Compare and Contrast 3 poems from AQA GCSE Anthology, Moon on the Tides.
In this piece of writing I will be comparing and contrasting 3 poems. Which are ‘Praise Song for my mother’, ‘Harmonium’ and ‘Nettles.
The title of each poem describes exactly what it is and what is about. ‘Praise Song for my Mother’ is not actually a poem, it is a praise son. Which in Guyana (where Grace Nichols was born) it is something written after a person close to them has dies. It is written to commemorate and rejoice about a persons life. ‘Nettles’ is a story about a Scannells son who falls into a pit of stinging nettles. Finally, ‘Harmonium’, ‘Harmonium’ almost says what it’s about in its title. If you break it down it makes harmony, which symbolises the relationship between Armitage and his father.
Each of the poets clearly had different backgrounds growing up by the way the write their poems. Grace Nichols (the writer of ‘Praise song for my Mother’) comes from Guyana and had ‘lots of freedom as she was growing up’ (quoted from a BBC interview) and had an extremely large family, which was very common in Guyana. Nichols described her childhood as ‘magical’ so had a lot of influence over her writing. Vernon Scannell was in WW1, so this has had a lot of influence over his poetry as I will discuss later. Scannell also has six children, similarly to Grace Nichols’ mother. Armitage (the writer of ‘Harmonium’) had a fairly normal childhood and did what most people do, he went to church and was part of a choir, aswell as his father.
Two of the poems focus on male to male relationships, ‘Harmonium’ and ‘Nettles and the other poem focuses on a female to female relationship, ‘Praise Song for my Mother’. So already the relationships are going to be different, as well as the themes. In ‘Praise song for my Mother’ and ‘Harmonium’ it shows that both Nichols and Armitage have very close bonds with their parents. An example of this with ‘Harmonium’ is when Armitage says ‘And he, being him And I, being me’ shows that Armitage and his father are very close. This is because only people who spend all of the time together will know each others mood swings and know how they generally are. But it could also mean that they have a very complicated relationship, but don’t like to talk about it as they love each other to much to argue. Throughout ‘Praise Song’ Nichols is just cementing how strong there relationship was and showing how much they know each other. For example ‘You were moon’s eye to me’ which means that her mother was ever watchful of her. Furthermore, Yemosa is the moon goddess, so it could also mean that she believes that her mother was her own god she is the person she worships and the person she loves. So going from that point it also suggests that Grace’s mother is very powerful, loving and omnipresent because she was always there for Grace and never let her down, similarly to a God.
These relationships also link in with ‘Nettles’ but seen from the fathers perspective. It shows the love and strong bond between father and son, especially if the child is harmed or damaged in any way. For example after Scannells son get’s stung he goes on a rage, and ‘went outside and slashed in fury’. This shows just how much love is shared between father and son.
The structure of ‘Nettles’ consists of a single stanza, and has a rhyme scheme of A B A B C D C D. The poem is a narrative, and is based on an incident of when his 3 year old boy fell in a ‘bed’ of nettles. One key part in telling that the poem is a narrative is after Scannell has ‘slashed in fury’ he goes on to say ‘Next task’ as it is like an over watch on the situation The line lengths in Nettles have no real pattern and there is only one stanza. The A B A B C D C D rhyme scheme is consistent and constant thorough out the whole poem, which suggests that Scannell was always consistent and there for his son through out the entirety of his life until Scannells death in 2007. The poem is one...
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