Bogland Study Guide

"Bogland" appears in Seamus Heaney's second collection of poetry, Door Into The Dark (1969), which details Heaney's rural upbringing. "Bogland" is the final poem in the book, which is written with a great deal of attention devoted to evoking sensation; this voice would become Heaney's trademark, and the writing in this collection, with all its clarity and deftness, showed remarkable development compared to Heaney's first collection from three years earlier, Death of a Naturalist.

This poem is not told from one specific perspective; instead the speaker seems to represent the nation as a collective, referring to Ireland as "our unfenced country." This is an interesting choice, given the religious, economic, and social divisions the country has famously suffered from. The poem works to suggest that Ireland, due at least in part to its geological makeup, preserves the past but limits the possibilities for the future. This point should not be taken literally, but it appears to speak to the speaker's relationship to the past within Ireland.