The poem "Thatcher" by Seamus Heaney is taken from a collection of the "Door into the Dark". At first glance, this poem is about a man coming to fix a thatch roof. The text is divided into four stanzas with four lines each. The first two stanzas carry an enjambment into the third to accentuate the progression and development of the thatcher's work; and the fourth brings a conclusion to the poem signifying the thatching being complete. On a closer analysis, Heaney is describing the process of writing poetry: the process of unravelling of thoughts and experiences within himself. The thatcher is Heaney and through the use of straw he describes the way he writes his poetry: preparing and assembling each thought and idea and putting them first into words, then into a sentence, finally to make a poem. .
In the first stanza, Heaney describes the thatcher getting ready to fix the roof. He arrives unexpectedly with few tools as necessities. He seems calm and collected, as he examines the old thatch. This stanza relates to how Heaney unexpectedly gets an idea and the preparations he takes to set himself down to work - the assessing and arranging of his ideas.
This process is continued in the second stanza. Heaney provides the reader with a more detailed description of the thatcher's actions. Just as the thatcher gets his tools ready, so does Heaney assemble his equipment such as pen, paper and thoughts.
The third stanza goes into more detail as the thatcher starts on his work and Heaney on his structuring the poem. The poet chooses his words with care and precision to express exactly what he feels. Just as the thatcher meticulously prepares each straw, snipping it and sharpening rods so does Heaney as he chooses each word. The final line of the third stanza sums up the entire process of writing a poem. It is a minute glance into the life and world of a complex human being, a scrupulous, almost exhausting process as Heaney pins "down his world, handful by handful" (l.