Heaney’s exploration of his Irish heritage in all its twists and turns is mightily important to him. The six-poem sequence explores selected lines of connection, correspondence and closeness and the pieces sit in a landscape of which Heaney feels himself very much a part.

In the first 5 poems kinship describes affinity, fellow feelings, at-oneness from the landscape’s beginnings via Celtic myths and rituals to Heaney’s lost domain of mid-Ulster childhood. The sequence’s grim finale acknowledges that, as Heaney composes, the cycles of murder and revenge evident in Northern Ireland in the name of religion and politics are simply the latest version of an earlier inhumanity driven by distant tribal and ritual instincts.


The first piece is triggered by Heaney’s very presence in the peat bogs that abound in Ireland and are a feature of his Mid-Ulster surroundings. In response to a question Heaney revealed how, as a three or four-year-old, he was instructed not to wander from the farm into the bog for fear of tumbling into its ‘bottomless’ pools;

The poet, once local boy, can to read the sacred messages (hieroglyphic) of the turf cutter’s spade left in the trench from which peat has been harvested and left to dry (on a spreadfield). He feels a bond (kinned) with the strangled victim of stone-age ritual sacrifice surrendered by the peat and the alleged reasons for death-sentence (love-nest in the bracken) … at this point the initial percussive beats are heard of a repeated continuo that will reach its climax with the appearance of the pagan goddess at the end of III!

Heaney stands plugged into the inheritance that has contributed to what he is (step through origins) with the instinctual feeling of a restless farmyard dog (turning on the kitchen mat) that cannot fathom it all out (memories of wilderness).

Feeling his careful way across the bogland (rushes and heather) Heaney’s senses are awakened to its dynamic: his feet to the unsteadiness of the ground (bog floor shakes), his ears to the destabilizing sounds of ‘living’ water (cheeps and lisps) both bearing allegorical charge.

Deep affection for his roots is confirmed – the visible (turf-face black incisions), the layered history (cooped secrets) and evidence of past human behaviours (process and ritual) it encloses.

With loving attachment he shows respect for the bog’s lack of solid foundation (spring off the ground), the danger to life, literal and metaphorical, it represents to those unaccustomed to it (each bank a gallow’s drop), the sense of depth (unstopped mouth of an urn) and its voracious night-time appetite (moon-drinker … each pool fathomless from above (not to be sounded by the naked eye).

  • -ship:state of being …’, here ‘closely related’;
  • kin: family, those who share a common inheritance;
  • hieroglyphic: its etymology points to ‘sacred carving’ from Egyptian antiquity; the ancient Egyptian writing and numbering system used glyphs, that is, characters in picture form based on common objects, those who discovered them initially deemed them to be indecipherable; compare Viking ‘runes’;
  • spreadfield: area alongside the peat trench where cuts are left to dry
  • love-nest: place where lovers meet in secret
  • bracken: area of tall fern;
  • origins: moments and times when things began, roots, heritage;
  • wilderness: uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region;
  • cheep: utter a short, squeaky sound;
  • lisp: speech defect based on sibilant sounds;
  • rush: erect tufted waterside plant;
  • incision: surgical-type cut, slit;
  • cooped (up): the idea of confinement in a small space lover a long period;
  • process: steps taken to meet an intention;
  • ritual: action routinely taken in a prescribed order;
  • spring: bounce, bounciness;
  • gallows-drop: void below a scaffold into which a body plummets to its death;
  • unstopped: open, without a stopper;
  • urn: reference to an antique container whose orifice was out of proportion to its depth;; elsewhere Heaney uses layers of peat to represent layers of history;
  • moon-drinker: reflection of the moon that the peat water seems to ingest;
  • sound: here from the Old French sonder, ‘to measure the depth of water using a line’; second suggestion of depth;
  • 6 quatrains; a 2 sentence structure each broken by semi or full colon;
  • line length varies between 3 and 8 syllable; 10 lines enjambed; no rhyme scheme;
  • first person narrator; autobiographical;
  • in stanzas (1) and (2) Heaney picks up and runs with the assonant [ɪ] of the title:
  • Kinship/ kinned/ hieroglyphic/ victim/ origins/ memories/ wilderness; this is flavoured with [i:] peat/ -field; [e] spread/ nest/ step/ memories/ wilderness; alliterative use is made of voiced [g] (from –glyphic to turning) and voiceless [k] velar plosives (from Kinship to kitchen);
  • (3) offers the onomatopoeia of cheeps and lisps with other sibilant [s] sounds; [ɔː] pairs water and walk; the [ɪ] of lisps carries into (4) this/ its/ incisions/ ritual with emergent [k] sounds: shakes/ walk/ black/ cooped;
  • in (4) and (5) Heaney plays with 5 variant vowel (o) sounds: love; cooped/ pool; process; off/ dropped; ground; pool; gallow’s drop; alliterative ‘pop’ of bilabial plosive [p] from cooped to open pool; assonant [æ] bank a gallow’s
  • the [au] of ground re-echoes in (6): mouth/ sounded and the [uː] of pool in moon; presence of nasal consonants [n] [m];


