Rattlebag poetry notes

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  • Created on: 15-05-14 18:47
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As the teams head-brass flashed out
1. What is the poet trying to say?
- Themes: mortality, war, danger and destruction
- Other themes: fate, loss (hope/life/beauty/friends), possibilities of happiness (if events had
been different/through desensitisation to grief)
- War is destructive, but hope at end
- We have no control over our future
2. Think about the diction and voice/speakers tone
- Unpoetic diction is messy- dialogue, few rhymes, odd word order- describing war as it is, not in
picturesque manner
- Unnatural diction in 2nd stanza (lines 1-3) suggests unnaturalness of wartime- life no longer
straightforward- troubled
- "Lose my head"- bitter joke brings out tragedy and horror of situation
- Tone is dark at first as all is lost
- Grieving in the middle as friends and family remembered
- 2 possible readings of ending:
- Hopeful and cathartic as joy returns and the soil has been turned, lovers return, when
"horses started" for the "last time," indicates that it is last time despair will be felt = war
will never return, stumbling is reminiscent of a childs first steps
- Elegiac as complicated diction (crumble and topple sound harsh) suggest that this
continuous work is against their will, and they only do it because they must, stumbling
reminiscent of someone dying
- Wishful as better world reflected upon- "would have been different"- yearning shows hope is
3. Write about and analyse the imagery
- "lovers disappeared into the wood"- lovers cant survive in the destructive world- society is
drained of love/life/hope
- "fallen elm"- symbolic of fallen world- Garden of Eden imagery- reminder that world is a
dystopian world of sin/death
- "fallow"- nothing is present/growing- waiting for life though, so hint of optimism
- "angle"- unnatural fallen tree discords with nature- shows destructiveness of war
- "instead of treading me down"- threat of death as horse turns- dangerous- reminder of death in
- "faced" "the wood"- wants to run from destruction like lovers- yearning for better world but
knows he must stay- human emotions create pathos
- Field is being ploughed to bring new life- possibility of hope- "clods" "topple over"- ground
(=nature) is moving on- fresh start as lovers return
- "blizzard felled the elm"- blizzard is metaphor for war. War and weather juxtaposed- human
forces vs. Nature- landscape degenerated but with co-operation will yield life again (it is only
"fallow," not abandoned)
- Conversation reflects attempts at normal life- factual not emotional as desensitised after so
- "Only two teams"- team has connotations of community but war has destroyed relationships
(community = Mushrooms)
- "Another world" described to contrast theirs, highlights sadness and destruction
4. Talk about stanzaic shape/lack thereof and effects of the punctuation
- Interruption of lines/rhythm reflect unsteady movement of and interruptions to ploughing-
reflects how natures course was disrupted by war
- 2 stanzas- free verse- split in two to show how even when it seems as though war will stop
everything, life does go on
- Lines unsettlingly broken up with caesura- reflects worlds dysfunction:
- After "again"- reflects how if he went to war he wouldnt return
- After "killed him"- life stopped midway like line
- After negative ideas as they try and dwell on them as little as possible ("Many lost?")

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- "Everything" = infinite other ways life could have been
- "turned" and "leaned" enact turning onto next line
- End-stops:
- At the end of first stanza: seems everything will be destroyed but life continues like poem
- End of line 2: lovers disappearance seems final
- After "war"- reminder of death and destruction brought about
5.…read more

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Valuable: opal, sapphire
5. Think about the voice/speaker
- Use of "I" contrasts "we" and "us" in memories- "she and I" and "the woman" in present
highlights how they are now separated
- Very personal poem
- Hardy is in denial- only ever talks about her in present tense and cannot speak her name or
the word "dead"
6. Think about the tone.…read more

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Oceans bosom"- nature is motherly but humans destroy it- makes destruction seem even
more cruel
- Seeds of "pomegranates" like "jewels"- dark image reminds us of Persephone eating them and
being punished with life in the Underworld- reminder to leave nature untouched
- Oranges like "golden lamps" only cover up the darkness of the "night" (brought on by humans)-
not true light- humans can never return to innocence
- "Apple plants of such a price"- God gave us these on purpose so we would fall…read more

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In metaphor of life, suggesting that she feels outside of society, simply absorbing it
rather than participating in it
- "dry" is repeated to show lack of inspiration
- Modest tone- accepts that she is not as great as Baudelaire
- Exact details used to give her life structure- doesnt want to romanticise it- poet-modern poem
tries to represent reality but accepts that the process is always incomplete
- Emotionally detached though personal poem- stepping back to review life on her birthday
- Present tense…read more

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Tone: grieving for lost trees, yearning ("O")
- "on meadow and river and" "bank"- list shows that everything is affected by loss
- Word order of "my aspens dear" emphasises the importance of trees
- Repetition off "quelled" as he tries to bring back the scene in his mind- but the trees are gone
- "we"- provokes guilt as everyone is to blame- also universalises situation though it is personal
so we feel the grief more
- Compound adjectives used as no word is good…read more

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Think about the diction and voice/speakers tone
- Conversational diction ("I like to think") contrasts deep, philosophical tone
- Moves from present tense, to past tense, then back to present- defines reflecting perspective
of speaker
- 3 sections not separated by stanzas to highlight how the present man is still similar to the boy
that he was
- Nostalgic tone: "And so I dream of going back to be"- lone sentence on its own line adds to
nostalgia- "and" at start of sentence shows how…read more

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Darkness shows how her metaphorical creative vision is gone and she can now see no hope
- Mix of senses as "blinded" by "expressionless sirens" (lack expression for she is numb) builds
3.…read more

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Talk about stanzaic shape and effects of the punctuation
- Odd wording and word arrangement make it seem as though were intruding upon his
thoughts, which are confused- no efforts of continuity/word order
- Tight reign on artistic form expresses lack of emotion/monotonous lack of feeling/artistic
expression as not creative enough to vary it
- Enjambement used in first line ("fast/In") to emphasise continuous snowfall
- Caesura after "between stars" represents empty spaces which frighten him between him and
- Frequent end-stops represent his…read more

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Imagery of birds represent lyrical poets
- "more swift than shadows"- highlights nature and lifes precariousness
- "other monsters rise when those are gone" and "on roars the flood" and "eternity"- nightmare of
storm is neverending, and purity of rebirth is temporary. Wandering is a peaceful verb, but also
has connotations of being lost, so can be negative- ambiguous ending- speaker hints he
believes it will not end though
- "to be free"- speaker wants violence to end but it wont
4.…read more


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