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“My Box” and “Valentine”.

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Introduction

"My Box" and "Valentine" The poems 'My Box' and 'Valentine' are both based around love. Both poems contain a present given to or received by their partner. ' My Box' by Gillian Clarke is a poem about a box a lover produces himself for his lover. The box symbolises the couple's relationship and memories - as "in my box are twelve black books, where I have written down how we have sanded, oiled and planed..." The box symbolises the memories and the joyous day they shared together. Although the lover has "made the box," it has been created by emotions, feeling and love. The box becomes the romantic image within the poem. In this box are stored memories of the couple's relationship. At the end of each stanza, the poet refers to a "golden tree." This golden tree plays a significant part in the poem, as it reflects the solidness of their relationship. The tree represents the building and growing up of a beautiful relationship - having the branches representing the ups and downs of their time together. 'Valentine' on the other hand, has a far stranger meaning of love than My Box. ...read more.

Middle

In the first stanza of My Box, the poet stresses how beautifully the box has been made - how the lover "fitted hinges and a lock of brass and a bright key." She explains how "he made it out of winter nights, sanded, oiled and planed," this box making it seem as though it took a long time to make it, and creates the box to be very precious to the woman. In the second stanza, she discusses some of the things they have achieved throughout long years of their relationship. She has written this all down in her "twelve black books" and keeps this in the box. In the last stanza, the woman wants her lover and/or people after her to come and read all of this- "I leave it there for you to read or them when we are dead," e.g. good relationships, golden trees are slowly made - in other words they don't come easily but have to be nurtured and worked out. Both poems explain how love is everlasting - the golden tree represents the purity and value of love and the onion represents how you have to peel each layer of your lover to reveal a layer of them. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Lethal." Usually this word is linked with danger and deadly, yet it is used in the poem. The speaker cautions the recipient- that too much commitment could lead to the breaking off of their relationship. Most of the poem sounds as if the lines are natural and spontaneous, being written as the words came to her because there is no rhyme in the poem. However, some of the sounds are carefully arranged. "Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips." The s sounds may suggest a couple kissing. " I give you an onion" is repeated - it reinforces that it not a joke, that she is giving this person an onion and really means it. The poem does not have a regular beat or form as My Box. The lines and stanzas are of irregular length. This could be to give a sense of urgency, or that because traditional poems are often written very regular and may even rhyme, her decision not to confirm to this stereotype is further proof that her love goes beyond the ordinary, and so is that much more special. The tone of the poem is sad and negative, warning her lover not to get too close, yet realistic, but encouraging and warm. My Box has a warm and encouraging tone to it - it is gentle and tender. Rozina Shafi 11Y September 2000 ...read more.

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