Top Tips 1. Focus on points of comparison, not simply techniques you can spot 2. Think carefully about the question, dont just pick a poem because you remember it 3. Compare, dont just analyse each poem 4. Use quotations that are relevant and link to you point of comparison 5. Mention BOTH poems in each paragraph. Try to avoid doing this separately London William Blake The Poem: Reflects Blakes disillusionment with the state Walking through the streets of London shows the lack of freedom and the poverty Highlights the hypocrisy of the church and monarchy A dark and negative tone
The Poet: The poem was published after the French Revolution London was becoming industrial and Blake expresses his concerns on the impact it was having on the city and the people within it A well-educated eccentric I wandered through each chartered street, Near where the chartered Thames does flow, A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe. In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear: How the chimney-sweeper's cry Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier's sigh Runs in blood down palace-walls. But most, through midnight streets I hear How the youthful harlot's curse Blasts the new-born infant's tear, And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse. Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Power of establishment / loss of power / loss of life / loss of control / effects of tyrannical power / internal pain and suffering Ozymandias Percy Bysshe Shelley The Poem:
Tells the story of the remains of a huge statue that has crumbled in the desert The poem withholds a lot of irony, comments on the corruption of tyranny and mocks the establishment Based on an account on the Pharaoh Rameses The Poet: Percy Shelley came from a wealthy family He was expelled from university for writing about atheism He was a rebel and often fought against the establishment I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear -"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.' Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Loss of power / power of tyranny / power of establishment / satire (mocking the establishment / power of nature / power of time / power of words, legacy / irony / pride, arrogance
Extract from, The Prelude William Wordsworth The Poem: Part of a much longer poem Shows how the events of childhood shapes us as adults Its a revelation, an epiphany The incident took place on Ullswater in the Lake District where Wordsworth grew up The Poet: He was born in Cockermouth in Cumbria, part of the region commonly known as the Lake District, and his birthplace had a huge influence on his writing He went to Cambridge University and just before finishing his studies he set off on a walking tour of Europe, coming into contact with the French Revolution, which informed his writing Wordsworth is believed to have started writing poetry when he was at school; during this time he was orphaned by the death of this father
And serious thoughts; and after I had seen She was an elfin Pinnace; lustily That spectacle, for many days, my brain I dipp'd my oars into the silent Lake, Work'd with a dim and undetermin'd sense And, as I rose upon the stroke, my Boat Of unknown modes of being; in my thoughts Went heaving through the water, like a Swan; There was a darkness, call it solitude, When from behind that craggy Steep, till then Or blank desertion, no familiar shapes The bound of the horizon, a huge Cliff, Of hourly objects, images of trees, As if with voluntary power instinct, Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields; Uprear'd its head. I struck, and struck again But huge and mighty Forms that do not live And, growing still in stature, the huge Cliff
Like living men mov'd slowly through my mind Rose up between me and the stars, and still, By day and were the trouble of my dreams With measur'd motion, like a living thing, Strode after me. With trembling hands I turn'd, And through the silent water stole my way Back to the Cavern of the Willow tree. There, in her mooring-place, I left my Bark, And, through the meadows homeward went, with grave Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Power of nature / power of humanity / Loss / loneliness / internal reflection / Humanity vs Nature
My Last Duchess Robert Browning The Poem: A dramatic monologue The Duke proudly points out a portrait of the Duchess to a visitor The Duke is jealous and tyrannical He has only gained his power over his wife through her death He hints to the idea that he may have killed her The Poet: Robert Browning was born in England but lived in Italy for many years Fascinated by Italian Renaissance He was heavily influenced as a youngster by his father's extensive collection of books and art He married fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett but they had to run away and marry in secret because of her over-protective father That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Fr Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will't please you sit and look at her? I said ``Fr Pandolf'' by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Fr Pandolf chanced to say ``Her mantle laps ``Over my lady's wrist too much,'' or ``Paint
``Must never hope to reproduce the faint ``Half-flush that dies along her throat:'' such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart---how shall I say?---too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace---all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men,---good! but thanked Somehow---I know not how---as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech---(which I have not)---to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, ``Just this ``Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, ``Or there exceed the mark''---and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, -E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Patriarchal power / abuse of power / corruption of tyrannical power / loss of power / power of words, legacy / art, culture / jealousy / reputation, entitlement / pride, arrogance
The Charge of the Light Brigade Alfred Tennyson The Poem: Written in a matter of minutes on December 2nd 1854 Based on the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War The tone is one of pride, there is no morning or anger towards the men who gave the wrong orders History tells us that Lord Regan decided to attack the Russians but his orders to attack was fatefully misinterpreted essentially sending 673 cavalrymen to their death The Poet: Alfred started writing poetry from a young age and published his first poems while still a student at Cambridge. His poems range from those focused on the legend of King Arthur to those dealing with the loss of a loved one. In 1850 he became poet laureate. This meant he had to write important poems about events that affected the British nation. He held this post until his death in 1892, making him the country's longest ever serving laureate.
Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns! he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Forward, the Light Brigade! Was there a man dismayd? Not tho the soldier knew Some one had blunderd: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyd and thunderd; Stormd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred. Flashd all their sabres bare, Flashd as they turnd in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while
All the world wonderd: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right thro the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reeld from the sabre-stroke Shatterd and sunderd. Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volleyd and thunderd; Stormd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred. When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonderd. Honor the charge they made! Honor the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred! Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Power if the establishment / corruption of conflict / futility of war / loss of life / duty / Patriotism vs. Reality / fighting in war / physical
struggle / chaos of war / courage / loyalty / respect / reputation Exposure Wilfred Owen The Poem: Centres around a group of soldiers as they wait in the trench The main conflict is between human and nature Owen shows the extreme conditions these soldiers were subjected to in WW1 The reality of war The Poet: Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 and died in 1918 on week before the end of the war He was treated for shell-shock in 1915 He wrote poetry whilst in the trenches and is known for his honest and horrific recounts of war Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare:
Nature vs. Humanity / Corruption of conflict / futility of war / loss of life / duty / Patriotism vs. Reality / fighting in war / courage Bayonet Charge Ted Hughes The Poem: Recounts the journey of a single soldier describing being in camp to fighting in warfare There is an emphasis on the soldiers terror, shock and confusion A lot of the imagery centres around destruction of peace and the natural scene of a green field The reality of patriotism is shown through the confusion and futility of war The Poet: Ted Hughes was born in Yorkshire and grew up in the countryside He often writes about the countryside, human history and mythology
He served in the RAF for two years Suddenly he awoke and was running raw In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy, Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing Bullets smacking the belly out of the air He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm; The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, In bewilderment then he almost stopped In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs Listening between his footfalls for the reason Of his still running, and his foot hung like
Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide Open silent, its eyes standing out. He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge, King, honour, human dignity, etcetera Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm To get out of that blue crackling air His terrors touchy dynamite. Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Internal struggle / fighting in war / Patriotism vs. Reality / futility of conflict / loss of life / loss of humanity / Nature vs. Humanity
Remains Simon Armitage The Poem: Written from the perspective of a soldier The soldier recounts a memory from war He is haunted by the memory a suggestion that he suffers from PTSD The colloquialism within this poem emphasises the horror and makes his internal scarring more powerful The Poet: Armitage interviewed soldiers fighting in the war and wrote a series of poems that recount their experiences and express their attitude to war Each of his poems focus on a flashback scene that a soldier struggles to forget This poem was written for a soldier who served in Basra, Iraq On another occasion, we got sent out to tackle looters raiding a bank. And one of them legs it up the road,
probably armed, possibly not. Well myself and somebody else and somebody else are all of the same mind, so all three of us open fire. Three of a kind all letting fly, and I swear I see every round as it rips through his life I see broad daylight on the other side. So weve hit this looter a dozen times and hes there on the ground, sort of inside out, and he bursts again through the doors of the bank. Sleep, and hes probably armed, and possibly not. Dream, and hes torn apart by a dozen rounds. And the drink and the drugs wont flush him out hes here in my head when I close my eyes, dug in behind enemy lines,
not left for dead in some distant, sun-stunned, sand-smothered land or six-feet-under in desert sand, but near to the knuckle, here and now, his bloody life in my bloody hands. pain itself, the image of agony. One of my mates goes by and tosses his guts back into his body. Then hes carted off in the back of a lorry. End of story, except not really. His blood-shadow stays on the street, and out on patrol I walk right over it week after week. Then Im home on leave. But I blink Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare:
Internal struggle / fighting in war / futility of war / adjusting to domesticated life / physical pain / Patriotism vs. Reality / loss of life / emotional pain Poppies Jane Weir The Poem: Nature of grief The poetic voice is a mother talking directly to her son She is struggling to come to terms with his death The Poet: Jane Weir grew up in Northern Ireland during the troubled 1980s It is set in the present day but reaches back to the beginning of poppy Armistice tradition Carol Ann Duffy (the poet laureate at the time) asked a number of poets to compose a poem that reflected the struggle and inner conflict of the soldiers dying in Iraq and Afganistan
After you'd gone I went into your bedroom, Three days before Armistice Sunday released a song bird from its cage. and poppies had already been placed Later a single dove flew from the pear tree, on individual war graves. Before you left, I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals, and this is where it has led me, spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade skirting the church yard walls, my stomach busy making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without of yellow bias binding around your blazer. a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves. Sellotape bandaged around my hand, On reaching the top of the hill I traced I rounded up as many white cat hairs the inscriptions on the war memorial,
