Relationship Poetry Revision

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Relationship Poetry Revision

  1. 1. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues The Manhunt A woman’s account of her attempts to console, heal and draw close to her husband after his traumatic experiences at war. She is trying to ‘find’ her husband again. • War imagery/ metaphors describe his injuries and show that the war is part of who he is now. She has to overcome all of these to finally get to him. • Tentative language – she has to be very careful and loving with him to heal him. • Repetition of ‘only then’ to show that this is a hard journey. • Each idea is contained in a couplet which links to their partnership. However, the rhymes are not always full meaning that their relationship is not complete. • The length of the poem reflects the long journey ahead. • There is a real sense that Laura wants to protect her husband. She is very patient and loving. Through this, Armitage delivers a political message about the impact of war on individuals. Hour Duffy shows that time rushes by and so lovers must grasp every second they can together. In the poem, the lovers have an hour together and it is better than any money or materialistic things. • The hour is described using extended metaphors of richness and light to show how valuable it is. • The hour is compared to the typical clichés of love and made to sound superior to these. • Reference to fairytales creates a sense of menace- people become greedy and it ruins love. • Plays about with the sonnet form to show love. Some elements are different though to show that Duffy rejects typical ideas about love. • Some half rhyme is used to show how people can ruin relationships with their greed. • The intensity of the hour is shown. Love can bend time, slowing it down for enjoyment. This opportunity should be seized while it lasts. In Paris with you •The speaker of the poem has been hurt in the past and is angry about what has happened. He tries to reject love and attempts to hide his feelings but it becomes clear that he has actually fallen in love again. • Straightforward and un- poetic language shows that he is rejecting the clichés of love. • Becomes clear that ‘Let’s talk of Paris’ is a metaphor for love. He’s too afraid of saying the actual words though. • War imagery to show how much he’s been hurt. • Repetition of ‘Don’t talk to me love’ shows how he tries to reject love. • Poem ends in a way in which his feelings for his lover are summed up. Although, he hasn’t actually said the words. • There is a light-hearted tone that belies a strong undercurrent of vulnerability and anxious caution.
  2. 2. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues Quickdraw • Duffy presents the pain and pleasure of being in love and the difficulties of communication in a relationship. There is a phone conversation presented as a saloon gunfight. • Extended metaphor. The phone call is compared to a gunfight and words are bullets designed to hurt. • There is a sense of high stakes as though this conversation is the turning point of the relationship. • Images of pain. • Sonnet sequence of 14 lines to show love but it’s fragmented in two places to show difficulties and pain. • Line breaks allow Duffy to emphasise the main messages: ‘You’ve wounded me’... ‘Through the heart’ • Poem shows the first shadows of pain being cast over a relationship. Also parodies modern reliance on mobile phones. Ghazal • This is a poem about seduction. The speaker uses a range of arguments to persuade their beloved that they should be together. • Images come in complementary pairs in which the two parts make a better whole – like the lovers do. • Made up of metaphors that each explore a different side to love. • Traditional form of a ghazal – contains 5 couplets each with a self-contained idea but develops a central argument. • Each couplet is linked by a refrain ‘woo me’, ‘pursue me’ etc which builds up a powerful repetitive image that lends itself to persuasion. • Poem shows all the different sides to love and how people are better together than they are alone. Sonnet 116 • The speaker attempts to define love and its ability to remain constant as time goes by. However, there is the sense that the love described will not work in the real world. • Metaphors are used to compare love to images of security and hope ‘ever fixed mark’, ‘beacon’, ‘star’ • However, some of the images suggest distance showing that maybe this sort of love is unattainable in reality. • The poet sets out to explain what love is not suggesting that it is difficult to define what love is. • Typical Shakespearean structure to represent love. • The final couplet concludes his ideas about love but suggests that he could be wrong ‘error’. • Quite a positive poem about love and how even though beauty can fade, love can conquer time and death. However, this interpretation of love may not be so straightforward.
  3. 3. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues Sonnet 43 • The speaker attempts to define love but in a more personal way than Sonnet 116. She is enthusiastic about listing the ways she loves her partner. • Religious images shows that the love is spiritual. • Similes are used to present the power of her love. • Repetition of ‘I love thee...’ is used to list the many different ways she loves him – her love is all encompassing. • Sonnet form represents the deep love she has for her partner. • Enjambment is used in line 2,3,5,9 and 11 to show that she can’t contain her rush of feelings – they flow from her. The speaker enjoys thinking about the ways she loves her partner. She is very enthusiastic. She loves him with everything she has got and thinks their love is wonderful and spiritual but it is also real. It transforms her ‘old griefs’ into happiness and it makes her feel innocent and secure like a child. To His coy Mistress • The poem is about seduction but it is also about seizing the day. The speaker presents an argument in three parts to suggest that they need to enjoy their time together whilst they can and have sex. • Romantic imagery and exaggeration in Stanza 1 shows that he is trying to flatter her – could be seen as insincerity. • Lots of time references in Stanza 2 to show that time is fleeting and they must act fast. • Stanza 3 uses lots of metaphors to suggest enjoyment and pleasure of consummating the relationship. • Three part argument. Stanza 1 – talks about how he would romance her if he had all the time in the world. Stanza 2 – Introduces the issue: time is short. Stanza 3 – Introduces the solution: they love each other so they should just have sex. • Sense that the speaker feels bored by their current relationship as there are verbs that show slowness. He doesn’t think there is time to be coy – he wants to enjoy the present. The Farmer’s Bride • The poem is about a dysfunctional marriage. The marriage is not born out of romance and the bride is very unhappy and distant from her husband. She is trapped. • Language shows that the bride is like a frightened, vulnerable, hunted animal. • The bride is characterised through her innocent love of nature. Shows her youth and also her desire to be free. • Obsessive language in the last stanza suggests that the farmer is haunted by his bride because he can’t have her and is frustrated. • The poem takes a journey through the seasons to show the deterioration of the relationship. • The poem ends with both partners unhappy and distance between them. • The poem perhaps makes a point that arranged marriages can’t work. The farmer seems to expect an emotional closeness without considering his bride’s feelings.
