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Poetry Appreciation – “Mean Time”.

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Introduction

Poetry Appreciation - "Mean Time" This poem concerns a lover mourning the ending of a long, deeply meaningful relationship. The sense of loss is reflected in the surrounding environment and this shift of feeling towards the environment emphasises the narrator's loss. Like many of Carol Ann Duffy's poems, "Mean Time" is written in free verse, with an extremely loose rhyme scheme. Throughout the course of the poem there seems to be very little punctuation. However, there are full stops at the end of each stanza and at the end of "beyond all light," there is a full stop which influences a pause, thus allowing the implications of the sentence to sink into the reader. "Mean Time," the title has three alternative meanings such as: * Greenwich Mean Time - This is used as a metaphoric occasion in the poem, when the clocks go back in autumn, consequently the evenings becoming suddenly darker. ...read more.

Middle

In contrast, all of these positives are easily stolen by time, the subject of the poem. "As I walked through the wrong part of town," reinforces the negative attitude, because the "wrong part of town" implies that it is an insecure area. Once more this relates to the narrator's insecurity and her negative emotions of the ending of the relationship. The second stanza starts "And, of course..." a very dull and apathetic attitude which appears to continue throughout the rest of the verse. The choice of language in the poem is very flat, for example "unmendable rain." Rain is often associated with grief and regrets. Duffy has related the unmendable rain to the feelings of the narrator. Time can be altered easily (sliding back the clocks) yet relationships are not as simple and Duffy emphasises the mistakes made previously cannot now be rectified and remain "unmendable." ...read more.

Conclusion

This, in a sense, could be an excuse and there are hints that with more time, the relationship may have continued. The subject of time is repeated again in stanza four where the verse starts with "But we will be dead..." This appears very conclusive and the narrator is stating that time is inescapable and eventually death will occur. The following line "as we know..." again, relates back to "of course" in verse 2. It has a dull, resigned tone and the narrator states it as a fact. The verse concludes with "These are..." with little reference to the emotions, which have been dealt with earlier in the poem. "Mean Time" is a successful, emotional poem in which it uses the aspects of autumn and time to set the scenes and feeling. Duffy uses autumn as a metaphor throughout the poem to bring the sense of ending and loss, which works extremely well. 1 Richard Gregory October 2002 1 1 ...read more.

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