AQA Poetry Anthology Cluster 1 - Love & Relationships

Quotes with analysis and comnparisons to other poems in the cluster

  • Created by: Ash
  • Created on: 09-05-18 20:54

When We Two Parted - Lord Byron

"When we two parted / In silence and tears... How should I greet thee? - / With silence and tears"

The repetition of silence and tears in the start and end of the poem gives the poem a cyclical structure, which suggests that the speaker is unable to move on from her or at least feels like that since he believes so as shown by the fact that after "long years" he thinks that he still won't be over her.

Also, the first "silence and tears" can be considered as foreshadowing for how he will greet her after a long time.

"Half broken-hearted / To sever for years."

The word "half" shows that it is only him feeling heartbreak - displaying the theme of unrequited love which is prevalent in the anthology,

The mention of "years" shows that either the breakup happened a long time ago and this guy is still not over it or that it is quite recent and he thinks that they will be seprated for years to come, showing how hopeless he thinks their relationship is.

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When We Two Parted - Lord Byron (2)

"Long, long shall I rue thee / Too deeply to tell ."

His use of the word 'rue' meaning to bitterly regret, suggests that he feels that the relationship was not worth the intense pain he feels now.

Also, makes the reader think they don't feel like their feelings of resenentment, regret and loss should ever change.

"In secret we met - / In silence I grieve "

Again, emphasises that it is only him grieving and not her, displaying unrequited love. Also, it shows his frustration that he can't tell others about the heartbreak he feels since he was in a secret relationship

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When We Two Parted - Lord Byron (3)



  •    Neutral Tones has a muted tone whereas this has a dramatic and hyperbolic narration
  •    Neutral Tones uses lots of natural imagery (as compared to WWTP with just "Dew of the morning") to convey death


  •    Circular structure
  •    Same situation
  •    Use of death imagery ("cold","pale" & "knell")
  •    Ominous and foreboding language

For another comparison, Porphyria's lover can be considered due to rigid/strict rhyme scheme and structures and contrasting use of language around death - Browning uses language to make it seem like his lover is still alive whereas Byron in melodramatic fashion makes her appear dead with "cold","pale" & "knell".

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Love's Philosophy - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"mingle" "mix" "kiss" "clasp"

suggestive words which hint at sexual interactions

Shows speakers physical desire for physical interactions

"The winds of heaven mix for ever"

presents love (the sweet emotion) as divine, natural and something eveything should emulate 

"Nothing in the world is single / All things by a law divine"

presents loving as natural and right suggesting he an his lover should be like the personified lovers in his poem who are in physical union

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Love's Philosophy - Percy Bysshe Shelley (2)

"What are all these kissings worth / If thou kiss not me?"

This shows the speaker to be highly manipulative in order to get what he wants - intimacy / sexual attraction

Rhetorical question - shows desperation along with bigger scale of argument examples

"The winds of heaven mix forever / With a sweet emotion"

Use of religious imagery to put love on a pedestal and show it to be divine

Elevates the state of his love and presents intentions as pure (if he is presenyting it as religious)

"And sunlight clasps the Earth / And the moonbeams kiss the sea - "

personifies sunlight, earth, moonbeams and the sea as lovers. this presents love as natural and how everything should be loving and in pairs. This is an attempt to present physical union with his lover as the next natural and logical step.

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Love's Philosophy - Percy Bysshe Shelley (3)


  • Can be compared with sonnet 29
  • Similarities -natural imagery, similes metaphors, repetition, desperation, simpler structures
  • Differences - different structures (love sonnet & 2 stanza argument), rhyme schemes (ABBA & iambic pentameter)
  • similar themes- obsessive love/desperation and sexual longing
  • Can be compared with Winter swans
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Porphyria's Lover - Robert Browning

"Burning kiss"

Narrators desire almost causes him physical pain. hints at violent nature of narrator and at an unhealthy relationship. ideas of passion

"Heart fit to break"

Displays anguish he feels and how desperate his desire for control is.

