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Compare how poets present the effects of conflict in "Belfast Confetti" and one
other poem from Conflict
While both poems show how conflict and war affect feelings about a place, "The Yellow Palm" is
focused on the decay of the city caused by war whereas "Belfast Confetti" focuses on the trapped
nature and inescapability of war, and also the confusion war can inflict.
Ciaran Carson in "Belfast Confetti" uses structure in order to create a sense of confusion in the
speaker's situation. For example, with the phrase "And the explosion.....Itself" (lines 3-5). On closer
inspection, you can see there are two stanzas, the first with five lines, and the second with four. Each
line, however, spills over so there are additional lines of one or two words. By presenting the poem
like this, Carson is expressing the confusion caused by the riot and bomb. With the phrase "And the
explosion......Itself" (lines 3-5), we even end up reading backwards as our eyes have to move from
right to left across and down the page, creating the sense of confusion that the poet must have been
In contrast Robert Minhinnick in "The Yellow Palm" uses contrast in order to show how conflict has
changed society for the worse. This is achieved through the contrast, between the positive ballad
form and the negative imagery of the story. Furthermore contrast is used between the traditional
images at the start of each verse and the negative images (the consequences of a recent history) to
show the effects of conflict; "as I made my way down Palastine street I smelled the wide Tigris" This
is such an ordinary statement, and almost as he does it every day. Therefore when the description
changes to "I saw a cruise missile" and a shock to the system, it shows how conflict can occur at any
time and disrupt your day to day life.
Furthermore, Ciara Carson in "Belfast Confetti" uses metaphor's in order to show how conflict can
cause confusion of its origins and why it even takes place. For example he writes "I know this
labyrinth so well ­ Balaklava, Raglan, Inkerman, and Odessa Street." These are streets in Belfast,
however they are also names of battles fought in the Crimean war. For the poet to describe these
wars as a "Labyrinth" it also shows the sense of confusion. More importantly as the poet "knows this
Labyrinth so well" it is staggering to see that he can't escape or understand. This shows the effect of
war and how the origins of war are hard to understand.
Finally Minhimick in "The Yellow Palm" uses repetition and symbolism to give a positive and optimistic
feel to the ending, showing how sometimes conflict has an effect but people will fight through it and
find hope. This is done by the repetition of "as I made my way down". Also through the symbolism of
the phrase "and when the same child reached up to touch, the fruit fell into his arms". The repetition
of "As I made my way down Palastine street" shows how the conflict all throughout the poem has not
affected the poet. Therefore, emphasising the metaphor of hope, through the use of the phrase
"and when the same child reached up to touch, the fruit fell into his arms". The yellow dates,
resembles the society of Palastine and by dropping they will be damaged and die. This shows how
conflict's effect can be prevented and peace can be restored.


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