• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Miracle on St. David's Day by Gillian Clarke - How does the poet use subject, theme, language and poetic techniques to engage the reader?

Extracts from this document...


Miracle on St. David's Day by Gillian Clarke How does the poet use subject, theme, language and poetic techniques to engage the reader? The poem is about a 'miracle' that occurs on St. David's Day, when a dumb man is touched by the power of a poem. The poet, Gillian Clarke, visits a mental hospital and recites poems to the patients. One of the poems that Gillian Clarke reads is called 'The Daffodils' by William Wordsworth. The continuous theme running throughout Gillian Clarke's poem is the healing power of nature and how nature can even cure the damaged minds of people who were thought of as incurable. Gillian Clarke finds nature of great importance. This may be the reason she reads the poem 'The Daffodils' at the mental hospital in the first place. I am lead to believe that she starts reading the poem and the dumb man follows on from her lead. The dumb man finds his freedom through a poem about nature, so Gillian Clarke believes nature has healing powers. ...read more.


When we meet the woman sitting in a cage of first March sun, Gillian Clarke uses deliberate repetition of the word not when she describes the woman's actions. The woman sits "not listening, not seeing, not feeling". The woman appears caged inside herself, as a result she is not hearing the words and appears vacant. This repetition causes one to imagine how limiting her life must be because she absent to world and gives reason for one to sympathise with her. Gillian Clarke causes the readers to take pity on the "big mild man", because she explains that although the man us big on the exterior, he is mild on the interior. I feel for this dumb man because he has to be led to his chair, whereas any ordinary man would be independent. I also find it interesting that Gillian Clarke uses an oxymoron to survey how the patients appear trapped inside themselves. Gillian Clarke reads to their "presences, absences". Again, on the exterior, the patients seem present, but on the interior, their minds are absent. ...read more.


This is the point in the poem where we realise the power of speech and nature, which Gillian Clarke believes very strongly in. I find "that once he had something to say", very moving, because it was only at that point that I could believe that the man really had not spoken for such a long time and now he had been released with the strength of a poem. I think "the daffodils are flame" is a very effective way to finish the poem because it is rounding off with the daffodils where it first started. As the main theme of the poem is the power of nature, I feel that it is an excellent way to finish. "Flame," means that the daffodils appear to become brighter, even when they are not, to symbolise the end of the "miracle" workings. When I first read the poem, I was puzzled by the different figures of speech that Gillian Clarke uses, but after reading it again, I found them very inventive. The poem left me with a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment, because the thought that nature has healing properties is awe-inspiring. - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level William Wordsworth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level William Wordsworth essays

  1. Compare and Contrast Hopkins' and Longfellows' attitude to the natural world in

    up at heaven as he appreciates the beauty of "skies of couple - colour" implying that the sky's beauty was the work of God. This image also lends a sweeping panoramic aspect to his poetic attention as I imagine the vast immeasurable skies above.

  2. Miracle on St David's Day by Gillian Clarke

    By the use of having the woman saying humorous things, Gillian Clarke is also contrasting her with the other patients at the home, as she is the only one who is talking. The poem also uses poetic devises such as personification, "An afternoon yellow and open mouthed".

  1. How do poems 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth and 'Miracle on St. David's Day' by ...

    of it, yet he was so engrossed with it he includes repetition. He uses the word "wealth" as if it is like a rich person with no limit to their cash flow, so not fully appreciating what he's got. In the last stanza it seems that the love Wordsworth encountered is in the past, he is reminiscing.

  2. William Wordsworth's `The Daffodils' compared to Gillian Clarke's 'Miracle on St David's Day'

    Wordsworth is interested in nature and man's solitary relationship with the spirit of nature, whereas Clarke is interested in the people that she is writing her poem about - the mentally ill patients. Clarke doesn't describe the daffodils; she describes the patients, whereas Wordsworth focuses on the flowers and describes them in great detail.

  1. In your opinion, how successfully does Lyrical Ballads capture the hour of feeling?

    Lyrical Ballads was, he wrote, "one work, in kind tho' not in degree, as an ode is one work; and...our different poems are as different stanzas". Beginning the book with the 'Ancyent Mariner' sets the mood for a journey into "wise passiveness", where the reader is invited to feel, contemplate and experience sublimity and imagination.

  2. Compare how the two poets handle their subject matter in the poems To Daffodils ...

    and the milky way gives the sense of the universe, lots of open space, which cannot be filled. 9-10th lines; "They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay:" 'Never-ending' possibly a sense of immortality. 'Bay' is still setting scenery of the daffodils.

  1. Write about the importance of memory in Wordsworth's "Daffodils" and Clarke's "Miracle on St. ...

    and "crowd" showing that there must have been at least one hundred. This could also mean that the person being described as a cloud being accepted back into society. Wordsworth describes the daffodils as "golden" with illustrates the radiant colour and wealth of the memory.

  2. A comparison of two poems which have the common theme of daffodils

    Each line comprises eight syllables with six lines each. Clarke's poem, on the other hand, contains seven five-line stanzas with lines of varying length no deliberate rhyme-scheme, the use of enjambment and one final section comprising three lines.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work