It is also ironic since he has physically stopped her heart. (poem is in past tense- he has already killed her when speaking)

"For ever"

The narrator is possessiveand desires her for ever, indicates obsession and is why he kills her - so she can be his forever although dead - but in his mind she is not

"god has not said a word"

Speaker believes since god hasnt acted he has gotten away with it or what he did was right

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Porphyria's Lover - Robert Browning (2)


  • It can be compared with farmer's bride
  • Similarities - unstable narrator, dysfunctional relationship, suppressed woman (Porphyria doll & hunted animal), 1st person descriptive monologue, enjambment, slight resentment echoed towards lover, pathetic fallacy, iambic tetrameter.. The dramatic monologues emphasises the suppression of the women due to their silence in the monologue
  • Similar themes - Obsessive love, Unrequited love
  • Differences - Natural imagery, language, structure, & time passing. PL uses its assymetrical rhyme scheme regularly but in Farmer's Bride it is used on and off to higlight moments.
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Sonnet 29 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"I think of thee! - "

The poet starts abruptly, stating her dilemma - saying her lover is on her mind. The abrupt start and the exclamation mark shows passion and how the narrator has fallen deeply in love with her lover.The Caesura (provided by the dash) provides apause which allows the reader (and speaker) to think about what the speaker is saying and what the speaker is about to say. Archaic language (paired with the older, less popular petrarchan sonnet structure) hints love is timeless 

"my thoughts do twine and bud / About thee, as wild vines, about a tree"

This introduces the extended metaphor, showing her thoughts to be wild vines which envelop her lover, personified as a stable tree (in her mind).This extended metaphor shows how her thoughts have wrapped up and obscured her lover

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Sonnet 29 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning (2)

"Yet, O my palm-tree, be it understood / I will not have my thoughts instead of thee"

This shows a perspective shift where she is beginning to relise that she would not place her thoughts over her lover over his physical presence. This quote contains a biblical allusion ("O my palm tree") which links to fertility and sex, which  links to the idea that she wants him physically, not just mentally. The "O my" is an emotional exclamation, displaying her passion for him.

"Renew thy presence; as a strong tree should"

This turning point (Volta) in the sestet shows how she decides that she wants her lover to "renew" his physical presence in her life, characterized by explosive and urgent languag reflecting the change in her state of mind.

"Drop heavily down, – burst, shattered, everywhere!"

This shows her passion for her lover. "Drop heavily down" could signifyher desire of him renewing his physical prescence in her life or sexually climaxing.The 3 part list supports the interpretation of her lover climaxing since it seems like he has just spunked ejaculated. The caesura, provides a pause which further exaggerates passion

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Sonnet 29 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning (3)


Singh Song! - Both poems present romantically wonderful relationships with obstacles(distance & Business) to overcome. Shows love tyo be overwhelming- overwelms speaker so they can' think about anything else - like in singh song where he is not focused on his cornershop.

They are different due to the differing rhyme schemes and structure.

Letters from Yorkshire - Both talk about impact of distance on relationships. Both use natural imagery. Both have positive long distance relationships shown by the speakers warmth to the intended listener. 

They are different due to structures and the fact that in sonnet 29 - the warmth towards the subject is evident from the start but in LfY it grows as "he" changes to "you".

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Neutral Tones - Thomas Hardy

"Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, / And wrings with wrong"

Alliteration in ‘wrings with wrong’ and assonance in the line ‘keen lessons that love deceives’ creates a bitter sneering tone, reflecting the narrator’s bitterness towards his past relationship. The temporal reference "since then", shows how he is still not over the breakup like Lord Byron.

"The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing" "The sun was white"

The narrator uses oxymorons such as his lover's smile being 'the deadest thing' to show the incompatibility of the lovers and to echo a sense of irregularity.

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Neutral Tones - Thomas Hardy (2)


When we two parted - Both include bitter tones and feelings of resentment echoed towards lover as well as being about the same situation - not being able to get over a breakup. both have cyclical structure and use pronouns to show a degradation of a relationship and use wintry weather and death imagery (cold,plae,knell & starving,deadest,die)

they are different due to how wwtp is melodramatic and highly exxaggerative whereas neutral tonbes is muted and dull as if Hardy is trying to make it seem like the breakup hasn't affected him when it has but Lord Byron acknowledges the full pain he feels.