as I could, smoothed down your shirt's leaned against it like a wishbone. upturned collar, steeled the softening The dove pulled freely against the sky, of my face. I wanted to graze my nose an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear across the tip of your nose, play at your playground voice catching on the wind. being Eskimos like we did when you were little. I resisted the impulse to run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your hair. All my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt, slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked with you, to the front door, threw it open, the world overflowing
like a treasure chest. A split second and you were away, intoxicated. Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Loss of life / loss of childhood innocence/ acceptance of loss / loss of control / internal conflict / emotional pain / adjusting to life after war / futility of war War Photographer Carol Ann Duffy The Poem: The narrative voice describes a photographer n his darkroom a he develops prints from his latest job As the images start to come into view, the narrative voice is horrified at the memories of the violent scenes they witnessed and photographed There are two types of conflict, an internal struggle from the narrative voice and the conflict depicted in the
photographs The Poet: Duffys close friends, Don McCullin and Philip Jones Griffiths, were war photographers Duffy was particularly interested into what makes someone do such a job, photographing the images as opposed to helping. She wondered how easy it was for her friends to detach themselves from what they witnessed In his dark room he is finally alone with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows. The only light is red and softly glows, as though this were a church and he a priest preparing to intone a Mass. Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass. He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays beneath his hands, which did not tremble then
though seem to now. Rural England. Home again to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel, to fields which dont explode beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat. Something is happening. A strangers features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost. He remembers the cries of this mans wife, how he sought approval without words to do what someone must and how the blood stained into foreign dust. A hundred agonies in black and white from which his editor will pick out five or six for Sundays supplement. The readers eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers. From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where he earns his living and they do not care.
Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Loss of life / loss of innocence / internal struggle / duty / futility of war / emotional pain / physical pain / Patriotism vs. Reality Checking Out Me History John Agard The Poem: The speaker focuses on his identity and how it links to his knowledge of history The speaker lists other famous figures from history and questions why he has no knowledge of them He mentions other men and women from other cultures that should be remembered and celebrated and concludes by saying that he will create his own identity based on his heritage The Poet: John Agard was born in Guyana, a Caribbean country in South America
He moved to Britain in 1977 His poetry often examined cultures and identities Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Struggle with identity / power of history / challenging the status quo / power of words, legacy / power of humanity Kamikaze Beatrice Garland The Poem: The testimony of a daughter talking about her father who was a Kamikaze pilot The pilot turns back from his suicide mission The poem explores the moment that the pilot decides to turn around and the way he is treated a s a result Even his children learn to gradually shun him The Poet:
Beatrice Garland was born in Oxford in 1930 Beatrice Garland has said: "I spend a lot of the day listening to other people's worlds". Her poem Kamikaze appears to extend this habit into her imaginative writing, as she recounts a story told by someone else about a place and time beyond the poet's own direct experience The poem perhaps prompts us to, think about the consequences of suicide missions for families in the modern world as well as in past conflicts Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Fundamentalism / loss of life / acceptance of loss / Patriotism vs. Reality / struggle of identity / power of establishment / effects of tyranny / childhood innocence / power of nature https:// www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/we-were-ready-die-ka mikaze-11463674.amp
Storm on the Island Seamus Heaney The Poem: Describes the extreme force of nature The islands occupants try to adapt to the demands nature places on homes and jobs The tone begins confident and calm but changes to describe the weather as violent and aggressive, similar to warfare The Poet: Heaneys father was a farmer in rural County Derry STORMONT Based on a political storm that raged across Northern Ireland We are prepared: we build our houses squat, Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate. This wizened earth has never troubled us With hay, so, as you see, there are no stacks
Or stooks that can be lost. Nor are there trees Which might prove company when it blows full Blast: you know what I mean - leaves and branches Can raise a tragic chorus in a gale So that you listen to the thing you fear Forgetting that it pummels your house too. But there are no trees, no natural shelter. You might think that the sea is company, Exploding comfortably down on the cliffs But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits The very windows, spits like a tame cat Turned savage. We just sit tight while wind dives And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo, We are bombarded with the empty air. Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.