Heaney considers three synonyms (Quagmire, swampland, morass) – none of which do the bog sonic justice.

Between them they conjure up repellent entities (slime kingdoms), unsettling reminders, domains of the cold-blooded amphibians that flourish there or corpses murdered in cold blood deposited there, unappealing textures (mud pads) and life that failed to hatch (dirtied eggs).

But bog – ‘a word – derivation of a history and a psychology’ (NC). Heaney plumps for the Celtic word that meets his emotional requirements: something yielding (meaning soft), with gentle resonance (fall of windless rain offering rich ties with the Baltic sea of Viking myth (pupil of amber a semi-precious orange-yellow resin found practically nowhere else).

‘Bog’ is a healthy ‘living’ entity with its own unceasing feeding system – it chews (ruminant ground) swallows and stores regenerative nutrients (mollusc and seed-pod, deep pollen-bin).

The bog is both store-house for vegetal and animal remains (earth pantry) and ‘sacred’ graveyard (bone vault); it feeds from the sun’s warmth (sun-bank); it preserves (embalmer) dedicated artefacts (votive goods) and mutilated victims (sabred fugitives) alike. The percussive beat increases in intensity – the bog’s greedy appetite (insatiable bride) signals the lustfulness of pagan Nerthus;  it does not discriminate in digesting weaponry (sword-swallower), valuable belongings (casket) and Nature’s detritus (midden).

The bog is a continuum (floe of history), a territory (ground) that (drum beat) will reveal its secrets (strip its dark side, promote regeneration (nesting ground) and feed the outback of the poet’s mind with newly hatching ideas.

  • quagmire, swampland, morass: synonyms for bog;
  • slime: unpleasant slippery substance;
  • pad: fleshy, absorbent patch;
  • bog: c 1500 from Gaelic and Irish ‘bogach’ (adj.) ‘soft’,’moist; A bogis characterized by vegetation, decayed and decaying, and a treacherous softness. A quagmire or quag is the worst kind of bog or slough; it has depths of mud, and perhaps a shaking surface (Century Dictionary);
  • pupil: circular centre of the eye that allows light to pass;
  • amber: resinous deposits of fossilized trees found typically in the Baltic Sea;
  • ruminant: cud-chewing;
  • mollusc: soft bodied sea- or fresh-water invertebrates with hard shells e.g. mussels;
  • seed-pod: case that contains/ once contained a fruit;
  • pollen: miniscule grains distributed by flowers;
  • bin: container, store
  • pantry: storeroom;
  • bone-vault: almost sacred chamber in which bones, animal and human are preserved;
  •  embalm: preserve bodies originally using spices;
  • votive1590s, “dedicated or given in fulfillment of a vow”, conforming to the practices if the time’;
  • goods: merchandise;
  • sabre: a sword that slashes/ cuts rather than stabs;
  • insatiable: whose appetites cannot be satisfied;
  • bride: freshly married woman;
  • casket: ornamental box for persona possessions;
  • midden: dump, dunghill;
  • floe: moving sheet (typically of ice);
  • nesting ground: area where migratory birds nest and rear young;
  • sword-swallower: recalling the entertainer who slips the sword-blade down his throat as an circus or street act;
  • outback: originally an Australian term describing its back-country, interior wildernesses;
  • 6 quatrains in a 7 sentence construction; lines between 2 and 7 syllables; fewer enjambed lines reflects the enumeration of bog characteristics;
  • no rhyme scheme but sound sonic structure based on assonant and alliterative effects;
  • in stanzas (1) and (2) [ɒ] is the dominant assonance: Quagmire, swampland, morass:/ domains/ bog/ soft alongside [ʌ] blood-/ mud and [ei] domain/ rain; strong presence of bilabial nasal [m] (8 examples) plus combinations of voiced [b] and voiceless [p] bilabial plosives; gentle sibilant [s] of soft/ windless;
  • Stanzas (3) (4) and (5) ruminant/ fugitives pick up the [u:] of pupil; [i:] seed/ deep; {p/ɒ] combination in pod/ pollen; [əʊ] bone/ votive/ swallower/ floe; alliterative effect of voiceless bilabial plosive [p] pod, deep pollen/ pantry turns voiced [b] bone/ bank/ embalmer/ sabred/ bride later side; paired [ei] sabred/ insatiable; increasingly frequent [ɪ] votive/ insatiable/ midden/ history carried into (6) strip/ its; sibilant [s] effect in (5): Ground/ dark / nesting ground/ outback
  • (6) echoes the [ai] of bride in side/ mind accompanied by alliterative effect of velar plosives [g] [k]:


