Group of works
Sea Fever............................................................................................................. 5
The Tiger............................................................................................................. 6
We are going to See the Rabbit.......................................................................... 9
My Parents kept me from Children who were Rough....................................... 11
The Lesson......................................................................................................... 13
The Discovery.................................................................................................... 14
Wind by Ted Hughes
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet
Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up -
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,
The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house
Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,
Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
Wind consists of six, four-line stanzas (known as quatrains). There is no clear use of consistent rhyme or rhythm.
The poem is in chronological order; this is quite important as the first three stanzas each indicate a particular time: "all night... the day rose... at noon".
By the final stanza, there is a "fire blazing", which might indicate a further lapse in time.
At first glance, with its reasonably standard quatrains, Wind looks like a tidy, ordered poem. But in fact there is regular use of enjambment as lines from the end of stanzas run into the next.
Hughes uses a mixture of techniques to create a specific sound here. The most obvious, although not the most common, is onomatopoeia, for example:
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills Winds stampeding the fields under the window Floundering black astride and blinding wet
Hughes also uses alliteration, for example: "wind wielded".
Hughes uses different techniques to place images in readers' minds. The two most prominent are personification and use of metaphor.
Hughes uses a metaphor in line one: "This house has been far out at sea all night". Of course, the house hasn't actually been uprooted and set sail. Hughes uses this metaphor to create a sense of isolation and instability, like you might experience when "far out at sea". The wind has cut them off from the rest of the world.
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as. The coal-house door
This is another metaphor. Hughes likens moving alongside of the house to the effort of "scaling" (climbing) a mountain because the wind is so strong. Note how "house-side" is deliberately like 'mountainside'.
Personification is used widely by Hughes in this poem:
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills, Winds stampeding the fields
Hughes brings the woods, hills and winds to life so that their presence in the poem is even more powerful.
The power of the storm and its ability to create fear is reflected through personification in the final line:
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
Even the impassive, inanimate, lifeless stones "cry out" in fear.
Sea Fever by John Masefield
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
The poet expresses his overwhelming need to go back to the seas as the powerful call of the rushing tide is a wild and untamed call that can no longer be denied or be ignored. At this point of time, he wishes for the strong winds of the sea to blow throughout the day and shake the thick white clouds above. Thus, ensuring the continuous sailing of the ship through the rough seas. Watching the ship closely from the shores fills his heart with a high spirit of adventure, to see the thick foam tossed violently by the waves and the sea bubbles blow up to the atmosphere. The loud cries of the seagulls add to his high spirit of adventure.
The final resolution of the poet to leave for the seas and lead a life of a wandering gypsy without a permanent home settlement, keeps the poet focused on the shoreline flight of the sea gulls and the watery paths of the whale, and feel the chill of the strong wind like a wet sharpened knife. Before calling off the day at the sea, and conclude it to a goodnight’s rest, the poet would spend a few moments of the late evening to listen to the tales of his fellow sailors. The bed of the sailor’s cabin would pull him quietly into the realms of sweet dreams till the turn at the helms gets over.
The Tiger by William Blake
Tiger Tiger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tiger Tiger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
The poem begins with the speaker asking a fearsome tiger what kind of divine being could have created it:
“What immortal hand or eye
Could frame they fearful symmetry?” Each subsequent stanza contains further questions, all of which refine this first one. From what part of the cosmos could the tiger’s fiery eyes have come, and who would have dared to handle that fire? What sort of physical presence, and what kind of dark craftsmanship, would have been required to “twist the sinews” of the tiger’s heart? The speaker wonders how, once that horrible heart “began to beat,” its creator would have had the courage to continue the job. Comparing the creator to a blacksmith, he ponders about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have required and the smith who could have wielded them. And when the job was done, the speaker wonders, how would the creator have felt? “Did he smile his work to see?” Could this possibly be the same being who made the lamb?
The poem is comprised of six quatrains in rhymed couplets. The meter is regular and rhythmic, its hammering beat suggestive of the smithy that is the poem’s central image. The simplicity and neat proportions of the poems form perfectly suit its regular structure, in which a string of questions all contribute to the articulation of a single, central idea.
The opening question enacts what will be the single dramatic gesture of the poem, and each subsequent stanza elaborates on this conception. Blake is building on the conventional idea that nature, like a work of art, must in some way contain a reflection of its creator. The tiger is strikingly beautiful yet also horrific in its capacity for violence. What kind of a God, then, could or would design such a terrifying beast as the tiger? In more general terms, what does the undeniable existence of evil and violence in the world tell us about the nature of God, and what does it mean to live in a world where a being can at once contain both beauty and horror?
