A Dog Was Crying To-Night in Wicklow Also

The Nigerian fable told in this poem is about man trying to overcome death, but realizing that it is a force outside his control. Seamus Heaney also lived in Wicklow, which could indicate that the fable is an extended metaphor for his own recognition and fear of death. This poem had the same feeling as the myths and fables my parents used to read to me before bed, so I tried to convey that as I read aloud. The verses are long and the lines seem to amble. At first glance, the poem does not seem to have any rhythm, but when preparing for the oral reading, I could identify a slight foot in some lines. However, it does not stay consistent, so instead, I tried putting weight on the descriptive words to give more attention to the metaphors and images used in the poem. One of my favorite parts of this poem was the ending, where a few of the main images of the poem were repeated. One of my least favorite things about poetry is the inconclusive nature of many poems, but this reminder of the toad and the dog satisfied my desire for closure. Presenting in front of the class was much harder than I anticipated, and I realized that since I focused on a closer reading of the structural components and metaphors, it would have been nice to know a little more background on the fable itself. 

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One thought on “A Dog Was Crying To-Night in Wicklow Also

  1. Hi, Adrian. You read the poem very clearly and at a consistent pace. The conversational style worked well and, as you said, sounded like the informal way one might recount a legend. At the same time, I wondered if you might vary your pitch some more to emphasize important points. (What effect might the parentheses have had on an oral reading?) You had a lot of clever ideas about what the myth or allegory means, as well as the strange transposition to Ireland in the title. I wished you would say more about the dog as a figure for the poet: what would it mean that the dog gets distracted by another dog, or that it’s the toad who finally (mis-)delivers the message? I agree that the convergence of the images at the end adds closure, even as some unease remains in the last sentence fragment.

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