Pure Verb

In Seamus Heaney’s poem “Oysters,” which appears in his 1979 collection, Field Work, the speaker faces an internal conflict in which he relishes in the “perfect memory” of eating oysters with friends while also dealing with the anger and “glut of privilege” that allows him such refined experiences. In the final sentence, as if avoiding the lingering guilt, Heaney writes: “I ate the day / Deliberately, that its tang / Might quicken me all into verb, pure verb.” Write a poem in which a moment of pleasure is met with guilt or shame. Bring both feelings into focus, digging into the complexity of the scene.

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Author: Writing Prompter

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  • July 25, 2022