Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Blackberry Picking and Death of a Naturalist By Seamus Heaney These 2 poems present a child personal experience/opinion/impression of the aspects of country life/the natural world. These poems show how a child's thinking and feelings can be affected/change.

In Death of a Naturalist, Heaney describes the setting of a flax dam. The boy in the poem has a fascination for nature and enjoys collecting frogspawn in jars, which he takes home and to school: "But best of all was the warm thick slobber Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water In the shade of banks" The environment in which the boy collects the frogspawn is described using vivid imagery and onomatopoeia to create an appealing and attractive scene to the boy: "Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell" The 1st stanza ends abruptly, signalling a change of mood in the poem. One day when the boy Amies at the flax dam, he's horrified to find/discover sand and slights, which revolt him.

No longer does he find harmless tadpoles but "gross belled frogs"; "great slimed kings", sitting "poised like mud grenades".

These images help the reader to understand the drama, which introduced into the scene. This metaphorical "slime kings" are "gathered there for vengeance" and present a dangerous, evil picture.

In Blackberry Picking, Heaney develops his ideas in a similar way. The poem also deals with a child's impression of a popular activity in the countryside.

To bring this scene to life. Heaney uses lively and vivid imagery to describe this event. "Summer's blood' is a violent personification to describe the juice of the berries. This idea continues with the blackberries "˜burning like a plate of eyes?" This simile is repeated with the idea of palms "sticky as Bluebeards" Blood and lustrate the themes of the 1st section of the poem.

The mood of this poem changes too. The pleasure and excitement of the harvesting of the berries quickly give way to disgust and bathing as the cache of berries is consumed by "rat-grey fungus". This means the metaphor is effective because of the universal disgust people feel for rats.

The idea of "stinking" and "rot" relace the sweetness of the early berries, whose "flesh was sweet Like thickened wine" Heaney uses imagery very successfully in these poems. He's able to use it to show colourful country scenes as well as important moments in childhood experiences.