"The Lake" by Roger Mcgough

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“The Lake” by Roger McGough

In the poem “The Lake”, Roger McGough describes a lake destroyed by pollution. Write how the poet uses metaphors and imagery to show this. What does the poet tell us at the end of the poem?

In the poem “The Lake”, Roger McGough shows us a picture of a lake which has been destroyed by rubbish the people who live around the lake have thrown into it over the years. He uses imagery and metaphors to show the results of pollution.

McGough shows us images of darkness, sickness, death and artificial life. There is so much rubbish in the lake that the water is not clean and clear anymore. It no longer reflects the moonlight but “the blackness of its own depths”. Even the nature around the lake has been destroyed. The fish have died and the grass has “withered”, the trees “lean away from it” and “birds steer clear”. Worst of all, the people are now afraid that the lake is full of diseases so they “avoid it like the plague”. People now have to replace nature with an artificial form of life. Fishermen can no longer fish in the lake so they just pretend to fish “on patterned carpets”. Children cannot go to play near the lake so they have put away their toy yachts “in attics” and play in the bathtub where they “feed stale bread to plastic ducks”. Not only have living animals been replaced by plastic ones like the ducks, but although there are no longer any fish in the lake, there is a different kind of “life” – the pigs. These pigs have made the lake their home and their body has adapted itself to a life in the water. This is why they have webbed feet. The poet uses these underwater pigs as metaphors for a distorted living creature created by the filth people have put into the lake. They represent the dirt and diseases created by people themselves. Towards the end of the poem there is a very frightening description of the pigs looking towards the houses their “piggy eyes glistening” and “licking their lips” as they look forward to...
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