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4 poems written by Tony Harrison

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We've studied 4 poems written by Tony Harrison, which are about a young man whose mother suddenly dropped dead one day. His father was affected by grief. The four poems deal with the relationship between the young man and his father after the mother's death, and they also look at the relationship between husband and wife and mother and son. In the first poem 'Timer', the son talks about how the dad had wanted his wife's wedding ring to go in the fire with her at her cremation, but it didn't burn. He says in the second verse in the poem 'That eternity inscribed with both their names is his surety that they'd be together later.' His dad thought that, though his wife was dead that their love would last forever, this was proven by the fact that her ring didn't burn in the incinerator. He realised that the ring was to last for eternity, and the ring was an insurance that they would be together after death and forever. In other words the love between his dad and his mum was to last forever. ...read more.


The boy says in the poem ' I've got to find the right words on my own. I've got the envelope that he'd been scrawling, mis-spelt, stylistically appalling, but I can't squeeze more love into their stone'. What the boy is trying to say is he has read the letter his father was writing, and it was terribly bad. It is clear to see from this poem that the boy and his father were not getting on. The third poem ' Long Distance' deals with the relationship between the son and his father, two years after the mother's death. There are two sections to this poem. The first section deals with the mother and father's feelings. The second section deals with his own feelings. In the first section of the poem, the death of the mother has most affected the father. He says in the poem. 'Them sweets you brought me, you can have em back. Ah'm diabetic now. Got all the facts'. In the quote above he is telling the son to take the sweets he gave him, because he is diabetic. ...read more.


In the last verse of the poem we find out that the father was a baker the son says 'The baker's man that no will see rise and England made to feel like some dull oaf is smoke, enough to sting one person's eyes and ash (not unlike flour) for one small loaf'. 'Marked with D' comes in a nursery rhyme, and the nursery rhyme is associated with bakers, which automatically relates to the father. My conclusion is the father and the son don't hate each other, but they believe in two different things. You could say that there relationship with each other wasn't that good. Which explains why they are described as 'book ends'. I would say that the Harrison family were quite well off, but they relied too much on the mother. The mother kept them together, and when the mother had gone the family drifted apart. My religious beliefs matched the ones of the father that there was life after death. The thing, which was causing the father grief, was the fact that he was unable to see his wife. The thing, which he was feeling guilty about, was that he couldn't be there for his wife. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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