The Forge

Imagery?s Effect On Poetry
Imagery is perhaps the most important tool that a writer must possess to be considered great. Imagery may be defined as the representation through language of sense experience (Arp, 607). This means that anything written that can be related to one of our senses, for example taste or smell.
Seamus Heaney?s "The Forge" supplies us with numerous examples of imagery touching on many of our senses. The imagery in this poem touches on so many of our senses that I find it somewhat more confusing than helpful. He touches on so many senses putting a blurred picture into my mind rather than a crisp clear picture. I will, however, do my best to interpret this piece of work.
Heaney appeals, for the most part, to two of our senses, sight and olfactory. He describes how things look and sound.
Heaney only tells briefly of how something looks or sounds. Then our imagination takes this and forms a recollection of something similar that we have seen. Everyone has seen a rusting iron hoop or an axle and that is why Heaney mentions them here. We are meant to picture a quaint house perhaps a farmhouse with these items outside leaning against an old garage. The old rusting hoops and axles is how the narrator pictures himself.
Heaney writes "The hammered anvil?s short-pitched ring" (Heaney, 612). This makes me think of an old alarm clock that has to be wound twice a day to ensure proper operation. The anvil is the drive telling the man his time may be almost up. Due to this drive he is searching for what it means to truly live.
The man has come to realize that life is unpredictable like a "fantail of sparks, or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water" (Heaney, 613). Heaney includes this line because the man is looking back on his life and much is simply repetition and we live for the sparks or fleeting moments. I think the new shoe toughening in water represents new knowledge that we strive to acquire in life.
The remainder of this poem describes the anvil. The anvil is everything about the man, his actions, attitude, and life. The person either dies or becomes an adult at the end of the poem. "The grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick, to beat real iron out, to work the bellows" (Heaney, 613). I believe these final two lines signify the end of the man?s life because it sounds as though the iron anvil is being destroyed, or is becoming an adult as the iron anvil is being formed into something more important and valuable.
All in all I believe the narrator described what drives us and makes us act the way we do. I also believe the man dies in the end. There are many points that I am unsure of like the ending. I am unsure if the person dies or grows up. Nevertheless I think this is perhaps the best poem I have read.

Works Cited

Arp, Thomas R. "Perrine?s Literature Structure, Sound, and Sense." Harcourt Brace and
Company: Fort Worth. 1998. pp. 607.

Seamus, Heaney. "The Forge." Harcourt Brace and Company: Fort Worth. 1998.
pp. 612 ?613.