“Half past Two” is about a young child who has done something naughty. His teacher punishes him by making him stay behind until half past two. However, being cross, she forgets he has not yet learnt to tell the time. Thus, his concept of time doesn’t yet include numerals. He knows he is punished but cannot understand why. During his detention, he recalls the time modules he knows in an attempt to figure out when will he be free again. He escapes “out of reach of all the timefors” into a fantasy world. The teacher has almost forgotten about the boy owing to the triviality of the matter to her, but of great significance to the boy. At last, she scuttles in and lets him go home.
In “Piano”, The persona in the poem is listening to a woman singing and playing the piano. This makes him recall when he was a child, sitting under the piano listening to his mother play and sing on Sunday evenings in winter. He is nostalgic about the warmth and happiness of his childhood days. However, he seems to berate himself on recalling his childhood and views himself as sad and less masculine for giving in to his nostalgic impulses. With his ‘manhood cast/Down in the flood of remembrance’, he weeps, an act considered inappropriate for a man.
These two poems both use striking language. Firstly, they both use onomatopoeia to convey the setting of the poems. In “Half-past Two”, the onomatopoeia is used to convey the ticking sound of the clock, whereas in “Piano”, it is used to convey the musical sounds of the piano.
Secondly, they also both use alliteration. In “Half-past Two”, the phrase ‘time hides tick-less’ is used to convey the sound of a clock ticking. However, in “Piano”, the repetition of the consonant /s/ is used to convey the calm and quiet singing of the woman.
Thirdly, the two poets choose their words prudently. In “Half-past Two”,...