A pagan goddess figure believed to be that of Nerthus resurrects itself from the peat bog. The percussive continuo beat first heard in Kinship’s first quatrain will become more compelling, closer to hand and deafening, reaching its climax in the final couplet.

In an unexpected development the bog-walker has come across a digging tool (turf-spade) set to one side (hidden under bracken) lost from sight (laid flat) beneath a green fog of growth. Moving it has disturbed the balance and set up an inexorable metamorphosis – initially the bog’s soft lips of the growth that are not happy (muttered) and then part (split) to reveal a peat brown orifice (tawny rut) too close for comfort (at my feet), a pale organic froth (like a shed skin).  The bog has begun to adopt a humanoid shape.

The repositioned spade handle now phallic (wettish ) and erect (upright) has begun to give off heat (steam in the sun) likened, as the narrative shifts from first person to an anonymous Celtic population (they), to a man-made, male column of stone (obelisk) in need of a fellow (twinned) identified as a female monument (bearded cairn).

The change of tense to the present introduces an awesome chain of paranormal events: the bog walker has disturbed the intimacy (love-nest) of a pagan deity.

What ensues is awesomely powerful – the percussive beats reach a climax as bog flora (catkin and bog-cotton) are caught up (tremble) in a convulsion exposing bog walker to an appearance linking him with his distant past (I stand at the edge of centuries) –  the emergence from and of the swamp (cloven oak-limb) of a pagan deity (facing a goddess).

  • tawny: “tan-coloured”, “associated with the brownish-yellow of tanned leather”; for example the tawny owl is so called because of its colour;
  • mutter: low, barely audible sound
  • rut; track left by repeated passing of a wheeled vehicle
  • shed skin: some animals shed their skin (snakes); the eel is perhaps most familiar to Heaney
  • shaft: long wooden road between handle-grip and blade;
  • twin: form a pair;
  • obelisk: “rectangular stone column, tapering at the top” from L. obeliscus “obelisk, small spit,” from Gk. obeliskos “a spit, pointed pillar, needle.”;
  • bearded: tufts of hair, bristle; pubic connotations are possible within the context of the poem;
  • cairn: mound of rough stones; prehistoric burial stones;
  • catkin: flowering spike hanging from willow or hazel trees
  • oak limb: the naked branch of a bog oak trees fossilized in peat bogs;
  • bog-cotton: a bogland plant so called because the white tufts of its flowers resemble the cotton plant;
  • cloven: split, separated as the hooves of ruminant (cud-chewing) animals but in this poem an otherworldly devilish association;
  • goddess: Nerthus was a pagan Norse deity allegedly worshipped in a sacred grove on an island in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea; she was associated with fertility, witchcraft, wealth, the sea, and purification; also known as the Earth Mother; the negative rituals associated with her were said to include human sacrifice, for example the drowning of servants who had not completed her bidding or failed to satisfy her sexual appetite;
  • 6 quatrains; 3 sentence construction, the third sentence split by 2 colons; no rhyme scheme;
  • variable line length between 3 and 7 syllables; 13 enjambed lines;
  • lines 1-14 the principal assonant/sonic chains are: [ei] spade/ laid/ raised [əʊ] overgrown/ growth/ opened; [i:] green/ feet/ steam/ [ɪ] hidden/ with/ lips/ splitskin/ it/ beginning; [ʌ] under/ muttered/ rut/ upright/ sun; alliterative clusters: labio-dental fricative [f] in found/ turf/ flat/ fog and [gr] of grown/ green; alveolar [t] and sibilants [s] [z] combine in stanza (2) and re-echo in (3) adding [sh] shed/ shaft/ wettish;
  • lines 15-22 the new vowel sound is [ɒ]: obelisk/ bog/ cotton/ goddess accompanying reprises of [ɪ] twinned/ obelisk/is disturbed/ catkin [ʌ] among/ under/ love/ up [əʊ] stones/ cloven oak and [ei] raise/ facing; alveolar plosive [t] provides the main alliterative note from trimmed to stand with a cluster of velar plosives [k] and [g] between obelisk and cloven oak;
  • the final couplet mixes consonant sibilant [s] stand/ centuries/ facing a goddess and vowel [e] edge/ centuries/ goddess;


