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Personal Helicon Summary & Analysis
by Seamus Heaney

"Personal Helicon" was written by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney and published in Heaney’s first major collection, Death of a Naturalist, in 1966. Like many of the poems in this collection, "Personal Helicon" draws on Heaney’s experiences growing up in rural Northern Ireland. The poem's speaker (usually understood to be Heaney himself) describes the joy, wonder, and curiosity he felt while exploring old wells and water pumps as a child. "Helicon" refers to a mountain in Greece that, in ancient mythology, was home to two sacred springs deemed the source of poetic inspiration. The poem suggests that the speaker's childhood experiences became the source of his own poetic inspiration—his own "Helicon."

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