Seamus Heaney - Gifts of Rain - Poetry Analysis

Gifts of Rain

Gifts of Rain Widely regarded as one of the collection’s major pieces, the title introduces the element at the source of all life (Water is certainly a ‘shape-changer’ MP99), dominant feature of Irish climate, determinant of landscape and symbol of cleansing and renewal. Heaney wrote the poem in Berkeley: images, descriptions and associations stem from his Irish memory bank. Allegory is in-built: Heaney’s Ulster is under threat of political and social inundation and he is in ‘inward, broody’ mode. He returns to his home-ground especially the cherished Moyola river of his neighbourhood . I Prolonged rainfall associated with bounty (the Gifts of rain) becomes a recipe for flooding: whether full spate (Cloudburst) or continuous steady downpour now for days. Enter a living creature into this bleak landscape, defined only by its generic name Still mammal, unbalanced by such extreme conditions (straw-footed on the mud); growing consciousness of a problem he […read more….]