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Hard Water

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jemma fairchild

on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of Hard Water

Sprackland was born in 1962 in Burton-upon-Trent. She studied English and Philosophy at the University of Kent. She began writing poetry when she was 30. She has won many awards, including the Next Generation Poet in 2004.
What is the poem about?
The poem is about tap water, which varies on where you are in the UK. Water is used to symbolise the place that she lives and the pride she feels about her hometown and her roots. After going on holiday to Wales she realises how much she prefers her harsh home life.
What is the purpose, theme or message?
The narrator feels a fondness for her hometown, although she describes it as industrial and unclean.
The narrator looks forward to coming home from holiday.
Hard water is used as a symbol for people and place of the narrators hometown, and to explore the narrators feelings.
Identify the poet's techniques
Form - the poem is written in the
first person
, with
free verse
no rhyme
scheme to allow the poem to sound natural. It's an
and so follows the traditional form of 3 parts.
I tried the soft stuff on holiday in Wales,
a mania of
and hairwashing,
excitable soap which never rinsed away,
but I loved coming home to this,
Flat. Straight. Like the vowels,
like the straight talk:
hey up me duck
I'd run the tap with its swimming-pool smell,
get it cold and anesthetic. Stand the glass
and let the little fizz of anxiety settle.

Hard Water
About the Poet
by Jean Sprackland
Honest water, bright and not quite clean
The frankness of limestone, of gypsum,
the sour steam of cooling towers,
the alchemical taste of brewing.
On pitiless nights, I had to go for the bus
before last orders. I'd turn up my face,
let rain scald my eyelids and lips.
It couldn't lie. Fell thick
with a payload of acid. No salt -
this rain had forgotten the sea.
I opened my mouth, speaking nothing
in spite of my book-learning.
I let different cleverness wash my tongue.
It tasted of work, the true taste
of don't get mardy
, of
too bloody deep for me,
fierce lovely water that marked me for life
as belonging, regardless.
Structure -
3 stanzas
with each stanza following one main idea:
1 - briefly describes the soft water the narrator experienced in Wales
2 - the hard water representing her home
3 - explores the narrator belonging to the place and its water
Sound - dialogue in the poem is shown in
to portray the
of her home town. Differences between soft and hard water is demonstrated through vocabulary and punctuation.
Long phrases
in the 1st stanza accentuate the soft water, and in the 2nd stanza
short words/sentences
show the bluntness of the hard water.

Imagery - although a positive tone is mainly used, the imagery is sometimes
(e.g. hard water is linked to 'sour steam').
is used the project the narrators own emotions into the water.
sterio typical view of Wales
memories have stayed with her
she misses her home town
local talk shows how she misses her home town
personification projects her emotions into the water
she misses the city's busy lifestyle
limestone is the local rock
the water is chemical and hard-tasting which reflects the city
Brewing like tea / industrial brewing
Industrial buildings
Coldness of the rain / burning of chemicals
The water's harshness
She maybe lives near the sea but the rain has no salt taste and has been taken over by chemicals
The life she lives is reflected in the water
The water belongs to a place, as does she
Full transcript