Forge by Seamus Heaney is a poem that celebrates the work of blacksmiths. The speaker in the poem describes the forge as a place where “the anvil rang / Repeated blows” and “the sparks flew up like bees.” Heaney’s use of sound and imagery creates a sense of the forge as a place of intense activity and heat.
The poem begins with a description of the forge itself, which is set in a rural location. The blacksmiths are described as working hard, their muscles straining as they hammer out metal. There is a sense of the strength and power required to do this work. The forge is also described as being full of heat and light, with the sparks flying up into the air.
The speaker then goes on to describe the work of the blacksmiths in more detail. He describes how they shape the metal, using their hands and tools to create objects that will be used in everyday life. The blacksmiths are shown to be skilled workers, who have a deep understanding of their craft.
The poem ends with a sense of awe and respect for the blacksmiths and their work. The speaker describes them as being “men like themselves,” but who have the ability to create something from nothing. This is seen as a metaphor for the creative power of the human imagination. Forge by Seamus Heaney is a poem that celebrates the work of blacksmiths and the power of the human imagination.
The poem’s eponymous hero is a blacksmith. The contrast between the dark, older period of his job and the outside, contemporary world in which his skills are no longer recognized and regarded represents the line. A blacksmith’s image and the nature of his work are used throughout the poem. He has been at it for years, according to the phrase “old axles and iron hoops.”
The Forge is a place where metal is heated and shaped by hammering. It is a place of intense heat, of flaming fire and white-hot iron. In the poem, the forge is also a place of blackness, of soot and smoke. The smith’s face is blackened by the smoke, and his hands are covered in soot.
Even the lightbulb in the forge is shrouded in soot. This image of darkness contrasts with the image of light at the end of the poem, when the door of the forge is opened and “the sunlight blazed” in. The light represents the outside world, which seems far away from the dark world of the forge.
The previous line describes how the old and outdated tools are outside, useless, and obsolete. In this line, on the other hand, it is stated that while work in the blacksmith’s workshop continues despite the fact that the old and once trusted instruments are no longer in use. Their efforts do not cease when new technology emerge and changes in culture occur. “The unpredictable fantail of sparks” refers to how long the black smith has been at work.
The sparks are a metaphor for the years of experience he has. The Forge is also a place where “Anvil and hammer” sing. This means that even though the Forge is old, it is still a happy and welcoming place. There is a lot of history in the Forge and Heaney wants us to know that even though times have changed, some things will always stay the same.
Being a blacksmith entails certain skills. For example, when the sparks fly. The sparks may be interpreted as implying there are simply too many of them. This might also be shown in the context of his life as a blacksmith, which is endless and unpredictable. This line captures how something new entering the blacksmith shop doesn’t mix in well with all of the other things hanging on hooks inside it.
The example Heaney uses is a horseshoe. When it’s new, it doesn’t quite have its place yet and is still out of sorts. The clanging also has a new sound to it which sounds off in comparison to the rest of the Forge. However, over time as the horseshoe is worked on, it starts to take shape and find its rightful place within the Forge.
The same can be said for Heaney in his life as he started off not knowing where he belonged but eventually found his place in writing. The poem ends with Heaney saying how the Forge will always be there waiting for him, even when he retires from being a blacksmith. It’s almost as if the Forge is a part of him and he’s a part of the Forge.
The shop’s decor has not been modified to match the new theme. The image of putting a hot horseshoe in cold water, followed by steaming as the cool water hits the heated steel, is shown here. The hiss of the water was described using sound. It uses sound to tell the reader in his natural environment and action he is performing. Because he later refers to it as an “altar,” it reflects on how highly he regards it, since he calls it an “altar.”
The Forge is a very sensory poem, Heaney uses lots of different techniques to engage the reader.
Heaney also uses light and dark in this poem, to create an image. The idea of the forge being “glowing” creates a warm feeling, making the reader feel comfortable. It also makes the Forge seem like a safe place, which again links to the idea of the anvil being an altar, as it is a place of safety. The use of light also makes the Forge seem like a welcoming place, which contrasts with the cold outside. This could be seen as Heaney’s way of saying that even though the Forge is a hot and dangerous place, it is still a better place than the cold world outside.
The Forge is a poem about change, but it is also about constancy. The Forge is a place of change, where iron is changed into horseshoes, but it is also a place where the blacksmith remains the same. He is a “constant man” who lives in “a world of transformation”. The fact that the blacksmith does not change shows that he is comfortable with the changes that take place around him. He is able to adapt to the changing world, and this is what makes him a good blacksmith.
Heaney uses the Forge as a metaphor for Ireland, and the blacksmith as a metaphor for the Irish people. The Forge represents Ireland as a country that is constantly changing, but it is also a place of constancy. The blacksmith represents the Irish people as a people who are able to adapt to change. This is Heaney’s way of saying that the Irish people are a good people, who are able to cope with change.