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Songs of Ourselves
Transcript of Songs of Ourselves
The speaker describes what he see standing from the Westminster Bridge
He find the city beatiful and loves the tranquility of it in the eraly morning
shows the connection between nature and the city (connected by fields, they can blend and live together): "Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky".
Finds the city more beautiful than nature: "Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill"
sincere and surprised tone.
Italian sonnet: shows a structure and a calm atmosphere
2. Pied Beauty
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a priest
Praises God for the beauty of his creations and the diversity of them.
Critisizes how men have conquerred nature: " Landscape plotted and pieced"
Says that nature will provide for men but men have to work in harmony with nature: "And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim"
Language and Structure
Rhyme Scheme: ABC,ABC, DBC, DC. puts a musical (almost hymn-like) quality to the poem.
Tone: thankful, admiring, praising. one of wonder and awe. 3. From Song Of Myself
Theme: Human concerns aren't important, the earth/nature is more important than humanity because it'll remain
Adresess to Earth and Night
Reffers to Earth as a woman denoting a certain physical atraction to it: "Smile O voluptuous cool-breath'd earth!"
Implies that nature has good and bad things: Earthof shine and dark"
Darkness and light also imply diversity, not just good or bad: "Earth of the limpid grey of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Ends with the idea of debt to the erath for the love it gave us and we didn'tgive back.
Free verse: makes it more fluid
4. The City Planners
shows dislike for uniform city which lacks diversity
The city is very carefully planned but nature will destroy all of the planning: "Give memory access to the landscape behind or under the future cracks in the plaster"
Image of snow and blizzard acts as the uncontrolable part of nature
1) "each in his own private blizzard" : image of planners trying to control an uncontrollable natural disaster.
2) "tracing the panic of suburb/ order in a bland madness of snows": Image of snowstorm of human imperfection which is uncontrollable and present in nature. 5. The Planners
(Boey Kim Cheng)
Talks about how people just keep building and push nature back: "Even the sea draws back/ and the skies surrender".
Critisizes how humans tend to forget their mistakes and create a new history: "the pilling will not stop".
completely subjective: poets point of view.
Hopeless tone in second and third stanza because he realizes that his poetry will not change this. objective tone in first stanza
Language and Structure
short sentences give an effect of square
Death 1. The Man with Night Sweats
Thom Gunn 1929-2004
set in the middle of the night, when speaker wakes up in cold damp sheets because the he suffers from aids.
"my flesh was its own shield"
"the given shield was cracked"
"as it to shield it from the pains that will go through me"
"even when I adored the risk that made robust" - pride
3 last lines: stiking imagery of an avalanche contrasted with his hands
poem full of pathos
halph rhyme in fifth stanza
seventh stanza rhyme abandoned 2. The Woodspurge
poem about grief alter somebody’s death
1862 wife died after giving birth to a stillbirth child
poem published on 1870
heartbroken and depressed poem
Speaker narrates a thoughts of an somebody wandering alone in the setting, who sits down, and then observes a woodspurge.
Description of the setting ie: wind… “I had walked on at the wind will”
“between my knees my forehead was”
“my naked ears heard the day pass”
“My eyes, open wide, had the run”
“ten weeds to fix upon”
“woodspurgeflowered, three cups in one”
Complex emotion represented by something simple as nature
Aaaa rhyme scheme
Use of pauses
Edward Thomas 1878- 1917
poem is about war but in a distant way
weather is described and has a parallel to "bleak hut"
talks about the solitude and remembers that he shall die
lots of biblical references: "washing me cleaner" "blessed are the dead" & "helpless among the living and dead"
"love of death"
Repetition of rain
“myriads” of “broken reeds”
2 verses long
Increasing length in lines
use of enjambment
4. Any Soul to Any Body
William Cosmo Monkhouse (1840-1901)
Poem is about death, a death acceptance and about the soul that is ready to part.
review of life and partnership
“so we must part, my body, you and I”
“must journey on my way alone”
shift in tone and the narrative voice changes to third person
”a clod, a prison”
“I have not treated you with the honesty you showed me”
“quietly beneath a stone” contrasts with “all the legions of decay”
body as clumsy and as a jail yuxtaposed to body as a “slave more willing” and a “friend more true”
language is tender and very structural structure
5. From Long Distance
Tony Harrison 1937
Poem is about his father having trouble accepting the death of his mother and how, in turn, he has troubles accepting his fathers death
Most of the poem is about the widowed father and a criticism to him – he still warms her slippers by the fire, he puts hot water bottles in the bed for her, he renews her transport pass, he even “knew she’d just popped out to get the tea”.
