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Comparison of Poems

By Bharat-Jassal Jun 08, 2015 992 Words
Both the poems start with 'suddenly' which makes the poem sound explosive and means that it has impact right from the very beginning. As well as this, in each poem a change in stanza shows a change in the poem - in ‘Belfast Confetti’ it goes from past to present tense and in ‘Bayonet Charge, it goes from action to inaction and allows us time to reflect. Both poems also use lists; in ‘Belfast Confetti’, the use of the list ‘Balaklava, Raglan...' show how the conflict has affected everywhere. The list 'nuts, bolts, nails...' shows how ordinary things used to build are instead being used to attack and destroy. In ‘Bayonet Charge’ a list is also used, but to different effect, the list; 'king, honour, human dignitary, etcetera' emphasises the pointlessness of war. The use of ‘etcetera, shows that these reasons no longer matter and makes us question why this is happening. Both poems also use devices such as onomatopoeia (stuttering and shot slashed) to replicate the sounds of war. Finally both poems are in free verse which give the idea of confusion.

However there are many differences. Whereas ‘Bayonet Charge’ is in 3rd person, ‘Belfast Confetti’ is in 1st person, this is as in ‘Bayonet Charge’ a bit of distance is wanted to add to the idea of it all being pointless and also as it could be anyone in that situation. In ‘Belfast Confetti’ it shows it to be that particular person’s experience. Also ‘Bayonet Charge’ uses lots of imagery such as 'cold clockwork of the stars' to get across the ideas and thoughts of the author and to make the reader contemplate these issues whereas ‘Belfast Confetti’ uses a lot more rhetorical questions to make the reader truly think and realise war affects everything even a person’s identity. Futility – this is another poem about the First World War trenches. It also deals with the horror of war, but from a different point of view. Owen considers the futility of war in a moment of peace. Hughes places his poem in the heat of the action. Futility is about mourning. Bayonet Charge is about dying. Both poems, however, use a contrast between war and nature to express their feelings. Belfast Confetti – this poem also tries to express the actual experience of conflict. It uses a range of language techniques to present feelings of fear and confusion. It also uses form and structure to convey the energy and noise of conflict. Being poets, both Carson and Hughes also show how language and thought become impossible when challenged by action and violence.

In "The Charge of the Light Brigade" there are six stanzas whereas "The falling Leaves" only has one stanza. Alfred Tennyson uses each of the six stanzas like a different chapter in a book because each stanza is describing a different event in the battle, this splits up the poem for us and helps to organise our thoughts. Each stanza also appears to get more horrifying and bloody as the poem goes on which shows Tennyson using the stanzas to build up the point that he was trying to get across that these men should not be forgotten. Margaret Cole in "The Falling Leaves", however, only wrote one stanza with one sentence which is split into two parts; the half which describes what she sees and the half which describes what she thinks. The fact that it is all one sentence suggests that it was a train of thought that had been playing on her mind for a little while and she needed to get it off her chest which is why it all seems to come out so quickly - this suggests that as it had been playing on her mind the war was quite horrific to leave an impression on her like this.      

Tennyson doesn't use much rhyme in his poem but I think the words he does use rhyme on help to emphasise the point he is trying to get across to the reader. For example he rhymes the two words "hundred" and "blunder'd" which illustrates two things; how many: the huge amount of people that were killed and also the reason why these people died due to miscommunications. Whereas Cole in "The Falling Leaves" uses an ABCABCDEFDEF rhyming scheme which is completely different to "The Charge of the Light Brigade".      

Another similarity between the poems is how they both focus attention on the destructiveness and horror of war. In "The Charge of the Light Brigade" the destructiveness of war is highlighted through the use of imagery. One example of this was when Tennyson was describing the Brigade as riding "Into the jaws of Death/Into the mouth of Hell" which shows that perhaps even thought they knew they were going to die they rode onwards on anyway, the image itself of "the jaws of Death" is quite scary and adds to the impact that Tennyson is trying to get across. While Tennyson uses quite prolific imagery Cole is a lot more subdued in the way she describes the dying in her poem; she actually compares them to leaves and snow. The metaphors "I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree" and "They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon" compare the likeness between leaves, snowflakes and soldiers - leaves fall in autumn, snowflakes fall in winter and soldiers fall in war, in the case of the soldier by fall the poet is trying to get across the fact that they die and just how impermanent the soldiers are as leaves die after one year and snow will only usually last about a week, the poet is showing the shortness of the soldiers' lives and how horrific it is. However at the same time it may actually show that she respects the soldiers for what they are doing and believes that war is just a part of life, like leaves falling from trees and snowflakes falling from clouds are.

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