John Agard - Flag
Agard begins by questioning the importance of the flag by saying 'whats that fluttering in a breeze?'.
He Repeats this kind of question ijn the first 4 stanzas by using the word 'that' to show that its is nothing of importance in reality, but symbolic of so much more.
He uses poetic techniques such as couplets and enjambment to describe what the flag represents.
He also uses literary devices such as rhetorical questions and personification to show the patriotic power of the flag and how it can lead to war, rebellion and the growth of a country.
The poem uses the flag as a symbol of patriotism, through a series of answers and questions it highlights the power of this symbol, a symbol of national pride. He tries to show how the flag can inspire loyalty and great bravery although the imagery in the poem suggests a manifest in war.
In the Poem's final stanza, Agard throws out a challenge and using the line 'Then Blind your conscience til the end', he asks us: does patriotism and nationalism lead us to commit immoral acts?
Simon Armitage - Out of the Blue
This poem by Simon Armitage tells the story of the 9/11 attacks from the viewpoint of an english trader working in the World Trade Centre's North Tower at the time the tower was hit.
The title 'Out of the Blue' is quite ambiguous as it could mean that the plane came out of the blue? Or that he came out of the blue when falling from the tower?
In the first Stanza the last line says 'that a white cotton shirt is twirling, turning.'. This Shows that the speaker is desperate to catch someone’s attention— this is the central conceit of the poem.
This contrasts with the gentle words it uses: ‘twirling’ and ‘turning’ would most likely be used to depict gentle movements and have been used to show the innocence of the trapped person.
Emotional power has been injected into this line through the use of understatement because Armitage feels it impossible to adequately understand the horrors victims would feel.
The contrast in the complexity between the actions twirling and turning might imply his increasing loss of hope.
The continuous use of rhyming couplets are used to make more emphasis on how he is slowly loosing all hope and strength to battle on.
Owen Sheers - Mametz Wood
Inspired by a trip to the battle field on the 85th anniversary of the battle of the Somme.
Battle of Mametz Wood was in July 1916.
Placed name is used because people know that it was real, creates sympathy, people may have connections with the people who fought.
Enjambment is used in the poem to reflect the never-ending nature of war.
The poet is looking back at what has happened.
There are themes of: violence, memory and place.
'For years afterwards' creates interest for the first line, represents how even 85 years later it still effects us.
'farmers found' soft alliteration creates a calm atmosphere, juxtaposing the previous warfare the poet is reflecting on.
'the wasted young' a pun for how the soldiers shouldn't have died?
'they tended the land back into itself' nurturing imagery, contrast to what has happened. Suggesting they should have been nurtured more by the Generals?
'the china plate of a shoulder blade' represents the fragile nature of humans and peace.
Robert Minhinnick - The Yellow Palm
The whole of this poem is an anecdote describing this person's experience of walking down a street and the many things he comes across. Firstly, every stanza starts with 'As I made my way down Palestine Street'. This demonstrates the fact that on this one street, many things are happening and it also indicates a repetition of when he walks down the street, he notices a different thing each time. This point is also shown because not much punctuation is used in the poem, but at the end of each stanza, there is a full stop, showing that this person goes back and sees a new thing every time they walk down this street. The poem also has a regular rhyming scheme (lines 2,4, and 6 rhyming), which shows a regularity of what this person is witnessing whilst walking down this street. It also shows that the speaker is not at all phased by what is happening, and is therefore used to the idea of war and conflict. In each stanza, the speaker experiences a different sense, for example, in stanza 1, he sees everything happening, whereas in stanza 2, he hears what is going on. This shows that people are affected in many different ways by war and conflict and it isn't just one sense that suffers. In the first stanza, we are introduced to the idea of death: 'I watched a funeral pass'. This fast introduction to death introduces the main idea of the poem to the reader and helps them to prepare for what is to come in the rest of the poem. The first few lines of the first stanza shows a normality, as, although we are introduced to the death of a person, we do not yet know the circumstances of it and therefore assume it was just a normal death. When we read the last line of the first stanza, we are told that the person died by breathing in poison gas, indicating he has been involved in some kind of war.
Imtiaz Dharker - The Right Word
This Poem is set against the sensitive post-9/11 backdrop of the many political and religious tensions ongoing at the time.
The poem consits of 9 stanzas of varying lengths, mirroring the confusion of the speaker in the poem and the gradual movement from outside to inside.
The use of questions and alternative ways of describing someone suggests a poem full of doubt where nothing can be pinned down with certainty. Conclusion, Fear and Mistrust Pervail.
The Right Word focuses on a figure that is in the shadows outside the narrator's house. It is noticeable that the word “outside” appears in the first seven of the poem's nine stanzas, and the word “shadows” or “shadow” in the first six. Because the figure is in the shadows, it is difficult to make out who or what he is, and so the narrator is searching for the right word to identify him.
Dharker makes a reference as she writes 'Just outside the door, lost in shadows, is a child...'. This could be a reference to child soldiers as in the next stanza she also says 'his hand too steady, his eyes too hard'. These two lines could show the after effects that the conflict or war has had on this child.