“as though his still raw love were such a crime”
“I believe life ends with death, and that is all”
“in my new leather phone there’s your name”
“I still call”
One cannot escape emotions.
Rhyme scheme and rhythm are very exact and steady
language is very simple.
1. A Consumer's Report
First person narrative makes it a personal experience combined with a subjective point of view.
Peter Porter (author) worked in an advertising agency for some time this poem reflects his own personal experience. This is the poet’s interpretation of life, as it deals with life itself, with moral and social issues, afterlife and reincarnation.
Makes fun of life, advertising and consuming reflection of modern life and how the value of living has been diminished into a “product”.
Focus is in responding a report, but as the survey gets longer he simply decides to answer with the truth and in a more extended manner. There’s a use of descriptive and simple language in this poem which is more relevant than in others. Extended metaphor of life.
a) Repetition of 1st person narrative: ‘I had it…’ / ‘In fact I think…’ / I suppose…’ / ‘I’m not sure…’
* Last two lines of poem our nowadays consumers in society are never satisfied with what is offered to them, and are on a constant pursuit in trying to find something better than what they already have.
2. Away, Melancholy
Development of the idea that whenever we feel gloomy or miserable, we must remember that life (human and animal) continues anyway, because time won’t stop. Therefore, we must persevere and not fall into depression and melancholy.
Somehow this poem is a representation of the poet’s life surprising determination to live life to its fullest, even though life would be adverse to her and the pains of her growing illness (died of a brain tumour in 1971).
Revelation of a real uncertainty about the existence of God, and resistance to feel melancholy because life is so irresistibly good and fun, Thoughts about human mankind, alone, could create a God in which to believe in, even when life is completely awful.
Odd, archaic language the melancholic was often at the point of madness (archaic concept).
* Early sections: full of activity.
* Middle section: thoughtful verbs
* End: anguished tone, before a final note on hope.
Whatever the pain and sorrow that modern life can bring, humans – with ‘God’s’ help – will always overcome and survive.
a) Repetition: ‘Away, melancholy / Away with it, let it go.’
b) Rhetorical questions: ‘Are not the trees green, the Earth as green? Does not the wind blow, the fire leap and the rivers flow?’
Feelings and thoughts become clearer as we re-read.
Fascinating the way in which the author speaks about himself as a stranger; important change in narration:
Stanza 1: identifies himself w/ the moon;
Stanza 4 (last stanza): describes as he, the poet, describes what he did with “the author”. (Is this how poems are written?)
Time passes by images are used to indicate the unstoppable flow of time.
a) Paradox: (First stanza).
b) Assonance: ‘moon rolls over the roof’
c) Metaphor: ‘the night sky empties the whole of its contents down.’
4. The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument
Reflects the awe and wonder a parent feels towards his newborn baby. Reflection of how we, clumsy human beings, could have created such a being = something that is beyond our capability, because a baby being so fragile and small, is completely perfect. Complete astonishment, no errors in this creation.
Strange poem, as it combines feelings of wonder with a cold language, which is full of unknown, scientific medical terms. Even though, they do create a sense of joy and amazement.
No emotions are as perfect as the body the spirit is the object that pollutes the body and its image.
List of complex terms that include poetic devices:
a) Alliteration: ‘blind bones.’ / ‘The knee and the knucklebones.’
b) Personification: ‘through the body’s ignorant precision’.
5. Night Sweat
- Personal life of author was often chaotic, and his mental health sometimes unsteady some of his writing reflects that, which is the case of ‘Night Sweat’.
- First person narrative, where he’s trying to find the reason for his night sweats answer seems to lie in trying to find inspiration for writing.