The tiger initially appears as a strikingly sensuous image. However, as the poem progresses, it takes on a symbolic character, and comes to embody the spiritual and moral problem the poem explores: perfectly beautiful and yet perfectly destructive, Blake’s tiger becomes the symbolic centre for an investigation into the presence of evil in the world. Since the tiger’s remarkable nature exists both in physical and moral terms, the speaker’s questions about its origin must also encompass both physical and moral dimensions. The poem’s series of questions repeatedly ask what sort of physical creative capacity the “fearful symmetry” of the tiger bespeaks; assumedly only a very strong and powerful being could be capable of such a creation.
The smithy represents a traditional image of artistic creation; here Blake applies it to the divine creation of the natural world. The “forging” of the tiger suggests a very physical, laborious, and deliberate kind of making; it emphasizes the awesome physical presence of the tiger and precludes the idea that such a creation could have been in any way accidentally or haphazardly produced. It also continues from the first description of the tiger the imagery of fire with its simultaneous connotations of creation, purification, and destruction. The speaker stands in awe of the tiger as a sheer physical and aesthetic achievement, even as he recoils in horror from the moral implications of such a creation; for the poem addresses not only the question of who could make such a creature as the tiger, but who would perform this act. This is a question of creative responsibility and of will, and the poet carefully includes this moral question with the consideration of physical power. Note, in the third stanza, the parallelism of “shoulder” and “art,” as well as the fact that it is not just the body but also the “heart” of the tiger that is being forged. The repeated use of word the “dare” to replace the “could” of the first stanza introduces a dimension of aspiration and willfulness into the sheer might of the creative act.
The reference to the lamb in the penultimate stanza reminds the reader that a tiger and a lamb have been created by the same God, and raises questions about the implications of this. It also invites a contrast between the perspectives of “experience” and “innocence” represented here. “The Tiger” consists entirely of unanswered questions, and the poet leaves us to awe at the complexity of creation, the sheer magnitude of God’s power, and the inscrutability of divine will. The perspective of experience in this poem involves a sophisticated acknowledgment of what is unexplainable in the universe, presenting evil as the prime example of something that cannot be denied, but will not withstand facile explanation, either.
We are Going to see the Rabbit by Alan Brownjohn
We are going to see the rabbit.
We are going to see the rabbit.
Which rabbit, people say?
Which rabbit , ask the children?
The only rabbit,
The only rabbit in England,
Sitting behind a barbed-wire fence
Under the floodlights, neon lights,
On the only patch of grass
In England, in England
(except the grass by the hoardings
Which doesn’t count.)
We are going to see the rabbit
And we must be there on time.
First we shall go by escalator,
Then we shall go by underground,
And then we shall go by motorway,
And then by helicopterway,
And the last 10 yards we shall have to go
And now we are going
All the way to see the rabbit,
We are nearly there,
We are longing to see it,
And so is the crowd
Which is here in thousands
With mounted policemen
And big loudspeakers
And bands and banners,
And everyone has come a long way.
But soon we shall see it
Sitting and nibbling
The blades of grass
In – but something has gone wrong!
Why is everyone so angry,
Why is everyone jostling
And slanging and complaining?
The rabbit has gone,
Yes, the rabbit has gone.
He has actually burrowed down into the earth
And made himself a warren, under the earth,
Despite all these people,
And what shall we do?
What can we do?
It is all a pity, you must be disappointed,
Go home and do something for today,
Go home again, go home for today.
For you cannot hear the rabbit, under the earth,
Remarking rather sadly to himself, by himself,
As he rests in his warren, under the earth:
‘It won’t be long, they are bound to come,
They are bound to come and find me, even here.’
The poem The Rabbit reflects the present day situation of the world. In these days of urbanization and industrialization the world is constantly losing much of its flora and fauna. In the poem Brownjohn presents an almost completely urbanized and industrialized England left with no nature except the last rabbit and the last „patch of grass‟. The rabbit and the patch of grass are exhibited for the public. People flock to see the „only rabbit in England‟ nibbling grass on the „only patch of grass‟. England is known for its greenery and rabbits. The poet visualizes an extreme situation wherein man has destroyed all rabbits in England except one which is being exhibited with great fanfare.
My Parents Kept me from Children who were Rough by Stephen Spender
My parents kept me from children who were rough and who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes.
Their thighs showed through rags. They ran in the street
And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams.
I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron
And their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms.
I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys
Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.
They were lithe, they sprang out behind hedges
Like dogs to bark at our world. They threw mud
And I looked another way, pretending to smile,
I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled.
