English poems

HideShow resource information


Subject and theme:

a) African slaves on a ship been taken to work in America.

b) African dance done by the slaves like the motion of a ship moving further away from home.


  • 24 verses but very short line length
  • Echoes the movement of the ship and the dance with its limbo pole.


  • Repetition " down down down... up up up"
  • spiritual dimension
  • chorus repeated lie a chant that African people would sing "limbo like me"
  • Rhythm

1) singing and praising God, looking forward to death and escape to heaven

2) rhythm of the dance

  • " dumb gods" not saving him and his people


  • This is what happened in the past
  • The other poems are from different cultures but this is also from a different time
  • does not exist anymore - is previous way of thinking
  • How people must have felt being part of the slave triangle
1 of 7

Nothing's Changed

Subject and theme:

  • Apartheidin South Africa
  • a town of black people that were moved out so it could be built on for white people BUT they left it derelict and nothings changed.
  • 1980s


  • 7 verses
  • free verse ( no rhyming)
  • lines irregular
  • fourth verse separated - emphasis the seperation of the community they once had


  • Monosylabic words to create harsh sound like the harshness of the poem
  • Repetition of 'and' to show how totally he is affected by issue (anger)

"small mean o of small mean mouth"

1) He is insignificant- still feels like nothing as he did when he was a child

2) image imprinted on the window


  • apartheid has supposedly been taken out of south Africa
  • BUTjust like the building site, nothing had changed.
  • attitudes take longer to change than governments.
2 of 7

Island Man

Subject and theme:

  • Acarrabean man who dreams of the carrabean who is met by dreary london where he is now.
  • contrastbetween the colourful island of grey london.


  • free verse
  • 4 verses - hard to make out:

1)echoes the sea: relaxed island of the carrobeans

2)parts in differretn places - torn between 2 places

3)just waking up - in and out of dreamin ( higgledy-piggledy)

  • enjambement


  • sibilance - soft alliteration to suggest the calm sea and him just waking up.
  • repetition:

"groggily grogglily"-

1)set apart on the line as he is gragely waking up.

2)harsh sounds of london ( north circular traffic)


" muffling muffling"

1) holding his face in the pillow trying to hide from horrid london

2) soft sounds - carrabeans


  • you are a product of whereyou come from (cutlure/ way raised)
  • always a part of you in your subconcious and on your conscience.
3 of 7


Subject and theme:

  • a water pipe bursting in a third world country e.g Africa or India.
  • it tells how the children play in it and rushing to save the precious resource.


  • 4 verses
  • irregular length= drops of waterr flowing from the pipe.
  • sense of rhyme ( half rhyme)


  • similies

"skin cracked like a pod"

1) human skin cracked as dehydrated

2) skin of partched earth.

  • onomatopeia

"splash, cracks, crashes"

  • Metaphor

"silver crashes to the gorund"

1) reflects a silvery colour as it catches the light

2) is precious like silver

" their highlights polished to perfection"

1) water reflecting their edges

"as the blessing sings over their small bones"

1) water is a blessing



  • money is not as important and in the western civilisation we take natres resources for grantes
  • people are fighting for life everyday. living that closely to life and death makes you close to god.
  • we are no longer religious as we have too much.- they have something we dont.
4 of 7

Two scavengers

Subject and theme:

  • 2 bin men are waiting at traffic lights with a posh car and 2 rich people.
  • CONTRAST between their job status'


  • free verse (no rhyming)
  • verses shown by capital letters
  • 8 verses
  • at first sight a confssion of lines
  • bounces from one to the other comparing the 2 sides - joined togther at end by one line.
  • structure echoes theme
  • life meanders like the print meanders on the page


  • imagery

"young blonde women so casally coiffed"


5 of 7

Night of the scorpian

Subject and theme:

  • a mother from a 3rd world country who is stung by a scorpion
  • she is grateful that it was her stung and not her children


  • 2 verses
  • free verse
  • 1 major and then 3 lines at end - telling story - last 3 lines= moral
  • enjambment


  • Repetition- "may" - sounds like a prayer - resort to primitive remedies and payers.
  • Repetition- "more" - neighbours rush to each others aid in tight community and culture

CONTRAST IN LANGUAGE - " God... the evil one"

  • religious not medical
  • primative culture

- holy man - curse and blessing

- incantation - purify

-rites and ceremonies

"peasants cam like swarms of flies"

  • suffer constantly from flies in 3rd world country


  • no matter what culture all mothers would gladly give their life for their children
  • a hand to mouth existance - western world has anti-venum.
  • BELIEF - live closer to god - fighting for life
  • we are removed from any religion -replaced by greed.
  • we have NOTgot soemthing they have - richer in spirit than we are in money.
6 of 7


Subject and theme:

  • poet uses the image of vultures to discuss human beings
  • even people such as the germans in halacaust can love
  • the 2 side of human nature- good an evil in each of us


  • verses indentied -

-1 - vultures

-2- love

3- German

4 summary - man kind


  • alliteration

" icy caverns of a cruel heart"

  • sibilance sounding showing again 2 different side of himan nature
  • harsh sounds

"charnel house ... fumes of human roast"

  • cript where human bones are stored - leads onto concentration camp.
  • CONTRAST -dispicable things dring day and way he is with children
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar English resources:

See all English resources »