Depiction of Human and Natural Worlds in the Poems Mid- Term Break and Travelling Through the Dark

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

“Mid- Term Break” by Seamus Heaney” and “Travelling Through the Dark” by William E. Stanford these two poems are emotionally packed with the human and natural world. Both the poems have a similarity of life and death which means life is related to our human world and death is related to our natural world because after death we are buried into nature. In the poem of “Mid-Term Break” Heaney shares about an incident of Heaney’s life. It is about him and his family heartbroken from the tragic death of his younger brother. And in the poem “Travelling Through the Dark” is about the death of the deer and its alive, still, never to be born fawn. Stanford has no idea what to do with the animal, a one-man choice to decide whether to move the deer to a side to avoid further accidents or leave the deer in the same place. In this case, a vehicle hit the deer and it was dead with the human attack of the wilderness, and with the individual’s responsibility to do what is right.

Heaney gives a brief explanation of each stanza of the poem, how people reacted to Heaney’s family situation. The title, “Mid-Term Break”, we imagine this to be a happy poem as it specifies a holiday but later in reading this poem, we realized that this is not a happy poem about a young boy’s holiday. In the first stanza, the word “all” implies that the anxiety he was undergoing while waiting for his neighbor to pick him up from boarding school. In the second stanza Heaney’s father “had always taken funerals in his stride”, meaning that he was used to death. But this incident had given a massive shock to his father and he was not able to console his father.

In the third and fourth stanza, “I was embarrassed by old men standing up to shake my hand and tell me they were “sorry for my troubles” whispers informed strangers”. Heaney clearly states that when he enters his home, his first emotion is an embarrassment because of handshaking received from the old men who do not really know how Heaney feels or how they themselves should react. The emotion of embarrassment is uncommon for a young boy of Heaney’s age to experience at this time for his brother has just died and most people would be disappointed and miserable. In supplement to this humiliation, in a very quiet atmosphere, Heaney noticed that strangers were whispering about him which made him felt very uncomfortable. In the fifth stanza, “the ambulance arrived with the corpse” when the day has passed and night falls, the child’s body is returned home, however, Heaney sees this as a “corpse” and not a person. This, therefore, proves that Heaney has not come to terms yet with the fact that he has lost his brother forever which strains how heartbreaking the situation was. Heaney ends the poem with a single sentence saying, “A four-foot box, a foot for every year” describing the life of the victim in years. It reminds us that God gave us life only for a small period, but it is challenging for the family and relatives because the grieving process that must certainly follow.

In this poem, “Traveling Through the Dark” Stafford describes the sight of seeing a death of a pregnant doe along the side of a Wilson River road when he was driving a car along the mountain road at night. The road was narrow. So, he thought it was best for the deer to move into the gorges formed by the river. He stopped his car and moved back to see the deer. She was a doe and she had recently been killed. Her body was already stiff and almost cold. He pulled her heavy body to the side. Her belly was large. It made him think that she was pregnant, and her fawn was waiting inside. Although it was alive, it would never be born. He was disappointed and was reluctant because he was not able to do anything. The parking lights of the car were on and the engine was making a low constant sound as if it was uttering its desire. The drain emission of smoke was warm and red. He felt as if the cry in the wilderness was being heard. The last two lines of the poem complete both types of action: mental and physical. As he thinks hard on behalf of the nature lovers, he concludes that the right place for the doe is the river. Then he throws the dead body into the river. The last two lines of the poem try to solve the problem of environmental damage. Instead of worrying about the problem, one must accept the things as they are. Or the poet may be mocking that the nature-lovers are responsible for the environmental damage.

Though both the poem has a certain unpleasantness, the words and their implication add a sweet feeling of love and awkwardness making the audience feel self-conscious yet showered with bittersweet frozen warmth. This seems to be how the speaker feels during this series of event and therefore the poem makes the readers live through the experience rather than just reading or hearing it. We must respect the both human and nature without life without nature and it is not complete without us.

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