Comparison of Donne and Jennings Poetry

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Consider the ways in which Donne and Jennings use form, structure and language to present their thoughts and ideas. You should make relevant references to your wider reading in the poetry of love. The poem the ‘The Anniversary’ By John Donne, is a metaphysical poem about the sun itself growing older each year, this process reminds Donne that him and his lover are closer to their end. The second poem is called ‘One Flesh’, and is written by Elizabeth Jennings. In the course of this poem Jennings explores the relationship and separateness of her now elderly parents. There are multiple contrasting factors between these two poems, considering they are both written from different time periods and view love in sharply differing perspective. In some sense both these poems can be seen as similar because they are presented from the viewpoints of the poets themselves. However, they contrast in the aspect of how they view the love they are speaking about. In ‘The Anniversary’ Donne has a dreamlike and romanticised view on the experience of him and his lover, he proclaims his love to be ‘all Kings’ and ‘All glory’. The repetition of ‘all’ reinforces just how disillusioned he is by comparing everything to his love. The fact that this words starts off the first two lines of the poem, instantly indicates how this is a positive poem, where Donne is in a deep state of love. Similarly, in another poem ‘The Sun Rising’ also by Donne, he addresses the sun in his speech requesting the sun to always shine on him and his lover. This request seems fairly absurd and melodramatic, thus indicating how the speaker in this poem is also disillusioned by love. Contrasting, the speaker in ‘One Flesh’, is not presenting love to be dreamy. Instead Jennings is taking the form of a child narrator and is particularly bitter about her parents love. This can be seen by how she separates ‘my father and my mother’; some may interpret this to be in a bitter tone especially by the use of ‘my’ and how she refuses to unite them. Her bitter point of view can be seen to stem from the failure of her parents love. However, she does communicate a sense of tenderness for them, as can be seen by ‘fire from which I came from’, the softer tone of this seems to highlight how she is glad that what she ‘came from’, was something of passion. Likewise, the same pattern of bitterness to tenderness is portrayed in Larkin’s poem ‘This Be the Verse’. As he sharply and intensely starts this poem off by stating your parents ‘fuck you up’. His lack of love is represented at first just how Jennings was. However, he then goes on to say ‘they may not mean to’, and there is understating and awareness of love shown. Both of these poems are similar in that they are both structured in a narrative form. As ‘The Anniversary’ delivers the argument of how Donne and his lover will always be together. He then finally concludes that there afterlife will be ‘second of our reign’, meaning that they will fall in love all over again. Equally, ‘One Flesh’ also goes through a narrative process of showing in each stanza how her parents love has slowly declined physically and mentally. Till it finally asked the question of if the love really has gone ‘cold’. There is significance in the writers using this type of structure, as it has allowed the reader to see the different processes of love. Either by describing the lover like Donne does, or by describing the lack of love like Jennings. The rhyme scheme is prominent in signifying the poems atmospheres and the writer’s feelings, the rhyme scheme in both of these poems contrast with each other’s. As in ‘The Anniversary’, there is strong consistency in the AABBCCDDDD rhyme structure. This therefore, links into Donne’s confidence and lack of doubt in his argument about the love for his partner. Whereas, in ‘One Flesh’ there is an absence of meter, perhaps indicating how this is a modern poem compared to Donnes historical poem. Therefore, it is more likely to...
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