Poppies by Jane Weir

  • Created by: randall04
  • Created on: 28-10-19 22:05
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  • Poppies by Jane Weir
    • context
      • The poem ‘Poppies’ is set in the present day but reaches right back to the beginning of the Poppy Day tradition. Armistice Sunday began as a way of marking the end of the First World War in 1918. It was set up so people could remember the hundreds and thousands of ordinary men who had been killed in the First World War. Today, the event is used to remember soldiers of all wars who have died since then
      • "turned into felt"- Weir is also a textile artist and this is reflected in her chosen imagery
      • jane Weir is a contemporary poet; she was born in Italy in 1963, and grew up in Italy and Manchester.
      • When Poppies was written, British soldiers were still dying in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a way of trying to understand the suffering that deaths caused, the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy asked a number of writers to compose poems, including Jane Weir
      • Sunday closest to armistice day (11 November), the anniversary of the truce that ended the first world war.
    • form and structure
      • dramatic monologue
        • empasizing the pain caused to the mother by her sons absense
      • written in free verse, differing stanza length, enjambment, caesura
        • this chaotic structure reflects the chaos people at home feel when those are at war
      • enjambment between stanzas on the felt line to reflect how the mother is falling apart without her son
    • quotes
      • blackthorns of your hair. All my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt,slowly melting.
        • can apply to weirs textile background it has enjambment between stanzas possibly showing the mother breaking down without her son
        • the blackthorns could be a symbol of nature highlighting his purity or a biblical ref to jesus's crown of thorns-this woman believes her son is being metaphorically ‘crucified’ unjustly by leaving for battle at a young age. It may also represent the barbed wire used to protect the trenches in the First World War. however he could be picking that hairstyle so,she doent touch him as he feels as if she is oppressive.
        • She feels that her voice has been crushed in a similar way because she’s lost for words after seeing someone she’s raised go to war. She finds it impossible to say a fitting goodbye.   This also fits the semantic field of sewing. It suggests that the speaker is trying to stitch together the gap that war and loss has created throughout the course of the poem.Note also that the asyndetic l
      • spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockadeof yellow bias binding around your blazer.
        • verb spasms has violent connotations, blockade is a form of military formation she is corrupted by worrying for her son. she feels pain because of this. red is symbolic of blood imaging his death
      • with you, to the front door, threw it open, the world overflowing like a treasure chest
        • This aggressive, sudden forceful movement may represent her anger. It may be also be implying that she’s kept her son away from the dangerous ways of the world as a way of protecting him. However now he is grown and at the age of living life for himself.
        • The ‘treasure chest’ is a simile comparing freedom from his mother’s suffocating clutches to the ‘treasure’ of freedom and adventure. The ‘treasure chest’ may also apply to his mother. He was everything to her, and the ‘treasure’ that he was to her now belongs to the world.He is, of course, naïve and doesn’t take into account the dangers. Though the world is full of potential, he chooses to ignore other options and opts to fight. The caesura after the word ‘chest’ highlights this dramatic decision.
      • The dove pulled freely against the sky,
        • The dove” is a primarily, though not exclusively, a Christian symbol of hope and freedom and especially peace. The dove is flying away from the memorial “Freely into the sky” almost as if it was carrying the spirits of the dead away to their final resting place. The mother of the dead soldier is almost begging it to fetch back the spirit and voice of her son, but the word ‘freely’ implies that it ignores her.It also refers to the needle weaving in and out like her emotions of fear and grief. The dove also symbolizes the hope for her son but as it ‘pulled freely against the sky’, it implies that her son has passed away.An interesting observation by one reader is the juxtaposition of ‘pulled’ and ‘freely’ because the bird is still trapped, encased by its troubles, just like the mother in this story.
      • I listened, hoping to hearyour playground voice catching on the wind.
        • This represents the longing of the woman to turn back time; to recapture his ‘playground voice’, that is, the sound of him as a child. She can only hope to hear it ‘catching on the wind’ — a metaphor for elusiveness and fleetingness — like the spirit voice of her dead son.It could also show her wishing she could join her son where he is. It echoes the moment in the previous paragraph where she says: ‘and this is where it has led me’ showing she is being drawn to join him. Finally, she ends at a memorial, another reference to her possibly wanting to end her life
      • After you'd gone I went into your bedroom,released a song bird from its cage.
        • after you;d gone=This is ambiguous and could refer to the time immediately after he left for war. However it could be interpreted as his death. It is therefore a euphemism.  into your bedroom-When a parent’s child is killed, the bedroom of the boy or girl is often kept just as it was before the child passed away. Parents often cannot bring themselves to pack up their dead child’s belongings and so the room stays frozen in time.This line could be interpreted as the mother revisiting her son’s room in order to feel closer to him and grieve. rleased a songbird from its cage-The metaphor may indicate that the mother is the ‘songbird’, and she is releasing all her emotions by crying. She was clearly afraid to cry in front of her son, as she thought he might feel guilty and constrained or  This can also be a metaphor for her “releasing” her son. He has been by her side, metaphorially caged, for years and now she is freeing him into the world, but sadly he might not come back. She is finally trying to overcome her emotional attachment and is letting him go..


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