but he felt happy and alive because he has experienced the joy of “the bliss of solitude”.
He thinks the daffodils are happy as he says, ” sparkling waves in glee”, which means the daffodils made “sparkling waves” as the wind were blowing in them with joy. Therefore he turns happy as he says, “a poet could not but be gay” which means that he can’t not be happy. Then he goes home, lies on his couch and remembers all those dancing and happy daffodils, therefore he feels happy again, although he cannot see them but they exist in his mind. He seems to have a good imagination as he can imagine all those daffodils and be happy just like when he saw them in reality. It is quite interesting the way Wordsworth has mentioned his thoughts towards daffodils and the joy that nature brings in his lonesome life. I think he also wants to mention that only people who are thoughtful can imagine the daffodils and get happy just when imagining them as he says, ” in pensive mood they flash upon that inward eye “.
Going back to the first poem, Dan Tagret seems to be a very violent person. He trapped the rats, snared rabbits, shot crows, pulled old hen’s neck with a tug, drowned kittens, and calls them ” scraggy wee shits “. He can be identified as a person who sees animals as pests. Heaney himself changed his mind as he grew older as he says, “I just shrug, bloody pups”. These might be the result of having to see these violent from early childhood and just became natural to them as the time passed by. I also think they would not like to kill them by heart; it is just the matter of having to do something in order to survive their own life. Furthermore in wildlife where only animals live, the stronger animals always kill weaker ones in order to survive from hunger. This is just lifecycle’s cruel rules. Dan also seems to be thinking that it is as much better to be killed than die from hunger as they grow older as he says “isn’t it better for them now?”. However the evidence shows he seems to be careless about it “prod” them to drown and “sluice” them out on the dunghill. Also Heaney describes the dead body of the kittens turning “mealy” and crispy as “old summer dung”. He used to watch them sadly and get frightened. I think the poet wanted to show that the death of these animals, getting killed by one another, decaying and becoming crispy is a part of the nature but it is also sad.
The poet was very young when he saw the killing and trapping and shooting to innocent animals. Therefore he is describing his childhood, by using words that children use, for example ” soft paws scraping like mad “. He describes himself as frightened and sad as he saw them dieing. He was disgusted with the way Dan Taggrat got rid of the tiny innocent animals quickly without any mercy, and compassion. Living and growing up will change your sentiments, therefore you do not care about the animals being killed as much as before because you have got used to it and it became more natural to you. Although it is not natural for people who do not often experience seeing animals get killed.
Wordsworth however has described nature as beautiful and alive. It seems Wordsworth lives with nature and nature is the main part of his life, therefore it is what makes him happy and what he always think of. He does not feel lonely or “solitude” anymore when he imagines nature in his mind and how beautiful the nature is. At the end of the poem he has used a very strong words describing his sentiments towards the nature by saying “and then my heart with pleasure feels, and dances with the daffodils”. The poet is using a metaphor in here. He has described his heart very happy and cheerful as he says his heart dances with the daffodils. Also “heart” is a very strong word, describing how his heart is full of pleasure to dance with the daffodils, which can be defined as the nature.
Comparing Seamus Heaney with Wordsworth you realize how different their lives are. Heaney’s life was full of stress and his environment was full of agitations and disturbance. He had a complicated life. He had seen lots of violence and selfishness from human being, while Wordsworth had a peaceful life. He spent his life in nature and enjoyed being on his own. In this poem he never wanted to fit in with other people because it was his nature to be alone. Seamus Heaney’s aim was to try to fit in with the environment around him; therefore he had to accept the facts that other people accepted for instance the violence.
Overall, Heaney seems frightened and upset in his childhood and then when he grows up he has forced to accept those horrible facts in order to fit in with people. Wordsworth is talking about life and how beautiful it could be; while Heaney talks about death and killing innocent creatures because human think it is better for them to be dead as they identify them as pests. The interesting point that I can make in here is that Heaney is talking about death and using the simile “wet gloves” to describe the kittens dead body while Wordsworths is giving life to the flowers by using similes such as “dancing daffodils”. As the result there are a huge rang of negative and unpleasant words used in Heaney’s poem while everything is positive and pleasant in Wordsworth’s poem.