In this essay I will be discussing the idea of time in the poems, Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare and Blackberry Picking, Seamus Heaney.
Shakespeare first introduces the idea of time in ‘Sonnet 18’ with the words,
‘Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May’
The pretty buds that bloom in spring are blown off the trees by the ‘the rough winds ’ which the summer often brings. With the passage of time and seasons, the buds’ beauty is destroyed. Shakespeare has personified the buds as being ‘darling’ which suggests that they are delicate and to be cherished but instead their beauty is ruined by the ravages of the next season’s weather
Also, in ‘Blackberry Picking’ Heaney immediately introduces the idea of time with the first two words of his poem,
‘Late August ‘
Heaney signals to the reader that all the events in the poem are leading on from this time of the year. Time is going to play an important role in the poem
So we see that these poets both start by informing the reader that they will be discussing the idea of time and its effects.
Shakespeare continues to say that summer does not last long enough.
‘And summer’s lease hath all too short a date’
He uses ‘summer’ as a metaphor for ‘life’ itself. By using the word ‘lease’ Shakespeare suggests that life is borrowed not owned: we still have a saying,’ living on borrowed time.’ Shakespeare however refuses to accept that summer comes again every year. With the metaphor of summer he is taking a very narrow view of time.
Heaney chooses the blackberries as his metaphor for life. He describes the first blackberry as a,
‘Glossy purple clot’
The assonance in ‘glossy’ and ‘clot’ makes the description much more vivid and the word ‘clot’ reminds the reader of blood, a motif which runs throughout the poem. In this case the blackberry is at its very beginnings and brings to mind a baby’s birth which includes the delivery of the afterbirth which is ‘glossy’ and ‘clotted’ like the blackberry.
Time is still...