Winter Swans - Compare similar settings and compare the way in which an estranged couple is presented. Contrast the lack of reunion or resolution (unlike Winter swans)

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Letters from Yorkshire - Maura Dooley

"his knuckles singing"

This shows the man writing - about his world with nature. This shows the man's joy about what he is doing and how much he wants the narrator to know about it which is why he writes to her. Can be talked about in terms of romantic love due to the way that the man comes out of his outside world into her inside world of words and try to communicate with her and share something important to him in a way that is important to her. it shows  her partner writing her letters is a powerful act of love.

"It’s not romance, simply how things are."

This quote can have 2 interpretations with one where it shows the love in the relationship to be familial (not romantic) or the better one  where she means that this letter writing doesn’t fit the traditional definition of grand romantic gestures. This fits in with the idea that Dooley is celebrating smaller (and maybe more meaningful) acts of love - such as sending a letter.

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Letters from Yorkshire - Maura Dooley (2)

"You out there, in the cold, seeing the seasons / turning"

The "you,out there, in the cold" shows how they are apart from each other - with the man being in an outside world of nature since he is described as being "out there" which is somewhere different to her, highlighting the distance. The "seeing the seasons" shows his life to be more active and linked with nature, emphasised by the sibilance (alliteraton of s). The enjambment here gives a sense of seasons changing as well as building a continuous pace like a series of letters.

"me with my heartful of headlines / feeding words onto a blank screen. / Is your life more real because you dig and sow?"

The juxtaposition of how her world is presented here in both positive ("heartful") and negative / monotonous ("feeding words .. blank screen") shows how she is unsure with her own world of work shown by the rhetorical question. Te narrator thinks his life is more meaningful because he is outside, active (shown by active verbs throughout poem) and with nature, seeing things that she can't like the lapwings and seasons changing.

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Letters from Yorkshire - Maura Dooley (3)

"Still, it’s you / who sends me word of that other world / pouring air and light into an envelope"

This quote displays (very positively) how their act of love (sending letters) provides a connection between the two worlds bringing them a way to communicate with each other even though they are away from each other. This is displayed nicely by the metaphor of "pouring air and light" (representative of nature - the man's world) into an "envelope", sending her "word" - the two words representative of her inside world of words. Enjambent provides a continuous pace (like a series of letters) from the start to the end of the poem.

"our souls tap out messages across the icy miles."

The poem, like many others in the cluster, ends on a touching note, by showing how the two lovers are united in soul, through communication. the adjective "icy" could suggest that although they are united by letters the speaker still feel something wrong due to the distance between them that she doen't like so thus calls the distance "icy" - or it could just be wintry weather.

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Letters from Yorkshire - Maura Dooley (4)


Sonnet 29 - Both feature positive long distance relationship with people away from each other. Both have natural imagery. They are different due to LfY having a conversational tone and free verse and Sonnet 29 having a strict and dramatic tone with archaic language, rhymes and exclamations of passion.

Climbing my Granfather - Both poems feature positive long distance relationships (distance through space and distance through time). Both have regular structures but representing different things such as a series of letters or a mountain - both things show stability. They are different due to one being free verse and the other naartive verse. One is conversational/casual and the other dramatic.both use natural imagery and active verbs but for different purposes

Winter Swans- Compare the use of natural imagery in bringing two people together

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The Farmer's Bride - Charlotte Mew

"'twasn't", "fay", "runned away", highglight his colloquial language, uneducation and dialect and characterise him making him seem more real. 

"Her smile went out, and ’twasn’t a woman – more like a little frightened fay"

The simile displays how she seems supernatural to others due to how she behaves while also displaying her fears of other people.

"Shy as a leveret, swift as he, / Straight and slight as a young larch tree’.

This presents a clear sense that she is not quite human. She is also presented as unusual – the rest of the village women speak about her and it seems clear she is much more comfortable around animals then she is around men.The poet clearly uses natural imagery to characterise the farmer and make it so that he can only communicate his emotions and desires through nature. Even in the final stanza, he uses ‘down’ to refer to his bride's hair, which is usually used to refer to animal fur.

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The Farmer's Bride - Charlotte Mew (2)

"I've hardly heard her speak at all" 

This shows the farmer's frustration at the silence of his wife.The poem's form (dramatic monologue) emphasises her silence. The Italics emphasise how he feels left out, slightly envious and growingly obsessive and hints at his unstability mentally, whilst also echoing a resentment towards his lover.

