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Seamus Heaney's poem

"Mid-Term Break" by Seamus Heaney is assessed:

I sat all morning in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close.

At ten o'clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying -

He had always taken funerals in his stride -

And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram

When I came in, and I was embarrassed

By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'

Whispers informed strangers that I was the eldest,

Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.

At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived

With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops

And candles soothed the bedside I saw him

For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple.

He lay in a four foot box, as in his cot.

No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Solution Preview

I can't tell you whether or not you find it effective. All I can do is present my own ideas. There is no "right" or "wrong" here.

Of course, as I read the poem, the question that ran through my mind throughout was, "Who died?"

Clearly, there was suspense throughout. This is good -- a very useful writing technique that keeps the reader involved ...

Solution Summary

Reader response is given for Seamus Heaney's poem.