Seamus Heaney - A Shiver - Poetry Analysis

A Shiver

A Shiver   The sonnet sets out at some length the physics and dynamics of wielding a hammer. The energy generated brings with it, however, an understanding of its destructiveness. What begins as a sense of physical reverberation affecting the person using a heavy tool ultimately evokes a shiver of fear when, as contemporary history demonstrates, extreme power falls into the wrong hands. The tool in question is the weighty sledge-hammer, commonly used by builders and labourers for demolition. Aware of the possible damage to the untrained operator it is clear that the poet/ farmer’s son has handled such an implement and been shocked by its potential. The poem sets out The way, ‘instructions’ for the safe use of the sledgehammer. Firstly the ‘stance’: the posture required to swing this heavy tool: your two knees locked, your lower back shock-fast (recalling the ‘braced’ snedder), reminiscent to Heaney of a classical […read more….]