A personal response Thomas Kinsella

Topics: CulturePoetry

Thomas Kinsella is a poet that is very aware of transience. He also shows me through his poetry that the things we remember as children take on a different meaning when we are older and also that when someone passes away, we also look at the memories of that person in a different way. His poetry has a harsh outlook on aging, getting old and even gaining knowledge to a degree, however he is not all doom and gloom (as we see in ‘Model school, Inchichore’ and ‘Dick King’), he can also take a positive view on things, even death!

My favourite aspect of his poetry is the way he can show you a new perspective while still using simple, everyday language for the most part.

Sometimes, his poems can be read in a number of different ways! Kinsella is unique from other poets in the fact that he was influenced by theories of Carl Jung. No other poet I have studied on the leaving cert course that uses outside inspiration as strongly.

He also writes a good deal about people in his life, or who were in his life, in his poetry and I think that stands to him as a person.

It shows that even in his work, he thinks about those who mean a lot to him. A poem that has a very strong sense of transience is ‘Mirror in February’. The poet has an epiphany while shaving in the mirror one day. He realizes that he is the same age as Jesus when he died,”reach the age of Christ”, but yet the poet has not accomplished his life’s mission.

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To me, it seems as if the poet obsesses over his age and the fear of growing old “for they are not made whole”.

Kinsella is jealous of the trees because they get “hacked clean for better bearing” and return again during the Spring, whereas Kinsella cannot just be renewed. When he ages, the years stay with him, “how should the flesh not quail that span for span is mutilated more? “. We can tell that Kinsella is not happy with the idea of himself growing old, while the trees stay seemingly ageless, “In slow distaste”. This poem gives me a good insight of the feelings that I’m sure many of the adults in my life have experienced at some stage in their lives, and feelings that, I am sure, I will face in time.

It has also shown me that although aging is inevitably a part of life, I can go about it in two ways. I can deny it for as long as I can before I have to accept the it, or I can do what Kinsella does in this poem, which I much prefer, and just accept it as part of life. “I fold my towel…. not young and not renewable, but man. ” Kinsella isn’t happy about the fact that he’s aging (and who is? ) but he can accept it and enjoy the time he has left with pride in being who he is, and I like that about him as a person.

The main poem from kinsella’s works that shows transience is ‘His father’s Hands’. This poem is too erratic and long for my liking but I can certainly relate to what he says and this is probably the poem I can relate to most out of all of Kinsellas poems that we have studied throughout the leaving cert course. Things like how his father destroys the point by prodding the air, remind me of my family as my father does the exact same “his fingers prodded and prodded marring his point”.

When my father does it, I too, zone out and start thinking of other things. Kinsella’s grandfather also reminds me of my own. My dad is the spitting image of him, so I often think of my grandfather when I see my dad. This is exactly what Kinsella does as well. “I have watched his father’s hands before him”. My grandfather is also very hard of hearing and near blind, as the grandfather in ‘His father’s hands’ is. “To his deaf, inclined head”. This poem reminds me of my grandfather and for that reason alone, I really like this poem.

However unlike this poem, my grandfather is not an isolated figure, that is looked upon with pity, my grandfather is the life and soul of a party at times and so I can never read this poem and feel the sadness and loneliness that others do, but that is a plus in my eyes. This poem actually inspired me to look back to my roots, and discover more about who my family was before me. “And some years before that the Family came from somewhere around Tullow”. Although the style of the poem isn’t the type I normally like, this poem is very memorable to me and I don’t think I will ever forget it because of the effect it has had on me.

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A personal response Thomas Kinsella. (2017, Oct 28). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-7612-personal-response-thomas-kinsella/

A personal response Thomas Kinsella
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