Seamus Heaney: "Punishment"

(1842 words)

Collected in Seamus Heaney’s fifth poetry collection entitled North, “Punishment” is one of its most moving and reflective pieces. Although Heaney has removed all trace of historical and geographical exactitude for the sake of universality and intimacy with the subject, the poem was in fact inspired by P. V. Glob’s book The Bog People (1970), an anthropological study of recently unearthed Iron Age bog bodies found in various parts of Northern Europe.

Published in 1975, “Punishment” responded to research surrounding the discovery of the mummy known as Windeby I, also called the Windeby Girl, disinterred from a peat bog in Northern Germany in 1952. The Windeby Girl was initially …

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Martiny, Erik. ""Punishment"". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 March 2013
[, accessed 07 October 2015.]