"Sweet as the first wild violets, she, to her wild self. But what to me?"

"She" islated by commas makes a pause on the word, which shows him lingering on the word and the thought of her, indicating obsessiveness.  First concrete link of him feeling love due to the self-cnetred rhetorical question, showing unrequited love.

"She sleeps up in the attic there , alone, poor maid."

He disguises his obseesion and longing (emotional and physical) as sympathy folr her loneliness (really, it is sympathy towards himself for her not loving him)

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The Farmer's Bride - Charlotte Mew (3)

"Oh! my God! the down, the soft young down of her, the brown, the brown of her – her eyes, her hair, her hair!"

The exclamations and repetition highlight emotional distance (despite  physical closeness) to be tormenting to him as well as his extreme loneliness and (unhealthy) longing for her. This highlights his sexual frustration and the zoomorphism of "down" (fur) shows her being "hunted". Repetition highlights a static relationship between the two - nothing new happening/no metaphorical "spring".


Porphyrias lover - (reasons stated before on card 8)

Both set in Winter. Dysfunctional relationship. Similar syntax with an extra clause boldly claiming stuff. 1st person monologue.

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Walking Away - Cecil Day-Lewis

The poem begins with pathetic fallacy, as the ‘leaves are turning’, suggesting transition of the season. This reflects the state of transition the father is witnessing in his son, and the changing nature of their relationship.

" like a satellite, wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away" This quote displays cosmic imagery to display a seperation. it seems forced and upsetting due to the abrupt verb "wrenched". however, the noun sattelite hints that his son has a great purpose in store for him (which he needs to be independent for) and instead of being wrenched out of orbit, his son is being flown into space to be in orbit.

The poem attempts to create a sense of real speech with the use of enjambment and caesura.The use of words such as ‘perhaps’ and ‘roughly’ gives the sense that the poet is struggling to put into words how he feels.The use of dashes makes the reader feel like the narrator’s thoughts are interrupting the flow of the poem.

"like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem’ is a powerful simile and example of natural imagery (as a metaphor for the natural process of growing up and letting go) that embodies the sense of loss Lewis feels but also the inevitability of the process of growing up

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Walking Away - Cecil Day-Lewis (2)

The narrator’s use of abrupt verbs such as ‘wrenched’, ‘scorching’,"fire" and ‘gnaws' helps to describe the process of growing up. There is a sense that the father is struggling to let go of his son, yet knows he must in order to let him grow up. These verbs show how painful the process is, despite its necessity

The word ‘away’ is repeated throughout the poem, which emphasises their separation.Lewis' use of the phrases, ‘loosened from', ‘set free’, and ‘wrenched from’, also helps show the process of separation as his son grows up.

"How selfhood begins with a walking away/And Love is proved in the letting go’

The word 'away' is repeated throughout the poem to show the process of separation. The final line of the poem shows that the narrator has realised that the 'letting go' of his son is a part of his parental love. This realisation shows him accepting this change, which is arguably the overarching message/moral of the poem. Showing necessity of love and lettin go in life.

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Walking Away - Cecil Day-Lewis (3)


Before you were mine - Both explore the sacrificial nature of parenthood. similar structures, retrospective poems, highlight change. memories Different perspectives

Mother, any distance - Same situation of becoming independent from parents. both highlight new change parent/child relationships.differing perspectives.

Follower - Changing parent-child relationship, but from the perspective of a child. Similar uses of time and memory. similar strict structure showing evenly and process of progression

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Eden Rock - Charles Causley

"I had not thought it would be like this."

The final line of the poem breaks with the regularity of the structure of five stanzas, each of four lines. This reflects the sense of unease and lack of resolution to the poem and the barrier between life and death and crossing over to his parents to be reunited. We realise that the narrator may be imagining joining his parents in the afterlife. The isolated line represents how he feels alone without his parents and may be wishing to be reunited. This monosyballic ending slows the pace down and has a childlike simplicity to it - being with his parents makes him feel happy and innocent again and fits in with theidea that heaven for him is reliving a single perfect chilhood memory that could'nt be tainted by anything. This is a touching note, which can provoke an emotional response.

"The sky whitens as if lit by three suns...'

