HEDGE SCHOOL - SHEERS

Expresses feelings of growing up

Culminates awareness of potential for violence in boys (or humanity)

Sheers uses EPIGRAPH at beginnign of Chaucer's Pardoner who was a bold hyprocrite who preached of the sins of ARVICE (greed of wealth) but proceeded to sell fake relics for personal gain. The line Sheers uses quotes him talking about who he preahes to and how he has no care as to if their souls go to hell. It comes from a tale of three men who go to meet death under a tree only to find treasure and they proceed to plot against eachother and ends in death for all. Sheers possibly picked this to highlight the potential for evil and greed that exists within man

Heaney's poem Blackberry-picking from Death of a Naturalist is a clear inspiration as it also shows the joys of childhood but the pains of adolesence and that transition

Sheers stayed with Heston Blumenthal as a poet in residence at the Fat Duck in Bray which could be an inspiration for the intense decadence he describes

STRUCTURE

4 FREE-VERSE stanzas of unequal length

SESTET (6 lines) sets scene describing how speaker picks blackberries every September on way home from school

The other 3 stanzas reccount different occasions of blackberry picking but become more decadent and dark as they go along

2nd Stanza: speaker describes the blackberries in gustatory (taste) terms as well as visual terms - sensuous experience

3rd Stanza: movements from obvious respect and connoisseurship of the blackberries to full gluttony

Final Stanza: complete shift in tone into confessional of violence towards the blackberries (respect of second stanza contrasts with this disrespect) - destruction of something beautiful

IMAGERY

Sheers continually uses sensuous imagery that creates full bodied images of the boy and the blackberries

Image of richness and over-indulgence from 3rd stanza with "coiled black pearl necklace" and "hedgerow

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