Seamus Heaney - In Small Townlands - Poetry Analysis

In Small Townlands

In Small Townlands Heaney watches an artist-friend, Colin Middleton, to whom the poem is dedicated, composing a painting in his own very personal style. Preoccupied with his own questions of composition and his personal imprint on his poems, Heaney describes a creative act exercised within another medium. The initial landscape executed by the painter looks familiar to Heaney. The artist’s first steps, with hogshair wedge brush, seem to the poet’s eye, to be those of a ‘classically trained’ artist: his ‘process’ begins by treating variously the different components, distinguishing between the granite and the clay; using muted shades of colour (blue … grey) to add detail Till crystal in the rock is bared; defining outlines sharply where Loaded brushes hone an edge. As if Outstared by the strength of Middleton’s burning gaze, the landscape recoils: Outcrops of stone contract. The initial shaping completed, the landscape’s fears are confirmed: the surrealist […read more….]