Seamus Heaney - The Early Purges - Poetry Analysis

The Early Purges

The Early Purges The title uses an epithet appropriate to totalitarian politics where ‘purges’ ruthlessly removed elements deemed ‘undesirable’ by those in power. Heaney applies it to the cruel realities of farm-yard life as he experienced them as a six-year-old with the contingent mental anxiety it caused him. Experience has brought albeit reluctant acceptance of a different reality. Of course ultimately Heaney will leave farming behind; end of ethical dilemma. Dan Taggart was the uncompromising agent of totalitarian policy, his rôle to despatch ‘pests, here drown kittens. Insulting his victims beforehand as ‘scraggy wee shits’ went somehow hand-in-hand with his acts. In contrast the young watcher’s naturally compassionate nature records only their vulnerability, their impotence and the ease with which their life is snuffed out: frail metal sound,/ Soft paws scraping like mad, a tiny din … soon soused. Dan, the ideologue, claims the kittens are better off dead; the […read more….]