Heaney sets up a subtle interplay between Nature’s cycle, the bog’s seasonal presence and his own destiny.

Neil Corcoran suggests an analogy between’ the self-involved processes of the bog and the self-involved processes of poetry’. The piece ‘uses a metaphorical subtext of poetry in dialogue with itself … imagining a bog as a language or poem’ (NCp75).

The first and final couplets pick up issues to be found in W.B.Yeats’ Second Coming alluding to the massive global streams of wind and water whose operational efficiency comes from the angle and spin of the Earth and the law of gravity thereby determining changes of season and the onward march of human time within the planet’s seemingly eternal context.

Unlike Yeats’ vision Heaney’s landscape is not falling apart; the bog’s centre holds and spreads. It retains a lyrical state of timeless turn-over: natural development (sump and seedbed) within a living medium (bag of waters) receiving and breaking down fruit (melting grave) at a point of seasonal decline (mothers of autumn), losing sweetness (sour sink) their green pigmentations replaced by a brew of decomposition: ferments of husk and leaf) and autumnal colourings (ochres bronze), plants passing their peak (mosses come to a head) seeds in distribution (heather unseeds).

Heaney goes for a synaesthetic effect: the visual scene turns voice – a language he can hear and turn into text (vowel of earth) – Nature in end-of-year mood (dreaming its root/ in flowers and snow) just part of the scheme of things (mutation of weathers seasons) an annual bounty returning matter unto itself (windfall composing the floor it rots into).

No peat bog … no Heaney, he is saying in effect (I grew out of all this) – such is the stuff he is made of. He too will follow a cycle (like a weeping-willow (iconic mid-Ulster tree whose branches droop earthwards) and share the random fate of all earthly matter (inclined to the appetites of gravity).

  • centre: here the peat bog, epicentre of existence;
  • sump: originally a synonym for marsh, morass, bog, refined to suggest a pit that collects;
  • seedbed: where seedlings germinate;
  • sour: lose sweetness, flavour;
  • ferment: brew; suggestion of internal change;
  • husk: empty case in which fruit grew:
  • ochre: a pigment varying from yellow to brown and red;
  • come to a head: reach a turning point;
  • vowel: speech sound (cf consonant) at the root of assonances;
  • root: underground source of water and nutrients for plants;
  • mutation: change in gene structure; also the changes of sound that result from sounds adjacent to each other;
  • windfall: originally literal, in reference to wood or fruit blown down by the wind, and thus free to all; later it developed a figurative sense of ‘unexpected benefit;
  • inclined: both in the sense of ‘leaning’ and ‘disposed to’;
  • gravity: the irresistible force that attracts matter to the centre of a spinning celestial body; a property of ‘having weight’;
  • 6 quatrains; 5 sentence construction; no rhyme scheme;
  • variable line length between 3 and 7 syllables; 10 enjambed lines;
  • lines 1-5: assonant chain of [e] centre/ spreads/ seedbed/ melting sits alongside alliterative sibilant [s] effect;
  • lines 6-13 add [i:] leaf/ deepen/ unseeds later dreaming/ seasons; the early use of[əʊ] in holds is echoed in ochre; sibilants will maintain their alliterative hold, especially sour and sink; earlier [e] reappears: head/ heather; cluster of voiced [b] and voiceless [p] bilabial plosives;
  • lines 14-20 seek assonant effects from [au] vowel/ flowers [əʊ] snow/ composing and other vowel (o) variants root/ floor it rots into interlaced with the bilabial consonants [w] and [m];
  • final quatrain interweaves [ai] I/ like/ appetites with velar [gr] and [w];
  • The memorable first stanza of William Butler Yeats’s The Second Coming reads as follows:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre/ The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.

