Bogland Poem Summary and Analysis

Seamus Heaney’s Bogland appeared in his (second) poetry collection Door into the Dark (1969) as its last poem. In fact, this poem is a description of the peat bogs (wetlands composed of dead plant matter) covering a large fraction of Ireland’s landscape. In other words:

  • The speaker of Bogland presents the history as well as the landscape of the country (Ireland) through the metaphor of a bottomless bog

Bogland Summary

The speaker of Bogland says that this country (Ireland) does not have prairies; it is: (a) Enclosed as well as Wild (b) Confined, and (c) keeps crusting as well.

The speaker, in stanza three of the poem, mentions a dismantling of history as well as heritage. They not only come undefined into the bog but take the “Great Irish Elk” as well.

He concludes Bogland by saying that no person is going to be able to mine coal there. There is the availability of nothing except:

  • Fallen trees
  • Pioneers 

Digging into the history of Ireland. 

Bogland Form and Structure 

Seamus Heaney divides Bogland into seven stanzas. Each stanza is made of four lines or quatrains. As far as the lines are concerned; they do not conform to a particular rhyming pattern. But, there are moments in the rhyme of the poem as well.

Here, the poet makes use of slant/half rhymes throughout it.  Heaney uses either a vowel or consonant sound within a single line or multiple lines of verse. They are known as assonance or consonance (respectively). 

The poet in his Bogland makes use of scattered examples of rhyme for providing the text with some rhythmic unity, but not get bogged by a special structure. The aforementioned technique differs assurance that:

  • The focus remains on the images as well as their meanings 

Not just that, it speaks to the real complexity of free verse poetry. Such as the words “skeleton” as well as “elk” in stanza two which are connected to vowel sounds that are similar. “Missing” as well as “millions” is one more example in stanza five.

Ques: What poetic techniques does Seamus Heaney in his poem Bogland?

Ans: The poem uses (a) Alliteration (b) Enjambment, as well as (c) Juxtaposition in Bogland.

Ques: What are the themes of Bogland?

Ans: Bogland deals with the themes of Irish Landscape as well as National Identity.

Ques: What is Cyclops in the poem Bogland?

Ans: Actually, the Cyclops is not (exactly) a character in Bogland. Because its eye is used as a metaphor for a small mountain lake. But, it is noteworthy that its presence casts a mythological shadow over this short poem by Seamus Heaney.

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