Helleman books

Book four page 21


Three excellent appropriations follow that take the values expressed in Seamus Heaney's poem Punishment, Funeral Rites and Personal Helicon and translate them into a different context.

Read each of them in conjunction with the original poem. Consider as you read these appropriations how they represent the ways of thinking expressed in the original poems and to what extent the add new ideas.

Heaney's poem Punishment is both provocative and challenging. He exposes his reader to powerful images that make us question our own views on punishment and whether we would have stood dumb in the face of what would be viewed as barbaric punishment in the 21st century. Nothing is ever black and white and the reader is forced to consider a different regime, where setting a moral standard was a part of the natural order. The following appropriation captures the emotions, in an entirely different setting and is equally thought provoking.

Consider how this poet has translated Heaney's idea into a modern context.

Charmaine Is Gone

I can feel the prick
Of the needle to the skin
On her wrist, the blood
in her thirsty veins.

It drains her meaning
To deeper sewers,
It spreads the soft skin
But seals the angst.

I can hear her limp
Body in the bed,
His heavy drone,
The driving rods and bones.


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Copyright Babs Helleman 2013