Seamus Heaney - Docker - Poetry Analysis


Docker Heaney’s docker illustrates the sectarian stance adopted by bigoted unionist Protestant working-men towards the Catholic minority as the poet sensed it in the mid 20th century. He exposes the threatening prejudice lurking beneath the dour, uncompromising exterior of a dockworker.   The man sits silent and alone in the corner of a public bar staring at his drink. He is moulded by the dockside environment in which he works: Cap/ like a gantry’s crossbeam/ Cowling plated forehead and sledgehead jaw. His tightly sealed mouth (Speech … clamped in the lips’ vice) is suggestive of a man who communicates only when he has to, who neither questions his beliefs, nor will have them challenged. The docker’s unremitting Protestant nature (That fist would drop a hammer on a Catholic) affirms the ever-present threat of sectarian division. Heaney comments on the irony he perceives: The only Roman collar he tolerates/ Smiles all […read more….]