The Comparison of Two Poems, ‘Follower' by Seamus Heaney and‘Imitations' by Dannie Abse

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The comparison of two poems, ‘Follower' by Seamus Heaney and‘Imitations' by Dannie Abse

The Poems ‘Follower' and ‘Imitations' are very alike in some ways but different in others. They have obvious points of comparisons and yet behind both poems is an individual story. Seamus Heaney, born in 1939 into a farming family, wrote ‘Follower'. He is Britain's most admired poets and won the nobel prize for literature in 1995. Dannie Abse wrote ‘Imitations', he was born in 1923 into a Jewish family in Cardiff. They each have simple reading structures for an easier read. Both writers talk from their own point of view, from their own experiences in their lives. They talk very intimately and detailed to form determined poems.

Looking at both poems, there are comparisons in each part, including the subject, themes, structure, images and language. The subject in follower is the relationship between a father and a son. In ‘Follower' Seamus Heaney is speaking as the son, who talks about his father working on a farm. This has references to his own childhood as he was brought up on a hard working farm in County Derry, Northern Ireland. The mood starts off pleasant and calm in a natural and flowing way. It then ends sad and pitiful. In the beginning of the poem he describes how he was staggering behind his father when he was a young boy. But when they both grew older, their positions change and so his father is now the follower who stumbles behind Heaney, the son. ‘But today, It is my father who keeps stumbling, Behind me, and will not go away.' And so the poem ends quite dramatically which makes the reader think more to understand what has happened in the poem.

In ‘Imitations' it is the complete opposite, Danni Abse is speaking as the father and talks about his son. He reflects on the passage of time and the fact that his son is growing up. He observes his son as he grows up into a man. The whole poem has a white theme which is rather peculiar since it is set in the month of April, in the spring time. The beginning is very peaceful but towards the end you begin to see the progress of time which the writer intended. In the last stanza, he realises that he is now holding his son back and is standing in his way. ‘While two white butterflies stumble, held each to each, as if by elastic, and pass.' The caesura in between ‘stumble' and ‘held' is used to emphasise a pause interlinking the two butterflies as they represent the generations of father and son when they pass and go their different ways. His son doesn't need his father anymore, it is now vice versa, the father needs his son. These two poems are in reverse, they have the same theme but completely the other way around, in terms of father and son, and so in ‘Follower' the son has now become the father, and in ‘Imitations' the father had become the son.

‘Follower' is made up of six of four lined stanzas. The layout is easy to read which makes it more straightforward. There is a rhyme scheme every other line. Words like ‘strung' and ‘tongue' are rhyming in the first stanza. This tactic is used to make it more catchy and lighter to read through. The patterned structure of stanza seems to reflect the passage of time by which we live our lives. This is mutability, it is a simple format but a complex poem. ‘Imitations' however has six line stanzas. The structure is clear and it is quite short.

The images are very strong. in ‘Follower', the rural scene is a big part of the poem. It is set on a farm and talks about the tools used such as ‘a horse plough' and ‘bright steel-pointed sock', this is a blade that does the digging. Not many people understand the words used but the writer knows what he is talking about and strongly uses them to add to the effect of a farm. The image of the father is seen as a strong and powerful man, ‘All I ever did was follow In his broad shadow round the farm.' This enacts the meaning of the poem. His feelings about his father are very different at...
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