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The Haggard and The Falconer - Sheenagh Pugh
Transcript of The Haggard and The Falconer - Sheenagh Pugh
by Sheenagh Pugh trust in relationships 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 bones: 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 shock at the end of the poem is similar to the end of Duffy's poem 'boy' (page 84). It shifts the poem completely and gives it new meaning. Also, the use of commas in the final stanza mirrors her pleasure - similar to the 'de da de da de da' in
'Girlfriends' and the 'La lala La' in 'Words, Wide Night' When he has gone, she gives
herself ecstacies, 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? 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, watching him
under her eyelids.
There is irony in the title of the poem, because the woman is the one that's in control, despite the representations given in the poem.
The themes in the poem include: power, control, male vs female (hierarchy) and sex, First two stanzas The first two stanzas are about a man who is comparing hmimself to a falconer, trying to tame a haggard, which represents his wife. In the first four lines of the poem, the process of making a hawk is decribed as quite uncomfortable, and therefore makes the reader uncomfortable, as well as it makes the reader see the falconer as "selfless". For the majority of the second stanza, the haggard is presented as a very selfish and malicious being, and comparison to his wife suggests that women share the same qualities of the haggard. The Haggard and the Falconer The ending of the poem is ambiguous, meaning it is open to more than one interpretation, making it unclear. In this stanza it seems as if the falconer's wife is sexually pleasuring herself in her husband's absence because she feels she doesn't need him much like a haggard who will only look after herself."if you can fly, why share it?" shows her selfishness. Last Stanza Comparison to Duffy Poems This poem contrasts quite nicely with many poems found in the The World's Wife collection by Carol Ann Duffy because it is
a). told from a man's perspective, whereas in Duffy's poems from The World's Wife, most poems were told from a female perspective
b). outlining the inadequacies / downfalls of women, whereas in The World's Wife, most poems were outlining the inadequacies of men.
Some similarities between this poem Duffy's "The World's Wife" collection are that they are both about power relationships, disappointment and women creating their own lives. wont always
work out ruthless, serves herself obey
or work with him? Craft/ skill stereotype of independent women Pain/ struggle makes
them closer - like relationships switches to past tense - begins to shift the poem and make it seem more real Suggestion that the wife is like the hawk Shocking twist
to the poem
through structure commas and
alliteration parallel her pleasure extended metaphor is
revealed - she is like the
haggard hawk Rhetorical Question other meaning of