Unseen Poetry Sample Answer – ‘Seed’ by Paula Meehan (2010 exam) Part I

Author: Dan Keating/29 November 2017/Categories: Leaving Cert, English

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Paula Meehan - Seed Sample Answer

Unseen Poetry Sample Answer – ‘Seed’ by Paula Meehan (2010 exam) Part I

1.   (a)  What in your view is the mood of this poem? Explain briefly how it is conveyed.

Make reference to the text in support of your answer.  (10)


Overall, the mood of this poem is one of hope and optimism. Despite the initial gloom and sorrow, ‘Seed’ develops into a poem of beauty that speaks to the power of hope and positivity. 

In its opening lines, Meehan’s narrator says, ‘I step out into the garden from the gloom of a house where hope had died and tally the storm damage.’ At this juncture, the tone and mood is somewhat dark; it’s suggested that not everything has survived the storm.

However, the narrator’s discovery of some ‘forgotten lupins’ excites and inspires the poet and her tone changes to a more hopeful and thankful one, thus changing the mood overall.

Then the narrator says, ‘I am suddenly grateful and would offer a prayer if I believed in God, but not believing, I bless the power of the seed.’ From these lines we infer that it doesn’t matter whether the narrator, nor even Meehan herself, is religious because they recognise the ‘power of the seed’ and praise its endless abilities.

Related: SEC Marking Schemes Translated (Paper II, Poetry)

In my mind, a seed conjures an image of growth and fertility, and of new beginnings and hope; and even though the narrator doesn’t find solace in religion, they recognise and appreciate the power of nature.

Overall, the arrival of the seed means that ‘the winter’s ended,’ and this is an extremely important message. It not only expresses the wonder of the seed as a means of new beginnings but underscores the hopeful, positive and optimistic mood of the poem.

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