Embers Eavan Boland

By: Miranda & Adrienne
•Whin-path: a place in Blackburn, a rapidly growing commuter
town. that is located near Aberdeen, Scotland
•Wretched: very unfortunate in condition or circumstances;
miserable; pitiable.
•Fianna: small, semi-independent warrior bands in Irish
mythology and Scottish mythology (also known as the Fenians)
•Spurned: to reject with disdain; scorn
•Haggard: having an exhausted apperance, as from prolonged
suffering, exertion or anxiety
•Peat: a highly organic material found in marshy or damp
regions, composed of partially decayed vegetable matter: it is
cut and dried for use as fuel.
•Burnished: gloss; brightness; luster
is a son of Donn and a warrior of the Fianna in the Fenian Cycle of irish mythology. He is
most famous as the lover of Grainne, the intended wife of Fianna leader Fionn mac
Cumhail. Aengus is Diarmuid's foster-father and protector. Aengus owned a sword
named Moralltach. He gave this sword to his foster-son Diarmuid. There was also a
sword named the Little Fury and two spears of great power that he gave to Diarmuid,
that could inflict wound that none can recover from.
Diarmuid, while hunting one night, met a woman who was the personification of youth.
After sleeping with him she put a magical love spot on his forehead; any woman that
looked at the love spot fell instantly in love with him.
Gráinne, intended bride of Fionn mac Cumhail, fell in love with Diarmuid when she saw
him in the wedding party. She laid a spell upon him to run off with her, with their long
flight from Fionn aided by Aengus.
Eventually, Fionn pardons Diarmuid after Aengus intercedes on their behalf; the pair
settle in Kerry and produce five children. Years later, however, Fionn invited Diarmuid
on a boar hunt, and Diarmuid was badly gored by a giant boar. Water drunk from
Fionn's hands had the power of healing, but when Fionn gathered water he would
deliberately let it run through his fingers before he could bring it to Diarmuid. He had
to be threatened by his son Oisin and grandson Oscar to play fair, but too late:
Diarmuid had died. After Diarmuids death, Aengus took his body back to the Brugh
(town) where he breathed life into it whenever he wanted to have a chat.
Blue: Words of rejection or destruction
Green: Repetition
Orange: Relation back to title
*: When she is talking to us or someone,
just not herself
Purple: Vocabulary
One night in
winter when a
bitter frost
made the whinpaths crack
a wretched
woman, eyes
staring, hair in
came to the place
where the Fianna
*Your face is
made of
shadow. *You
are reading.
There is heat
from the fire
still. I am
She asked every
one of them in
to take her to his
bed, to shelter her
with his body.
Each one looked
at her – she was
old beyond her
Each one refused
her, each spurned
her, except
When he woke
in the morning
she was young
and beautiful.
And she was his,
forever, but on
one condition.
He could not say
that she had
once been old
and haggard.
He could not say
that she had
ever … here I
look up.
*You are
*You have
no interest
in this.
I made fire from
the first peat of
*Look at me in
the last,
burnished light
of it.
Tell me that
*you feel the
warmth still.
Tell me *you will
never speak
about the
•This poem is like Boland’s other works, such as “The
Pomegranate”, because it is about a women and a struggle
within her.
•Speaker: Boland herself
Line 5 & 6 “…You are reading. [...] I am reading.”
Narrator and 2nd Person perspectives
•S&S: a broken love story, one of secrets, hope, and “keeping
the flame lit”
•Audience: the “significant other” or love interest
•Structure: 6 stanzas, 424414
•Puzzling Lines:
•5&6 - first time Boland speaks directly in 2nd person to us – why is
she addressing us in the middle of her story? – who is “you”??
•14&15 – she does not finish her story and blames the reader, or
infamous “you” of having no interest – very random and a jump to
a conclusion
•16-19 - this stanza she relates the story just told to something
she is going through, possibly a relationship with someone, asking
them if they still feel the same way about the relationship as of
prior to this moment and to keep some kind of secret
•Boland longing for a lost love back
Winter fire concept – Line 16 “I made this fire from the first
peat of winter.” – began seeking when winter began
•Beauty and the Beast

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