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Harry Farrant

on 10 February 2014

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The first two stanzas of this poem can be closely related to that of a Duffy's poems. The first two stanzas show feminism, in a typical way : the first couple of stanzas are about a man comparing himself to a falconer, having to tame a haggard, which in this case is his wife. Which we later learn is ironic as the wife is in control.

Pugh as a poet is very good at adapting the feelings of the reader, for instance in the forth line of the poem the hawk is described as uncomfortable, so makes the reader feel comfortable.
To make a hawk, he sits up and starves
with her; stays with her through the pangs,
the hooded blindness,the sleeplessness aching
in the bone: three days and nights. The effect,
oddly is to bond them, as torturers
the world over could tell you. Afterwards
they're a team: she'll fly for him
and her own pleasure, wear his colours,
take food from his hand, save
her meat for him.

There are some, though,
that will not, and until she flies,
he has no way of knowing. A haggard
is a hawk that takes no partner
and shares nothing. Her keen eyes watch
her own chance; the dizzy vertical stoop
from the air, that catches the throat,
is for her; the kill her profit
and her delight.
The third stanza of this poem in my opinion is used to shift the poem and bring the extended metaphor into reality. For instance this is the first time in which see the word 'she' turn to 'wife'. Also we see how some of the lexical choices chosen by Pugh give the impression the wife is actually in control.

The ending to the poem is ambiguous, meaning it is open to more than one interpretation, making it particularly unclear. In this final stanza the lexical choices suggest that the 'wife' is sexually pleasuring herself when her husband is absent as her attitude is that she doesn't need him. Much like how a haggard doesn't really need her falconer.
Straight away, we can see from the title of the poem that there is some obvious irony injected by Sheenagh Pugh. The title suggests that the women is in control, despite the representations given in the poem.

When it comes to the themes of this poem there are many, including : Relationships, The Representation of men, The Representation of women, The hierarchy between men and women, Identity and then lastly there is a strong sense of change and adaption.
Craft and skill
Shows pain - strength in relationship
shows the presence of a relationship
despite the presence of a relationship, it seem one sided as if she obeys him.
one sided faith
stereotypical of an independent women.
Independent women - always doing things for herself/ classing it as her own desires
independence, ruthlessness, serves herself
The first two stanzas are about the man comparing himself to a falconer; trying to tame a haggard, which is a metaphor for his wife.
So he sits,
light-headed, chilled with hunger,
watching her; awake wondering
what she is; whether he has her.
Some say a haggard is the fault
of the falconer; a want
of devotion; he mustn't fail her.
While she is making, he'll scarcely see
his wife: he went in briefly
two nights ago, before he started
the hawk. His wife, as usual,
lay unmoved, watched him
under her eyelids.

When he has gone, she gives
herself ecstasies, fetching, in the dark,
great raucous breaths, heart hammering,
bright-eyed, exhausted. She could show
him how, but she will not: her love life
needs no helpmate, and if you can fly,
why share it?
Shows the effect that she has on him.
show the doubt in the relationship, which previously through the use of he metaphor we didn't know existed.
switches to past tense and switches poem into reality.
spesificity of the two nights
adds the weight
of truth.
suggests that the wife is hawk like.
shocking twist to the
poem at the end, shown
also by the change in structure.
If you can get pleasure yourself
why share it? Syzygy with language
used in first stanza.
use of polysyndeton to mirror
her pleasure.
Comparisons To Duffy's Poems
This contrasts very nicely to that of a lot of Duffy's poems, firstly:
We are told the poem through a masculine prospective whereas the majority of Duffy's poems are told through a feminine view.
This poem outlines the characteristics and downsides of a women, whereas Duffy usually uses he poem to highlight the downfalls of men.
i feel that the meaning of this poem shows how the female individual is shown from a biased male opinion.
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