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Poetry of Violence and Injustice in Irish History

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Poetry of Violence and Injustice in Irish History Assignment title In what ways do these two poets tell their stories so that readers will be shocked and moved? Which poem shocked and moved you more and why? The two poems that I will be comparing and contrasting are "The Eviction" (from Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland) by the poet called William Allingham and "Claudy" by James Simmons. William Allingham was born in Co, Donegal in 1924 and he died in 1989. During his life he worked as a customs officer, first in Ireland then in England where he settled in 1963. His friends in the literary world were people such as Rosetti and Tennyson. James Simmons died at the age of 68 in June 2001. He taught at Friends School Lisburn for five years before moving to Africa to teach English in a school in Nigeria. He then returned to Coleraine and taught in the University of Ulster. He was born into a Protestant family who lived in Londonderry where his grandfather was the major. His reason for writing the poem "Claudy" was as a result of the I.R.A. setting off three bombs on the morning of July 31st 1972 killing nine people.

Middle

Still the marching tone goes on and still shows no sign of stopping as there are still rhyming couplets at the end of each line, "Cheek" "Speak" The poet for a reason makes this fifth stanza short. He is trying to make us aware of how quickly all their possessions can be reduced to nothing. On line three of this same stanza we hear again of "Paudeen Dhu" trying to make it look as if he feels sorry for them, "With meekly dismal face." On the sixth stanza there is again direct speech by the sheriff, "We have legal hold". As we know, they do have the right legally but is it morally right to do this? Until now we have seen no real trouble with the people leaving, however in the tenth line of stanza six we see the first person to lash out, "Vengeance of God Almighty fall on you." This is the first flash of anger with lack of control. We see a contrast with dignity. On line sixteen we can see the people's desperation because one person said a curse, "Hang heavy round you at your dying day." The poet describes the people listening to this curse as, "breathless" and "fix'd" and this shows that no one has enough energy to say or do anything, but just stand and listen.

Conclusion

The tone its self is quite slow moving, like a kind of drone. Whereas in 'Claudy' the tone was totally different. The tone is very upbeat and it bounces along quite quickly like a lovely summers day. It too has rhyming couplets but for a different reason. They are to keep the bouncy rhythm going. 'The Eviction' is quite long and it is taken from a section of a longer poem however 'Claudy' is shorter and it was originally written as a song. Allingham's poem is a nineteenth Centaury poem whereas Simmons' poem is twentieth Centaury poem. Allingham's style of language is also different to Simmons'. In 'The Eviction the poet used older words like 'Threescore' whereas the language used in 'Claudy' is a lot more modern. Where Allingham keeps a steady story like poem going however Simmons uses shock tactics by letting us know the people one minute then the next minute they are gone. This gets us involved in the poem, however Allingham's way of getting us involved is slightly different. He uses direct speech so that we can feel sorry for them hearing them speak. Overall I find that the poem by James Simmons, 'Claudy', shocked me more. I feel that the shock tactic worked for me. I also liked the upbeat rhythm of 'Claudy' and the way that it is slightly shorter.

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