Seamus Heaney - Planting the alder - Poetry Analysis

Planting the alder

Planting the alder The sonnet sings of a tree dear to Heaney that flourished in the wet landscape of his upbringing. Alders abounded on the banks of the Moyola in the previous piece. The poet provides the lyrical version of what might be found in a botanical handbook of trees. He cites compelling reasons for planting the alder: For the silver and greys shades of its bark – dulled argent…/ pigeon collared;   For its foliage especially under rain: splitter-splatter, guttering/ Rain-flirt leaves;   For the hue and shape of its cones in Spring – the snub and clot of the first green cones,/ Smelted emerald, chlorophyll; For the texture and sound (both elements implicit in the reference to the rattle-snake) of its cones in Winter (they remain on the tree long after the leaves have been shed): the scut and scat of cones in winter,/ So rattle-skinned, so fossil-brittle; […read more….]