Possible Themes and Ideas to Compare: Power of nature / conflict of Nature vs. Humanity / loss of life / power of tyranny (IRA) / power of fear / fear of the unknown / power of religion Tissue Imtiaz Dharker The Poem: Paper is used as a metaphor for life Consideration of how paper can alter things and refers to the soft thin paper of religious books in particular the Quran Reference to lasting uses for paper maps, receipts and architect drawings each connected to an important aspect of life: a journey, money and home
The Poet: Imtiaz Dharker is a contemporary poet who was born in Pakistan She often deals with themes of identity and the search for meaning Dharker often writes about the way she values things which might often seem trivial Paper that lets the light shine through, this is what could alter things. Paper thinned by age or touching, the kind you find in well-used books, the back of the Koran, where a hand has written in the names and histories, who was born to whom, Fine slips from grocery shops that say how much was sold
and what was paid by credit card might fly our lives like paper kites. An architect could use all this, place layer over layer, luminous script over numbers over line, and never wish to build again with brick the height and weight, who died where and how, on which sepia date,or block, but let the daylight break pages smoothed and stroked and turned through capitals and monoliths, transparent with attention. through the shapes that pride can make, If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift, see how easily they fall away on a sigh, a shift in the direction of the wind.
Maps too. The sun shines through their borderlines, the marks that rivers make, roads, railtracks, mountainfolds, find a way to trace a grand design with living tissue, raise a structure never meant to last, of paper smoothed and stroked and thinned to be transparent, turned into your skin. Possible Key Themes to Compare: Fundamentalism / Power of a god / Power of religious beliefs / power of wisdom / power of time / power of humanity /
power of human essence / instability / loss / power of metaphorical paper The Emigree William Blake The Poem: The speaker is an adult living in exile looking back at the city in which they spent their childhood Although sick with tyrants the speaker has very fond memories of the place They are branded by an impression of sunlight even though it is unattainable, perhaps because it never existed The Poet: From Rumens collection Thinking of Skins Carol Rumens was born in South London and grew up there This fascination is clear in The migre, which deals with a land and a city which for the speaker is permanently elsewhere
There once was a country I left it as a child but my memory of it is sunlight-clear for it seems I never saw it in that November which, I am told, comes to the mildest city. The worst news I receive of it cannot break my original view, the bright, filled paperweight. It may be at war, it may be sick with tyrants, but I am branded by an impression of sunlight. The white streets of that city, the graceful slopes glow even clearer as time rolls its tanks and the frontiers rise between us, close like waves. That childs vocabulary I carried here like a hollow doll, opens and spills a grammar. Soon I shall have every coloured molecule of it. It may by now be a lie, banned by the state but I cant get it off my tongue. It tastes of sunlight.
I have no passport, theres no way back at all but my city comes to me in its own white plane. It lies down in front of me, docile as paper; I comb its hair and love its shining eyes. My city takes me dancing through the city of walls. They accuse me of absence, they circle me. They accuse me of being dark in their free city. My city hides behind me. They mutter death, and my shadow falls as evidence of sunlight. Possible Key Themes to Compare: Loss of life / power of memory / loss of childhood innocence / conflict of identity / exile / acceptance of loss / power of words, legacy / Light vs. Dark
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