First 451 words of the document:
Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke
Themes: Memory, danger
Stanzas 1-3: The poet is recalling an event in which her mother rescued a drowning girl.
o These three stanzas are told like a fairytale; there is a beginning, middle and end.
Stanzas 4-5: Clarke questions whether the memory was real or not. In the end she
concludes that memories become murky and unclear that's just how it is.
Thoughts and feelings:
o "Kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her read head bowed" and "My mother gave a
stranger's child her breath" suggest that Clarke idolises her mother as she is brave
o "Was I there?" and the rest of stanza 4 show that Clarke is confused about what's
real and what's imagined. She is questioning whether the event happened or if it
was a story from her childhood which she added her family members to.
o "Where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness..." and the rest of stanzas 4 & 5 are quite
philosophical and this creates a sense of wonder as Clarke tries to answer the
question she's asked herself.
Closing couplet "All lost things lie under closing water, in that lake with the poor man's
daughter." The rhyming couplet brings the poem to a neat conclusion. It also echoes the
form of a fairytale.
Simple lexis (Vocabulary) is used in the first three stanzas to inform the reader that the
event is from a child's perspective.
Enjambment show that the poem is the poet's train of thought
Stanza length The stanzas alternate 4,6,4,6 in a fixed pattern. This emphasises the theme
of memory because the main points are fixed and the details are looser.
Half rhyme (Earth/Breath, bowed/soaked) creates the effect of a distant echo.
The language is dramatic in the first three stanzas and philosophical in the last two.
o "The crowd stood silent" This is very dramatic and sounds almost too amazing to
be true which suggests that the event didn't actually happen
o "We once watched..." sounds like `Once upon a time' which you often see at the
beginning of fairytales.
Alliteration: "Drawn by the dread of it" This adds dramatic flair to the poem and prolongs
the excitement and anticipation of the reader as they wait to discover the fate of the girl.
Other pages in this set
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Dressed in water's long green silk" This suggests that the girl is covered with pond
weeds after being rescued from the lake. It's similar to the description of
princesses' dresses in fairytales; perhaps suggesting that the event was fictious.
o "Satiny mud blooms in cloudiness..." This describes how memories can become
muddled and unclear. However, "Bloom" suggests that although not all memories
are real they still provoke happy feelings.…read more