The extraordinary light imagery in this quote contrasts with the ordinary nature of the memory. The moment after this quote marks the reader's realisation that the narrator's parents are on the other side of the stream from him, which shows the suns to be some sort of signal of the speaker's arrival to his parents, which can fit in with many ideas of heaven or an afterlife. Also, three suns fits in with the idea of the holy trinity in Christianity (Charles Causley was religious).

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Eden Rock - Charles Causley (2)


Walking away - Both explore themes of parent child relationships as well as memories/looking to the past. Themes of love and longing for something in the past. differing perspectives and structures. Both have positive endings(depends on your personal ideas) 

Follower - parent-child relationships.Both include memories. Both feature distance (time,death,emotional,age). Eden Rock is more postive and optimistic about the parent(s) than Follower

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Follower - Seamus Heaney

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Mother,any distance - Simon Armitage

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Before you were mine - Carol Ann Duffy

o    Circular structure

§  Narrator describes her mother on the pavement in both the first and last stanza

§  Contrast

§  Narrator's mother having fun and laughing with her friends

§  Teaching her daughter how to dance

o    Playing with time

§  Four equal stanzas which sh§  ows steady passage of time

§  Shift from narrator's present to her mother’s past

§  ‘I’m ten years away from the corner you laugh on’

§  'Now your ghost clatters toward me over George Square’

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Before you were mine - Carol Ann Duffy (2)

"Even then I wanted the bold girl winking in Portobello" "before you were mine" (Title & End)

The poet uses possessive language to describe her mother, imaging that she belonged to her even before she was born.Even the line used as the title, 'before you were mine' suggests irritation at a life before she existed. It shows the narrator's desire to possess her mother entirely,showing love.

‘sparkle and waltz’, ‘stamping stars’, ‘high-heeled red shoes’, "‘Your polka-dot dress blows round your legs. Marilyn’,  "the ballroom with the thousand eyes", " the fizzy, movie tomorrows"

The narrator describes her mother with a sense of excitement and glamour. 

The narrator describes her cries as ‘possessive’ as they take her mother's attention away from her past life and force her to focus on her. Presents parenthood as a burden and sacrificial - things have to be given up for love such as her mother's exciting and glamourous life.

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Before you were mine - Carol Ann Duffy (3)

"The decade ahead of my loud, possessive yell was the best one eh?’

In this poem, the poet suggests that motherhood can be a burden, especially compared to the excitement of life before the 'loud, possessive yell' of a child takes over. This links to the unjustly inevitable domestic duties (emphasised by cyclical poet) some women face in society, highlighting parenthood as a burden. This quote shows guilt from the daughter because of how she had to give up her excitement for her and she feels that it maybe wasn't a fair trade and that she would rather have her mom be how she was than her mother birthing general, she feels that she has ruined her mum's life.

"That glamorous love lasts / where you sparkle and waltz and laugh before you were mine."

This shows the glamour of her mother's life as imagined by the narrator. This also shows the narrator's desire to possess even the memories of the past ('before you were mine'). the repetition of the temporal reference at the end(which is also the title) emphasises how she feels that she is the cause that her mum has lost an exciting life as well as a desire to posess howmother from all periods of time even before she (the speaker) was born.

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Before you were mine - Carol Ann Duffy (4)

Follower - Alternates between past and present and how parent has lost excitement (disappointment due to admiration of former self). same perspective. same regular structure shows the gradual passing of time. Distanced family relationships. Both suggests a negativity towards parents. Both hold role reversals

Possessiveness is a key difference as well as the hidden idea of domestic duties and motherhood being a burden

Walking away - Both present parenthood as sacrificial, look to the past and present distanced family relationships., differing perspectives. similar structures (but represent different things), and differing rhyme schemes (AB,AC...) and blank verse. differing perspectives and genders

Eden rock - Distorted presentation of the parents and the past. Both poems use an amalgamation (mix) of memories and imagined scenes. same perspectives and number of parents. sense os isolation from parents

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Winter Swans - Owen Sheers

"we walked" "we skirted" "The swans came and stopped us"

The pronouns shows how they are united even in a tough period and hints at their reconciliation. They are "silent and apart" at the beginning but at the end they are holding hands without realising it, showing their love has helped them overcome their differences, displaying reconciliation. The verb "Skirt" can hint how they are avoiding conversation with each other because they don't want to talk things over with each other.