- Two interconnected themes two 14-lined stanzas (sonnets):
1st Stanza: author writes of the exhaustion and nervousness caused by his life as a writer; process of sweating in order to reach inspiration, because he has all the tools for writing, but just cannot find the inspiration he needs. Great amounts of tension at the end of stanza.
2nd Stanza: dedicated to his wife, who bears his exasperation when lacking inspiration for writing. Language suddenly becomes increasingly frightening and obscure; like a feverish sleeping syndrome.
- Poetic devices:
a) Compound words ‘Work-table’.
b) Onomatopoeia ‘Creeping damp’
c) Alliteration ‘Wilted white’ / ‘seamy, shivering’ / ‘washed with light’ / ‘spider’s sack’ / ‘as your heart hops and flutters like a hare.’ / ‘Poor turtle, tortoise, if I cannot clear’.
d) Repetition ‘Always inside me is the child who died, always inside me is his will to die -…’ / ‘One universe, one body’.
6. Pied Beauty
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Author was a deeply intellectual and religious man he had recently turned into a Jesuit priest in 1877, (fits with the year in which the poem was written).
Nature is seen from a subjective point of view God's creation is perfect and unique in every way; poem is an expression of delight and bliss when observing the diversity of nature.
Poem which is thankful for all things we get as humans a spiritual reward from all this beauty.
Just as nature, we as human beings are very different from one another (body and soul), creating diversity in the world.
Tone of awe and wonder reflects the admiration and amazement of the spirit towards this marvelous creation, which is nature.
Attempt to impose order and variety of something beyond our comprehension expression of a metaphysical dimension where all the mysteries of nature and creation are unveiled.
a) Alliteration Whatever is fickle, freckled'
b) Compound words 'Fresh-firecoal, chestnut-falls' (words which are thought to have been invented to try and understand the origin of Nature.)
c) Juxtaposition 'With swift, slow; sweet, sour'
d) Rhetorical questions 'Who knows how?'
1. A Different History 2. Hunting Snake 3. Where I Come From 4. The Bay 5. On Finding a Small Fly
Crushed on a Book 6. Ozymandias Portrays the preservation of Indian values throughout history and how they have adapted with the influences of invading cultures (British colonization).
Divided in two sections: lines 1-18 and lines 19-29.
First section suggests that although life in India is free, there is always pressure to obey the social rules of other ways of life. “The gods roam freely” in contrast with the people who are very restricted ironic.
Trees are sacred therefore it is a “sin” to ill-treat a book, as it would offend the tree from which the paper comes from. This symbol portrays how the Indian culture contrasts with the other ways of life.
Second section discusses the idea of foreign language: all languages have once been the language of an “oppressor” or invader, hated by the culture, but as time passes the foreign language is not only spoken, but also loved by the new generations of the culture “the unborn grandchildren grow to love that strange language”.
Great Pan = Greek god of nature
Sarasvati = Hindu goddess of all arts
Cultural backgrounds make our personal history – “people are made of places”
Structure: long sentences of lists:
List of negative things of the city
List of positive things of the countryside
Language: sensory descriptions (“smell of smog”) and compound words (“sea-gazers”)
Juxtaposition between stanzas 1 and 2:
Stanza 1 refers to the cities which are negative, unnatural and try to be like the countryside but can’t – according to the author; critical tone
Stanza 2 refers to the perfection of the countryside which comes from its imperfections; fond, idyllic tone full of praise
Stanza 3 acts as a conclusion: metaphor to show how people from the cities should be more open minded towards the countryside
Talks about personal history: childhood, and how when passed seems idyllic.
Also refers to humanity and the way our perspectives towards life change as time passes
The Bay (poem) = microcosm of life
The bay = the things that you enjoy as a kid and miss as an adult
Alley overgrown = difficult path adulthood
Veritable garden = easy path with no troubles childhood
Amber water and riding logs upstream = adolescence and its battles
Taniwha = fear and expectations felt when becoming an adult
Spiders = dangerous aspects of life
Currents around the rocks = obstacles of adulthood
Tone: nostalgic and sad
Talks about our significance in history.