Stephen Spender's "My Parents Kept Me from Children who were Rough" has as the focal point of the poem conveyed in the title itself. The verb 'keep' with reference to the context of the poem implies "preventing". However, an analysis will bring to light that the verb'keep' also has its own negative connotations as in the illegitimate "keep". Therefore it also indicates the deed of holding a person "illegally". The notion that the parents were obdurate on restraining the speaker from such company, implies that the speaker desired to befriend them. He portrays the children for the most part with the adjective"rough". That is, they come across as 'rough' both in appearance and attitude. The gist of the title verges on the fact that had these children not been 'rough', the parents would not have remained reluctant on their child befriending them.
These street kids flung words just as they threw stones... their verbalizing was aggressive, impulsive and raw. Generally, the act of throwing stones is intended to provoke someone, to chase someone away or to articulate contempt. One deduces that their choice of words was therefore incorrigibly abusive .They were clothed in torn dresses. These, however were not dictated by fashion, but by abject poverty. They were not patches of fashion; it is their utter paucity that makes them adorn rags. Their scanty clothing rags conspicuously displayed their thighs. It may be noted that whilst the classy and the stylish paraded their thighs in order to make a fashion statement or for the sake of commercial show; these children revealed their thighs as they had no other alternative. Their wandering aimlessly in the street rendered them 'street kids'. They were physically agile and active. They traversed the whole place as they ran; they stripped by the country streams and climbed cliffs. They were not reticent about stripping as they were far from the realm of calculated sophistications. And more significantly, they had no inhibitions, as they had nothing to lose.
The speaker holds in apprehension their belligerent behaviour more than five tigers put together. The phrases "jerking hands"," knees tight on my arms".etc highlight their animal behaviour. The speaker says that their muscles were like iron. It may also allude to their steel nerve .The speaker dreaded the "salt coarse" pointing of these boys who aped the lisping of the speaker behind him on the road. Furthermore, they mocked at him on the road that was a 'public place'. The action 'pointing' suggests the action of scorning at someone as in 'pointing a finger at'. The word 'salt' may allude to their saucy and spicy remarks. Alternatively, it may also refer to the deed of 'rubbing salt over one's coarse wound'. The street kids aggravate the inferior-complex of the speaker, as they taunt at his speech-impediment: his handicap: his lisping.
They are defined by the adjective 'lithe' as they were supple, flexible and agile. This attribute of theirs enabled them spring out from behind hedges underlining their volatile and unpredictable nature. The speaker looks upon them as dogs who would "bark at our world". Note that the pronoun "our" comes across as discriminatory; as it distinguishes between both the worlds. Therefore the speaker is discriminatory in his attitude that manifests itself in an involuntary manner. The children hurled mud at the speaker. The ex-pression "to sling mud" signifies the act of 'making people have a low opinion of themselves by uttering distasteful things about the people in question'. The speaker as a response to the mud-slinging articulates: "I looked another way, pretending to smile." In this way, he tries to evade the situation. The only token of appreciation that the speaker expects from them is a smile, not any remark of love or forgiveness.
"I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled."
Had they smiled back, the speaker would have forgiven them. However, they never did.
The Lesson by Edward Lucie-Smith
“Your father’s gone,” my bald headmaster said.
His shiny dome and brown tobacco jar
Splintered at once in tears. It wasn’t grief.
I cried for knowledge which was bitterer
Than any grief. For there and then I knew
That grief has uses – that a father dead
Could bind the bully’s fist a week or two;
And then I cried for shame, then for relief.
I was a month past ten when I learnt this:
I still remember how the noise was stilled in school-assembly when my grief came in.
Some goldfish in a bowl quietly sculled
Around their shining prison on its shelf.
They were indifferent. All the other eyes
Were turned towards me. Somewhere in myself
Pride, like a goldfish, flashed a sudden fin.
"The Lesson" by Edward Lucie-Smith. The poem is about a young boy facing up to the death of a beloved family member. . In "The Lesson" it is Lucie-Smith who receives news of his fathers death. The poet is merely a child when this traumatic event occurs. The poem expresses the feelings that the boy experienced when he lost a loved one at that time.
The boy can only see this news in the light of his own personal reaction, he is only 10, not old enough to think of the effect this might have on others in his family – and, perhaps surprisingly, the effect on him is positive. Those who have been bullying him will leave him in peace for a little while and the knowledge others have of his father’s death gives him an aura of difference, a way of being special in the eyes of others. So what has he learnt? Maybe that every cloud has a silver lining – he can use the sympathy of others to give him a quieter life, and he now knows what it is like to be the centre of attention.