Words in bold reflect themes and issues present in Heaney’s bog poems;


Heaney pays tribute to his great-uncle Hughie Scullion a highly respected component of the peat-cutting chain whose business involved regular domestic delivery for the domestic hearth and who sometimes took Child-Heaney with him on his rounds.

Heaney celebrates a moment of ‘flesh and blood’ kinship, a deeply personal, warm-hearted vignette of mid-Ulster life triggered by a discovery (hand-carved felloes of the turf-cart wheels) lying discarded beneath a litter of turf mould.

The period style of what he finds (cupid’s bow of the tail-board and workmanship (socketed lips of the cribs) conjure up a magic retrieval.

Such a cart elevated its driver to god-like status (deified) in the eyes of the youngster – not, given the seductive description of his vehicle’s shape, some kind of Eros figure but god of the waggon, delivering peat for people’s fires.

To accompany his uncle Hughie brought Heaney to the rank of knight’s apprentice (squire of his circuits).

In early autumn (when summer died) when he and his uncle were out and about (abroad) women who had given up work for the day (forsook the fields) acknowledged (saluted) and stood aside for cart, driver and boy-attendant.

Heaney invites us to share his ‘lost’ domain (watch), their passage (our progress) illuminated by Nature’s rich red-berried fruitfulness (down the haw-lit hedges).

To be spoken to by his celebrity uncle brought child-Heaney to a flush of grown-up feeling (manly pride).

  • felloe: “rim of a spoked wheel”, from O.E.
  • litter: untidy collection of things lying about;
  • mould: mildew, fungal growth born of dampness;
  • cupid’s–bow: the once-fashionable shape of a woman’s made-up lips, so called because they resembled the bow carried by Cupid/ Eros, the classical god of erotic love;
  • socketed: one section of wood has been fitted into a hollow piece in a second section, designed to receive it;
  • crib: Ulster reference to the internal faces of a container here a cart elsewhere perhaps a funeral casket;
  • deify: worship as a god;
  • hearth-feeder: bearer of peat used a domestic fuel;
  • squire: a kind of apprentice-knight in medieval times;
  • circuits: regular delivery route;
  • forsake: quit, leave behind;
  • abroad: moving freely about;
  • right of way: precedence; permission to go first;
  • haw: small deep red berry of the hawthorn tree very profuse in Heaney’s neighbourhood;
  • use of passives: saluted, given right-of-way in ll19-20;
  • 6 quatrains in a 4 sentence structure; no rhyme scheme but an interesting use of sonic echoes at specific ends of line: [əʊ] felloes/ mould/ bow; [ɪ] litter/ lips cribs/ drink/ circuits; [æ] man/ waggon; feeder/ bearer; [ai] died/ pride;
  • vowel sound effects include the above with other assonant reinforcement: [ɑː] carved/ cart/ hearth; [ɜː] turf/ turf; [e] felloes/ buried/ attendant/ bread; [ai] I deified/ squire/ wives/ right; [ɪ] buried in/ cupid’s/ given/ haw-lit;
  • alliterative effects (1-8) using groupings of labio-dental [f], voiceless velar [k], voiceless alveolar [t] and sibilant [s];
  • (9-24): bilabial plosives [p] [b]; voiced alveolar [d]; voiced alveolar [g] god of the waggon; a swell of sibilants after l.15; aspirate pairing: haw-lit hedges;
  • the bog has produced its own turf-cutter God and cup-bearing Ganymede poet (NC75);


NC pays tribute to a summarising hymn to the bog  … the most intimate conjunction between the Nordic religion and  Northern Ireland (p76).

