Seamus Heaney - Ancestral Photograph - Poetry Analysis

Ancestral Photograph

Ancestral Photograph An old brown-tinted photo that has long hung on the wall, a snap-shot from the rural, family past it records, is being removed. The portrait is a revealing study of the subject it depicts and a witness to three generations of the Heaney family-line. Heaney translates the visual into words. The picture is that of a proud Irish countryman: with Jaws that puff; with a heavy build, round and solid as a turnip; lifeless, dead eyes captured by the camera’s lens that might be those of a statue; an overbearing nature revealed by facial features, where upper lip/ Bullies the heavy mouth down to a droop. The man’s accessories: A bowler-hat lending him a theatrical stage Irishman appearance; the prominent watch-chain of a successful man: silver … like a hoop. His nature as recalled by the poet: half arrogant (scorn); half impassive, unemotional dead-pan. This is Heaney’s father’s […read more….]