Intense personal memories and reflections have always been an inspiration to poets. Explore this concept with regards to the poems that you have studied referring to three poems in detail and at least three poems from your wider reading.
The theme of reflections is something frequently explored in literature. It is truly a powerful force. It can bestow courage, feelings of warmth, and even overwhelm you and this is exactly what the below six poets did by manipulating their personal and emotional reflections to generate an emotive impact on us by using a variety of literary devices to present to us a ‘window’ into their pasts. Alice Walker (Poem at Thirty-Nine), U. A. Fanthorpe (Half past Two) and D. H. Lawrence (Piano) have all portrayed powerful emotional memories and reflections in their poems. “Poem At Thirty-Nine” was concerning a woman who learnt everything from her father and desired to do the simple things he did during his life although she was very privileged to acquire an education hence she could better herself in life. “Follower” by Seamus Heaney was a poem that related to the admiration of their parent. “Half-Past Two” evaluated the predicament of a young boy in an after school punishment for “Something Very Wrong” but he was instructed to remain in the schoolroom until “half- past two” but he did not understand the concept of time. “My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough” by Stephen Spender evaluated a childhood problem similarly to “Half-Past Two” where in this case, the title is self-explanatory. “Piano” was a well-defined example of the author of the poem ruminating on his past life, but in particular, music of his childhood making him return to certain events forcefully but he realised how much he has transformed and the memories made him crave to return to the past. “Once Upon A Time” by Gabriel Okara also was a poem where the adult wanted to return to the past but in this poem, it was not for a childhood memory but a quality that was expelled from his mind during adulthood.
D.H. Lawrence’s “Piano” was written in quatrains with 3 stanzas. The structure of 3 stanzas divided the poem into 3 different parts which made it organised and stanzas created a clear space in time. Through the usage of stanzas, the emotional contrasts between his dwelling in his childhood memories and the aftermath are much more distinct and easier to apprehend. With the change from the second to the third stanza, the persona’s memories of delight were juxtaposed with reality settling in where Lawrence’s language now was in the present.
The poet used several poetic devices but one that triumphs was his distinct word placement and perfectly placed words and syllables. This portrayed the intensity of emotion in the poem since he knew the exact phrases and words to maximise the effect of presenting emotions in a sophisticated manner. A perfect example of this would be where instead of just saying “going back” or “train of thought” he used “vista of years.” Another example of this specific word usage was when Lawrence used the phrase “Till I see” which communicated the message in a more powerful manner than “I remember.” The poet chose a particular phrase because he wanted to communicate exact images and not leave a lot of room for assumption since just using “I remember” or “going back” could be a range of memories. He also used phrases such as “A child” to refer to himself and he referred to his mother as “A mother” which made the poem impersonal but it was an attempt to make him detached from the memories and as if he almost didn’t distinguish his past self, seeing that he has changed so much.
Lawrence utilised a variety of poetic devices such as sibilance, onomatopoeia and what I think to be his most effective and successful, his selective diction. The poet has effectively established an enthralling atmosphere for the poem by using sibilance. He used sibilance not just for an atmosphere creation but to add a...
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