“page of death” is the main allegory
Critique: flies leave more mark than us on their page of death
Shakespearean sonnet with Elizabethan language (“thee”, “thou”, “thine”)
Use of language to show purity of the fly: “fair monument”, “thy wings gleam”, “pure relics of a blameless life”.
Use of language to show negativity towards humanity and pessimism towards death: “peril”, “doom”, “the book will close upon us”.
Ozymandias represents power and totalitarism. Author criticizes this by showing how his legacy is destroyed and forgotten in history, portraying power as something insignificant.
Ozymandias = Ramses II, Egyptian emperor
Italian petrarchan sonnet
Changes in narrative (first to third person) give sense of time and distance (legend)
•Superficially: poem about an encounter the speaker had with a snake once. Describes the fear and awe that she felt and how the snake proceeds to hunt.
Metaphorically: poem about the Australian life and its interactions with the aborigine culture (history of Australia).
Snake the aborigines living in Australia and the contrast with the white culture living in the same country
important quote: "looked at each other, and went on": respect for each culture which don’t interact/mix
1. The telephone call 2. He never expected much 3. The cockcroach 4. A birthday Written by Chrsitina Rosetti (27 at that time)
Expresses tremendous joy and exitment when you meet the person you love
It suggest as a "birthday" the day her life really beggins (line 15)
Use of repetition in the first stanza ("my heart")
Change of language between stanzas, first is simple and childish, the it becomes
Story of Bill Tucket operating surgery with instructions through Morse Code.
Bill Tucket lives in an isolated town with not much civilzation
There aren't any doctors around so Bill Tucket who is a tough man asumes the responsability.
Language & structure:
Narrative poem (story-like)
lots of short sentences and clauses to make it sound as Morse Code
Lots of K's and T's to make it sound like Morse Code
Simple colloquial language: "way ut back of the Outback"
8. From Modern Love
Talks about the deteriorating love of a couple, while they're still physically together.
They have been a long time in this situation: "looking through their deadlack years"
Depressive view of modern love.
Language & Srtucture:
Lots of imagery of death: "She WEPT with waking eyes", "Drink the pale drug of silence"
Meredithian Sonnet (16 lines) : sonnets are associated with love
It's a modern sonnet, can be associated with the idea of modern love.
By Thomas Hardy, apreciated landscape and country side, but not a work of god. He considered life was cold and unfeeling for humans.
The poems suggest he didn'y enjoy his long life (86 years)
He accepts that he was never promised much anyway.
Statement by the speaker. Sense and tone of conversation.
Defined rhyme scheme.
Tone about conversation between two old people (that can be deduced from tone, vocabulary, etc) discusing the fundamentals of life, even though there is just one voice speaking.
Repetition effect that make it sound like a conversation.
The speaker seems in some way to be gratefull for some events, he is content with the 'bargain' he recieved.
By Fleur Adock (New Zealand 1934), her poems are centered in ordinary life, they also tend to be ironic, The telephone call is not the exception.
Simple in style, narrative like, conversational.
Focuses on dreams of people, or the irritation when being decieved.
Mainly about values: Are all people immune to greed?
Rush in tone and language at the beggining, like trying to sell something.
Recipient is in shock, very detailed description of emotions.
It implies the message that not matter how ridicolos the sittuation (winnig the lottery even if you didn't bought a ticket) can overcome rational thought.
5. Summer Farm
-A man suddenly realizes the tribiality of his own life,
and understands that he is nothing more than part
of a cycle.
-He's on a farm looking around while laying on the
-Conection between the man and the farm.
-The author uses the setting to convey his ideas.
Language & Structure:
-Aparently simple descriptions with a deep hidden
-Simple rhyme scheeme 7. Where Lies the Land
(Arthur Hugh Clough)
-Allegory of life.
-Sailors only know their destination is far away and they
come from somewhere far behind.
-Use of setting to convey ideas
Language & Structure
-First stanza repeated in the end.
-Sailor's language ("o'er")
-The foaming wake far widening as we go.
-Rhyme scheme AABB