There are some things you will never forget if you went to school in Ireland, and these poems are up there with the most memorable. Here are the top five famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays.
Ireland is a land rich in literary history, with many famous novelists, playwrights, and poets hailing from the Emerald Isle.
For this reason, schools across Ireland today place a strong focus on the study of literature, which helps us learn more about ourselves and the world around us.
From famous Irish poets such as W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney to English and Americans including William Blake and T.S. Eliot, going to school in Ireland means we are well versed on a wide range of poetry.
So, here are the top five famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays.
5. ‘A Poison Tree’ by William Blake – dealing with anger
Part of his 1794 collection of poems Songs of Experience, ‘A Poison Tree’ by English poet William Blake is one of the most famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays.
Through an extended metaphor of a tree growing in the speaker’s garden, the poem deals with the repression of anger and the consequences of doing so as it develops into a poisonous hatred.
The speaker talks about the anger he felt towards his friend, which when spoken about, he was able to move on from. He then compares this to the anger felt towards his enemy, which grew when he repressed it.
4. ‘The Waste Land’ by T. S. Eliot – one of the most influential poems of the 20th-century
One of the most famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays, ‘The Waste Land’ by T.S. Eliot, is widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th-century, and it deals with several different themes in its five sections.
Some of the themes covered in ‘The Waste Land’ are death and rebirth, the seasons, religion, sexuality, history, and coming to terms with the modern era.
This dramatic monologue shifts between speakers, locations, and times throughout, highlighting the feelings of terror and alienation from modern life in the wake of the First World War.
3. ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley – a message about the transcience of life
When I had to do my paper on this poem, one of the main tasks was remembering how to spell Ozymandias correctly.
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ is another one of the famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays, and it explores themes of power, change, and the strength of nature.
In the poem, a traveller finds a statue of an egotistic Pharoah who believed he would outlive everything and everyone due to his power. The irony of the poem is that he died long ago and was long forgotten until his statue was uncovered.
The poem’s moral message regards the transcience of life, and regardless of power, wealth, or status, we are all human and will all meet the same fate.
2. ‘The Cap and Bells’ by W.B. Yeats – a poem of infatuation
‘The Cap and Bells’ by Irish poet W.B. Yeats is a popular poem choice in Irish schools. This nine stanza poem is about a jester, and its title refers to the cap that he would have worn.
The poem deals with the themes of love and lust as the jester continuously tries to woo the young queen who he has fallen madly in love with despite her numerous rejections of him.
Still, the jester pursues the queen even giving up his cap and bells – which represent his entire existence – for her love. Thus, the poem highlights how people will sometimes be willing to give up their entire existence for the attention and love of another.
1. ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney – a well-known Irish poet
Topping our list of famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays is ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
Heaney’s poetry is a staple in the school curriculum across Ireland, so if you went to an Irish school, you are sure to know at least one of his poems.
One of his most famous, ‘Blackberry Picking’, depicts a seemingly innocent childhood memory of a summer day spent picking blackberries.
However, the poem’s more profound message highlights a young child’s realisation that things will never live up to his high expectations as he expressed his disappointment when he discovered that soon after the blackberries were picked, they would go rotten.
So, ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney is definitely one of the most famous poems all Irish students will remember from school essays.