Heaney can perceive no progress over the two thousand years since Tacitus – Ireland is still an occupied land, still tribal, still prey to a circle of murder and revenge.

He invites the Roman historian of 2 millennia earlier to share the vulnerability and self-protective instinct of a 20th century Irish poet (I make my grove on an old crannog) in defensive mode on ground swelled by the Irish victims of oppression and occupation (piled by the fearful dead). The ‘Troubles’ are merely the latest outcome of repeated, erroneous invader-think (desolate peace).

Heaney sets out the shape of Irish destiny (Our mother ground) and the repeated bloodshed of those who defended the island (sour with the blood of her faithful). His dramatic present tense returns to the age of Tacitus – who reported on a country never actually invaded by the Romans – soldiers looking on (legions stare from the ramparts as the native population lies in its death throes (gargling in her sacred heart).

Heaney’s cri de coeur summons Tacitus (come back) to take a look at his ‘island of the ocean’ where the cycle has never been broken (nothing will suffice).

Tacitus need only to see the current images of atrocity (read the inhumed faces) of accidental or premeditated murder (casualty victim) to witness mutually barbaric Irish thinking and paradox (we slaughter for the common good), to witness the summary treatment of Irish women deemed to have consorted with the ‘enemy’ (shave the heads of the notorious) in order to understand how close the pagan practices revealed by the bog bodies (largely women) are to the Troubles (how the goddess swallows our love and terror).

  • Tacitus: 1c AD Roman historian whose works include Germania, an ethnographical assessment of the lands, laws and customs of ‘primitive’ peoples as far north as the Baltic. In Agricola he turned his attention to ancient Britain including what is now Ireland. Heaney summons him back to bear witness to his view that nothing has changed in contemporary Ireland;
  • grove: small group of trees; in Tacitus’s Germania, Chapter 40 opened: ‘In an island of the ocean is a holy grove’ (NC75);
  • crannog: the ancient Irish peoples built defensive if primitive dwellings on lakes or in bogs;
  • desolate peace: referring to constant occupation by marauding forces Tacitus commented that they make a desolation and call it peace; note that the Romans never came to Ireland;
  • sour: bitter;
  • gargle: gurgling sound of liquid/ blood in the throat
  • suffice: the word assumes a particular resonance in Heaney’s more ‘political’ poems; in the bloody aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin W.B.Yeats asked the question O when may it suffice? Heaney gives his opinion: nothing will suffice; see Funeral Rites (I) for its further use;
  • inhumed:
  • casualty/ victim:
  • slaughter:
  • common good:
  • 6 quatrains; line length between 4 and 7 syllables; no rhyme scheme;
  • constructed in 4 sentences; 13 enjambed lines;
  • addressed to Tacitus as if in person with the vigour of polemic but without the personal attack;
  • lines 1-7 exploit 5 variant sounds of vowel (o): observe/ on/ crannog – how/ our/ ground/ sour – grove/ old – desolate – mother/ blood; initial alliterative effects are engineered using velar plosives [k] and [g] also paired assonant sounds [i:] fearful/ peace later legions/ Read;
  • after line 7 assonant [a:] gargling/ heart/ ramparts interweaves with sibilants [s];
  • assonant echoes in lines 13-24 come from combinations of [ai] island/ suffice alongside[ɪ] this/ nothing will/ inhumed/ victim; [ʌ] Come/ nothing/ suffice/ us/ good/ goddess/ love; [u] inhumed/ casualty; [ei] faces/ shave; [ɔː]slaughter/ notorious; frequent and variant sibilant sounds of [s] [z][sh][ʒ]
  • Heaney is a meticulous craftsman using combinations of vowel and consonant to form a poem that is something to be listened to.
  • the music of the poem: fourteen assonant strands are woven into the text; Heaney places them grouped within specific areas to create internal rhymes , or reprises them at intervals or threads them through the text;
  • syllables without highlight are largely the unstressed sound as in common, little [ə]

  • alliterative effects allow pulses or beats, soothings or hissings or frictions of consonant sound to modify the assonant melodies; this is sonic engineering of the first order;
  • a full breakdown of consonant sounds and where in the mouth they are formed is to be found in the Afterthoughts section;

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