Harmonium: Acidic Soil

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The poem harmonium examines the relationship of a father and son. I think Armitage has written this poem for parents and children as they would be able to relate to the emotions in the poem. The Author uses the Farrand Chappelette which is a type of Harmonium or small organ to help him reflect the love that he has for his father. In the first stanza the poet talks about the Farrand Chappelette which was “gathering dust” telling us that it is getting old and it was due to be taken to the skip if Armitage had not wanted it. In the final line of the first stanza Armitage declare that he could have it for a “song “ an idiom which means that he could have had it very cheap. In the second stanza the poet talks about the sunlight through the glass which could “beatify saints” in other words bless them and make them more god like and above normal people. Armitage the contrasts this positive statement by saying it had “aged” the harmoniums case and “yellowed the fingernails of its keys”. I the last few lines Armitage tells us how the harmonium is played by telling us the organist plays it by continuously pedalling the pedals. In the 3rd stanza the poet talks about the age of the organ and how he and his father had sung there and were good singers. The 4th stanza is the most powerful one as he talks about his father coming to help pick up the harmonium and his father jokes saying that one day he will “shoulder” his father’s “dead weight meaning his coffin when he dies. Armitage finds it hard to reply to such a poignant remark because of the emotion of he feels at the thought of his father’s death.

I think the poem has a mixture of moods from the first verse to the last and moods that are very contrasting such as the first 2 stanzas are quite happy emotions about how the sun gleams through the glass and the last verse is about the emotions of his father dying. The poet uses many techniques in the poem such as metaphors for example “fingernails” describing how the sun has...
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