Pathetic fallacy("two days for rain","waterlogged Earth","rough weather""flight") shows the negative turbulent state of the couple before their walk.

"They mate for life" - turning point in poem. The direct speech shows the first time they adress each other and it happens to make them reconcile along with the sight of the elegant swans that were settling (reconciling) after flight (fight).

"like boats righting in rough weather."

This metaphoric simile foreshadows the lovers reconcilliation and refers back to the stormy opening (the rough patch in their elationship)

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Winter Swans - Owen Sheers (2)


Letters from Yorkshire - Both show a continuing relationship rather than the beginning or end of one. Both focus on everyday aspects of a relationship. both have examples of natural imagery which brings two people closer. differing structures/endings. touching final notes of unity

Neutral tones - Both use pathetic fallacy and wintry settings. Both presents stagnated relationships (with different results). Both use natural imagery. Pronoouns are used differently.

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Singh Song! - Daljit Nagra

"Hey Singh, ver yoo bin" - punglish dialect used to characterise speaker and create a vivid sense of the speaker's voice, along with the non-standard punctuation. Also, this is the metaphoric chorus of the poem structured like a song, adds to the musical rhythm of the monologue and indicates the narrator's excitement and joy.Poem gets emotive strength from being translated into the poet's own traditional dialect.

"Tartan sari" shows a mix between Indian and british culture which 2nd generation immigrants are more likel to do than stricter 1st gen immigrants. It also challenges the stereotypes of women (lie sonnet 29)  alongside with "my bride, she effing at my mum, in all di colours of Punjabi" which shows her to not be respectful to her in-laws, showing her to be untypical and rebellious

"My bride" repeatedly used

The poet repeats the phrase ‘my bride’ as he describes all the things that he loves about her - from her rebellion to the clash of cultures that she seems to embody.The repetition also indicates his pride in having secured her as his wife and his joy in the new relationship.

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Singh Song! - Daljit Nagra (2)

The repetition of the phrase ‘from di stool each night’ represents their nightly ritual in the corner shop.These repetitive momenta represent the mundane (dull) reality of their lives, but also highlights that it is these daily moments that are the most important for them personally.This a phrase repeated throughout the poem, helping to give it its songlike structure.This also reflects their nightly ritual and how it is these daily moments that are 'priceless' (like the moon and her).

‘My bride / she effing at my mum / in all di colours of Punjabi’

This is an example of the clash of cultures depicted in the poem.It is shown particularly through the mix of the English dialect 'effing' and the Indian, 'in all di colours of Punjabi'.


Sonnet 29 - Both present romantically wonderful poems which both challenge stereotypes of women. They both have relationships with obstacles that need to be overcome. romantic love. Female dominance/equality (both interpretations are valid and they both contradict most relationships)

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Climbing My Grandfather - Andrew Waterhouse

The poem uses the language (lexical field) of rock climbing – ‘do it free’, ‘rope’, ‘net’, ‘traverse’, ‘glassy ridge’, ‘screed’, ‘summit’ and ‘altitude' to show the scale of the task of climbing his grandfather. Rock climbing acts as an extended metaphor throughout the poem to show how simple life was for the child.

"his good heart" "like warm ice"

Shows tenderness and closeness to grandad underneath the chillike naive seriousness (created by tone, verbs and lexical field). this gives a sense of thedeep love the speasker has for his grandad and shows the safety he felt in childhhood (poet comiited suicide in 2001 at age of 43).

"to his thick hair (soft and white at this altitude), reaching for the summit"

The narrator shows us that the memory comes from the perspective of a child (his grandfather's head is a 'summit'). He uses the extended metaphor of rock climbing. dramatic seriousness paints comic image.

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Climbing My Grandfather - Andrew Waterhouse (2)

‘I decide to do it free, without a rope or net.’

This shows the technical language of rock climbing that appears through the poem.The comical image of the child climbing his grandfather's knee contrasts with the technicality of the rock climbing language. Also, links with the idea of safety in good memories and childhood.

"feeling his heat, knowing the slow pulse of his good heart."

Touching final knote. shows stability and unity

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