Poems Comparison Essay

Words: 2464
Pages: 10


In the poems you have studied a recurring theme is that of ‘loss’. This can take many forms: death; identity; hope or loss of innocence

Discuss the poets’ treatment of any aspect of the theme of loss in at least 6 of the poems you have studied.
A minimum of 3 poems should be taken from the anthology.

Poems for discussion:
In detail
- Prayer Before Birth (Louis MacNeice)
- Do not go gentle into that good night (Dylan Thomas)
- A mother in a Refugee Camp (Chinua Achebe)
Referred to
- Poem at Thirty-Nine (Alice Walker)
-Death Of A Son (Jon Silkin)
-Mid Term Break(Seamus Heaney)

Loss is universal. An inevitable condition of life; you cannot have one without the
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Despite this, an overwhelming sadness is still felt at the end of the poem due to the contrast between the on-going metaphor of the boy being a house and the descriptive writing that is coupled with it, and then the simplicity and shock of the fact that “he died”.
“Poem at Thirty-Nine” approaches death as a form of loss as well; however this is a memory of a loss rather than the reactions to an immediate or pre-empted loss. Walker describes some of the simple day to day actions that remind her of her father such as “writing deposit slips and checks”. Death is dealt with very simply as she has had time to come to terms with this loss and is honest as she exclaims “how I miss my father” in the first line of the poem. The free-verse structure creates a more relaxed feel while the enjambment reflects the spontaneous thought pattern. However when she writes more philosophically and emotionally punctuation is used to show the deeper thought, “He would have grown to admire the woman I’ve become: cooking, writing, chopping wood, staring into the fire.” The use of the word “would” subtly gives the impression that her relationship with her father was not very strong and that “many of” her “truths must have grieved him before the end”. This changes what would have been an affirmation of his life into something more poignant, concerning potential conflict.
In “A Mother in a Refugee Camp” there is a sense of false hope due to the inevitability of the child’s death.