Seamus Heaney - The Harrow-Pin - Poetry Analysis

The Harrow-Pin

The Harrow-Pin   The first of three ‘workshop’ poems paints the character portrait of a local blacksmith, perhaps even the Barney Devlin of ‘Midnight Anvil’, recalling initially his finger-wagging influence on the rural child-audience that thronged his workshop (and we believed him), A hard man to please, the blacksmith offers his version of the annual warning that Santa Claus only visits good children. The naughty ones get only an old kale stick, a perishable vegetable; he considers this feeble punishment (an admonition) compared with his symbol of ‘real’ chastisement – the solid, metal harrow-pin, correction’s veriest unit.. The pin’s qualities are listed: it is blacksmith-produced, a Head-banged spike with the sharpness of a tooth: forged fang; a true dead ringer/ Out of a harder time. Heaney is making a dual suggestion: the pin resembles a thousand others; its ringing sound and dead weight when dropped somehow recall leaner times. The […read more….]