  4. 4. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues Brothers • The poem presents an account of a childhood memory which represents the changing relationship with his brother. There is a sense of remorse when he remembers leaving his brother behind. • Written in second person as though the poet is confessing to his brother because he feels guilty. • Descriptive words highlight a sense of annoyance that he has to look after his brother for the day and also the ideas he finds him embarrassing. • Verbs like ‘ambled’ show the difference between the ‘cooler’ older boys and the little brother who likes to ‘windmill’. • Chronological like a story to suggest the event is still clear in his mind. • Ends in a way that suggests this was the moment the relationship changed and the damage was done. • A very personal poem that reflects on how relationships change and develop with the passage of time. Praise song for My mother • Traditional form of the African praise song creates a moving eulogy to the poet’s mother. • Uses a variety of metaphors to show the different sides to their relationship and how wonderful her mum was. • References to the elements and senses to show that her mother was her world. • Images of nature show their natural bond. • The poem begins regularly with each of the first three stanzas following a strict pattern to suggest security and comfort. • The pattern is broken in Stanza 4 to show a rush of emotions that can’t be contained. • The last line is by itself to reflect the significance of her mother’s words and how she has acted upon the advice. • A very loving poem that shows an all encompassing bond. We see the influence parents have on us and how relationships endure in spite of death or separation. Sister Maude • Tells the story of how the speaker’s true love was destroyed by her jealous sister. The speaker’s lover died as a result of this and the speaker seems to want revenge. • Religious imagery is used to highlight how Maude will be punished and how she should not expect peace in death. • Bitter language shows how angry she is with her sister – especially repetition of the word ‘sister’ and alliteration of a hard ‘C’ • Narrative detail to show that this is a memory she’s not willing to forget. • Written like a story but with lots of questions about the lover’s death unanswered. Is the speaker leaving things out to place the blame firmly on Maude. • Ballad form means that certain words like ‘lurked’, ‘spy’, ‘peer’ are stressed to show how angry she is with her sister. • Both sisters seem to act sinfully – one out of jealousy and the other out of revenge. Perhaps the poet is showing that actions that springing from wicked motives will lead to destruction and tragedy.
  5. 5. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues Harmonium • Armitage uses the musical instrument, the harmonium, as an extended metaphor to explore the relationship between himself and his aging father. • Central metaphor connecting the father and the harmonium – both are old and do not have the roles in life they used to. • Recurring images of uselessness that is associated with age. Armitage is regretful that his father is so vulnerable now. • Imagery reflects on the harmonium’s glorious past showing also that Armitage still admires his father and has a bond with him. • Internal rhymes show that there is still a connection between the two but it is a little awkward now as the father sees himself as a burden. • The poem ends with Armitage not knowing what to say to his father – again shows how things change as relationships mature. • Relationships inevitably change as time passes and it can be quite saddening and disconcerting. Nettles A parent’s account of an incident in which his son falls in to a bed of nettles and is hurt. Explores the moment in a parent’s life when they realise that they can’t protect their children against everything. • Battle imagery: extended metaphor of war to show that the nettles represent potential threats in the world that parents try to fight against. • Violent language to show how the father attacks the nettles in revenge, but ultimately this is shown to be pointless as they grow back. • Soft sounds are used to describe the child whilst alliteration of hard consonants are used to describe the nettles to show how vulnerable our children are in the world. • Is written in iambic pentameter which gives it a rhythmic military feel to show battle. This also means it is similar to a sonnet which is a typical form to show love. • Rhyme scheme is ordered to show that parents try to control their environment to protect their children. • The last line is significant ‘My son would often feel sharp wounds again’ as it shows that ultimately the battle is futile. The poem could be seen to be just about nettles and the father’s anger that they have hurt his son. It shows how parents want to protect their children. It also has a wider context though. The nettles represent other threats in the world. It shows that parents battle to protect their children but can’t always do this.
  6. 6. Poem Summary Language Structure Tone/feelings/ wider issues Born Yesterday • This poem investigates an adult’s feelings on the birth of a baby. The poet shows all of the things people usually wish for a baby but he recognises that to have all of these is unrealistic. Therefore, he wishes that the baby is all the things that come from being ‘ordinary’ as he thinks this will be the best way to achieve happiness. • Positive and negative qualities – Larkin explores what we see as desirable and undesirable and if this is actually correct. ‘Beauty’ may be ‘unworkable’ or may ‘stop all the rest from working’. • Metaphor ‘Tightly-folded bud’ suggests the beginning of life and the potential to grow into something, so we should be careful of our influences and what we wish for our children. • Written in two halves to explore the difference between the typical wishes and what Larkin wishes for the baby. • The poem builds tension as he doesn’t tell us what his wish is at first. His wish is quite surprising when it is revealed, suggesting that life doesn’t always turn out how we expect it but this is not always bad. • The title of the poem suggests the naivety of people who wish for things like ‘beauty’ for their baby thinking that this is the best way to achieve happiness. • Larkin tries to make us see that the qualities we might think of as being dull and ordinary, are actually far from it and are much more likely to achieve happiness.

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