Seamus Heaney - Polish Sleepers - Poetry Analysis

Polish Sleepers

Polish Sleepers   The first of eight poems alluding to boyhood during World War II. In this first poem the sight of recycled use of railway sleepers transports the speaker back in time to the lost domain of wartime childhood. Within this context, reference to Poland and the positioning of other key-words in the narrative open the way to the period’s more chilling phenomena: wartime concentration camps. Once: a time when Heaney’s local railway-line, now closed, was active. Railway-sleepers in situ were a common sight, block-built criss-cross and four-squared with a characteristic smell: We … breathed pure creosote, a common preservative still applied to raw timber. Time has passed; the sleepers have proved to be ideal for the garden, laid and landscaped in a kerb/… half skirting, half stockade, overtaken by the garden growth, perhaps, but ever strong and weathered: bulwark bleached in sun and rain/ And the washed gravel […read more….]