This piece of coursework I am going to write will be a comparison between two poems called ‘The road not taken’ which is a poem written by Robert Frost and a poem called ‘Digging’ which is written by an extremely well established poet named Seamus Heaney. Heaney was born on April 13th 1939 and was born in Dublin. He is a multi-award winning poet with awards like the T.S Eliot prize and the Nobel Prize in literature under his belt. He was also the Harvard and Oxford professor of poetry. His poetry offers an insight into his personal, past experiences, which is what many of his poems are based on. Even though he was brought up on a farm in County Derry, he has left the agricultural part of his life behind and devoted it to an academic one. In addition, Robert Frost was an American poet who was born on March 26th 1874. He was educated at Dartmouth college and Harvard university. He became a schoolmaster for a short time and then a farm labourer. He often depicted rural life in his poetry and his work often featured settings from rural life in New England. Frost has also received many awards for his poetry which include four Pulitzer prizes for poetry.
The more popular interpretations about ‘The road not taken’ are that it is a poem based on personal choices and rationalizing our own decisions, whether with pride or with regret. The title is interesting because it focuses on opportunities missed rather than opportunities taken. It suggests the poem might be one of regret. Heaneys’ poem ‘Digging’ is based on his past experiences of growing up on a farm and remembering his father and grandfather digging peat and flower beds. He states he cannot match ‘men like them’ himself with a spade, although believes that for him a pen is mightier and with it he will dig into his past and celebrate his memories. In his poem he also opposes the stereotype of men with spades. Although the stereotype may contain some truth, as Irishmen are well known for digging, he tries to show the skill and dignity involved in their labour. Both frost and Heaney enjoy using colloquial language within their poems; they are both renowned for this. An example of this in ‘Digging’ would be ‘by god, the old man could handle a spade’. Frost is arguably most successful for his poetry due to the general clarity and use of colloquial in his poetry. It is this accessibility and simplicity that has made his poetry so appealing to so many readers for decades.
... few different lines, especially at the end of the poem. Frost writes, 'Then leaf subsides to leaf / So Eden ... the budding green plant described in Frost's poem. It is almost as if Frost is telling the story of ... sense to it, but the author of this poem, Robert Frost, does not try to make the same connection ... / But only so an hour'. When babies are born they are pure and beautiful like a freshly bloomed ...
The road not taken follows a regular rhyme scheme of ABAAB throughout and has four even stanzas. His poem is more structured and traditional than Digging. Frost does not use half rhyme whilst Heaney does, although they both use enjambment. There is a more conversational feel despite the conventional full rhyme in frosts poem. Frost also takes this more naturalistic approach to the rhythm of his poem which centres around an eight beat rhythm rather than the more common ten beat rhythm called iambic pentameter. Instead he employs this eight beat rhythm on occasional lines to build anticipation. On the other hand, Digging is made up of nine uneven stanzas and two couplets. It has no consistent rhyme scheme although has some rhymes like ‘thumb’ and ‘gun’, ‘sound’, ‘ground’ and ‘down’ in the second stanza. The poem ends as it begins, but only at the end the writer’s pen is seen as a weapon for digging. He uses enjambment and prefers a looser structure to his poetry, which makes it naturalistic. Heaney adopts the use of half rhyme although occasionally uses full rhyme for emphasis. His poems are very accessible in language, style and content.
... himself of which road is the better choice. Frost wrote this poem using standard, modern language. In line one Frost introduces the diverging roads, which are ... means used by Frost to convey the poems message. "The Road Not Taken', follows an a, b, a, a, b rhyme patter which is ... consistent through out the poem. Its ...
Both poems are written from personal experiences, which is evident in the language. In the road not taken, the phrase ‘ long I stood’ depicts the reluctance to accept our limitations. The two roads are a metaphor for choices in life, and in this way Frosts work resembles Heaney with its use of the extended metaphor. In both poems they focus on childhood memory and appear auto-biographical. They both use colloquial language like ‘sod’, ‘scraggy wee shits’ and ‘ages and ages’.
In digging Heaney uses enjambment which makes it more naturalistic. his poem involves difficulties that need faced like adjusting to rural life and finding his own vocation. His poems are usually ambiguous, as they are open to a number of readings. He uses language of precision and skill to describe the work done by the men on the farm. He also uses juxtaposition in his poem, which refers to past and present and how things take time to change. “Used to nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods/Over his shoulder.” Moreover, the poem includes alliteration, metaphor, hyperbole, similes and personification in it.
Frosts poem also includes some poetic devices. He uses assonance to give it a soft and mellow tone. He liked to use language as it was spoken so his poetic devices aren’t as obvious for example he uses alliteration ‘wanted where’ and ‘lay in leaves’. Sibilance is used in verse 2, and throughout the poem uses a repetition of ‘way’. In his final stanza he mentions a ‘sigh’. This could be a sigh of regret or a sigh of satisfaction. This ambiguity is typical of frosts poetry, as it is in Heaneys. Although the poem may seem simplistic, it arouses more questions than it answers. There are two ways to interprete the ending of the poem, one is that he took the road less travelled and acted as an individual, and this has made a difference to his life. Although in stark contrast, the more common way of interpreting the ending is that he didn’t really take the road less travelled as they were both used in the same amount. He raises the question about how much difference choices really do make in our lives.