A constable calls is the second in a sequence of six poems entitled 'singing school' which concludes heaney's fourth collection 'north' (1975) the poem is a vivid description of an incident from the poet's childhood - a policeman making an official visit to his father's farm at mossbawn to record tillage returns. Remembers every detail of it in its holster the tone of the poem is one of fear meanwhile, the constable continues to record the family’s crops heaney’s father answer’s the constable’s questions with curt, one word replies, showing how unwelcome both he and his interrogation are. The constable calls by seamus heaney a constable calls is the second in a sequence of six poems entitled 'singing school' which concludes heaney's fourth collection 'north' (1975) the poem is a vivid description of an incident from the poet's childhood - a policeman making an official visit to his father's farm at mossbawn to record tillage returns.
About “a constable calls” heaney remembers a visit from an english police officer when he was young, who was checking his father’s crops to ensure he was paying proper tax his father, evidently, was hiding crops to avoid paying extra.
Heaney family home would have been a member of the royal irish constabulary and was more than likely protestant the heaney family were catholic the poem shows the distrust and fear felt by catholic families in northern ireland this poem contains nine stanzas, with four lines in each stanza.
The poem gives an impression of an oppressive fear and a sense of guilt associated with that fear guilt and fear are prominent features of the poetry of heaney this poem is an allegory as well the constable is on some investigation a young child is looking at him this is heaney’s childhood experience. Browse the list of poems by scrolling down the page or read the titles of poems or names of poets in the sidebar 'poem titles and poets' then click on the title or poet tuesday, 5 may 2009 a constable calls by seamus heaney click here for a detailed commentary on this poem.
When analysing a poem you always must look for the literal meaning and the metaphorical meaning, this is called an allegory for example when looking at the phrase a shadow bobbed literally we can identify heaney portrays a shadow behind the departing constable, however it is more than this.
The poem 'a constable calls' links in with many of heaney's poems as they all share the theme of childhood memories this includes 'mid-term break', 'digging', ''the early purges', 'blackberry picking' and 'follower. A constable calls combines three important themes in heaney's poetry firstly it is an autobiographical childhood poem that links back to poems like digging and death of a naturalist secondly it's a poem that communicates a moment of epiphany - an experience of intense, powerful and vivid insight, that can be found in poems like sunlight.
A constable calls his bicycle stood at the window-sill, the rubber cowl of a mud-splasher a slanting, angled line in the poem, this happens when the pressure of the rim of the po-liceman’s hat creates a line in his hair the constable cycles off, and the sound it makes is reminiscent of a clock, or of the timer of a bomb. A constable calls his bicycle stood at the window-sill, the rubber cowl of a mud-splasher constable’s questions with curt, one word replies, showing how unwelcome both he and his conflict: the poem describes a rather minor incident, but one which is symbolic of the tension.