One of his later works is named “Requiem for the Croppies.” This sonnet very sharply contrasts the previous poem; this follows a soldier in a time of terrible war. Once again Heaney creates a very vivid image of the soldier’s surroundings and experience. However, there is a special term used for these brave men, “a "croppy," as the young 1798 uprisers were called, due to their short-cropped hair” (Romer). Notes of panic and stealth appear in the first lines when describing the men almost sneaking through their own country. The narrator even describes priests hiding behind the men in trenches waiting to bless those who were soon to die; this foreshadows events that will happen later on.
War is unpredictable and unforgiving and it always will be. The events that happen on Vinegar Hill should hold testament to that. Heaney describes these aspects of war when he writes, We found new tactics happening each day:
We’d cut through reins and rider with the pike
And stampede cattle into infantry,
Then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown.
Until… on Vinegar Hill… the final conclave.
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August… the barley grew up out of our grave. ()
Death greets many people at that final battle on that hill. Heaney reminds us that death is relentless and inevitable. The image of a hill camouflaged in blood is seared into the readers mind as