Poems: Gillian Clarke

Section 2 English Literature

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She is talking about when she had given birth to her daughter.

'I can remember you, child' The first line shows that the persona is talking personally and directly to her daughter.   'The people and cars talking, Turn at the traffic lights'  The peace and normality of her life before the birth, contrasts with the conflic that is about to follow.   'Fierce confrontation'  They were fighting even before she was born.   'Red rope of love' Here she describes the umbilical cord as a bond between them.

'Fought over' They are in competition with each other.     ' I wrote all over the walls with my words' The shouts of pain from childbirth fill the bare simple room with emotion.     'Tender' Affection between parent and child.

'Seperate. We want, we shouted, To be two, to be ourselves'  Caesura, emphesis on seperate, how important this word is. They unite in wanting to be seperate.   Synatic parallelism- repetition.

'That old rope'  The rope stands for the struggle with her daughter, and the mixed emotions of love and conflict this brings up

'In the dark for one more hour'  The struggle seems to continue, This could be a methaphor for her uncertainty about her feelings towards her daughter.

In 1st person- memories.

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A difficult birth, easter 1998

Its about the birth of a lamb, they thought the mother was infertile, its also about the trouble and the peace treaty in ireland.

'We thought ger barren' They'd given up on hope of the ewe having lambs-just as some had given up hope of peace in northern ireland.    'Good friday' The good friday agreement was a famous peace agreement in northen ireland. In christianity good friday is the date of christs death before his ressurection.

'Quite supper and bottle of wine'  like the last summer jesus's last meal with his disiples.   'Her waters broke' a sign she is ready to give birth.   'Easter 1916, exhased, tamed by pain' when trouble first broke out, the pain referes to both the situation in Belfast and the ewe.

'Two hooves and a muzzle' The lamb is stuck like the peace talks in nothern Ireland.      'The whitecoats come to the women'  Doctors wear white coats and they help the women experiencing difficult birth

'We strain together, harder than we dared' The poet and the ewe struggle together for a common goal like the different sides in an irish peace protest, pulling together for the first time.     'Cradling' The lamb is small and fragile.

'Lamb' Jesus is sometimes called the lamb of God    'Opened door' both the physical chance for the second lamb to be born and the chance for peace.

'The stone rolled away' Christians believed that when the stone at the entrance to christs tomb rolled away it was a sign of his ressurection

The birth of the lamb extended metaphor- message goes all the way through

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Cold Knap Lake

It is a narrative poem , a true story about an artifical lake called Cold Knap hence the name.  The stanzas consis of 4 lines and 6 lines. It is like a fairy story. 'Cold' is a haunting word. It is the name of a lake in wales, a near tragedy.

'Pull a drowned child from the lake' They think she is already dead.     'Dressed in waters long green silk she lay for dead' This is water weed, it is a poignant image because the clothes sound beautiful but they are deadly. She is not dead just looks it.

'A heroine, her red head bowed'  Clarkes mum, saved her life a colour we assiciate with blood.

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