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All Souls' Morning by Eamon Grennan

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Introduction

Yr 11 IB English: Dianna Gu All Souls' Morning by Eamon Grennan All Souls' Morning by Eamon Grennan is a delightful poem of lyrical warmth and contrast. It is a poem of love, commenting not only on love between human beings but between 'man's best friend', dogs and humans as well. As an Irish Poets, Grennan writes it with a sense of mystery throughout the poem's rhythmically fast run-on lines and circular motion. Grennan writes in both the ancient tradition of mournful remembrance in attention to the natural world and the modern impulse to seize and preserve the moment. He is a religious writer and once quoted: "In the poetry I write there's a certain attempt at reanimation. Particularly if you're a lapsed Catholic, you look for versions of reconciliation, consolation, something to hold onto in the face of disappearance. . . As far as I'm concerned, poetry is about elegy. Every poem is a memory of some kind, a celebratory elegy. Poems are like shells. Something is gone and that's why you write." Grennan writes this poem by working their way from the interior, domestic scene outward, thus successfully widening the scope of the poem. The title of the poem is 'All Souls' Morning". All Souls' Day, in the Roman Catholic church, a festival falling on November 2, the object of which is, by prayers and almsgiving, to assist souls in purgatory. ...read more.

Middle

knows his neighbour from sight and not from person, yet he is somehow able to portray a certain 'bond' between the two people. "That man" who walks his dog every morning is described in an almost affectionate way. The man's shoulders are described as "bent" as he struggles against the weather, which is almost a metaphor of a struggle against life; a soul cast upon the rocks, to release its sins. The use of alliteration is also adopted by Grennan to give emphases on words and slow down the fast run on lines of the poem. He uses phrase like "heavy head" to slow down the line and by using the harsh 'h' symbol, thus emphasising the man's struggles against the weather. "Cherry-red" describes the dog's leash; it is a quite bright contrast from the man's dismal walk and "pale hand". This seems to indicate that the man is loosing his strength, losing his battle with nature. Grennan has an incredible ability to manipulate and change situations from dismal and sad, to warm and happy, and then again to dismal. The "dark tan of oak leaves" generates a luxurious shade of brown in our minds as well as perhaps associating itself with the season of autumn and dying away. Hence hinting that the dog has been a life long companion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Next, Grennan describes the night, and thinking of his loved ones who have passed away, morning their souls, "hearing them whisper in the wall". From that point on Grenna returns to the domestic scene, an immediate change takes place as the cosy household is filled with moment. The tone of the poem changes from the harshness of outside to a warmth of the inside. Once again we see the use of onomatopoeia, "clattering" to the kitchen for breakfast, portraying moment of the house, as well as been direct juxtaposition to the 'outside world'. The poem ends with the line "The house quickens", completing the cyclic loop of the poem, and expressing his retreat back into the domestic world. Eamon Grennan's poem "All Souls Morning" begins with the notion of harmony and warmth, and ends with it. It is a clear picture of Grennan's transition through life and his experiences. The poem is dedicated to following the path of love through life, the tragedy that may befall people, and finally the transition through death and passage of souls through the after-life, described so well using winter as its metaphor. All Souls' Morning is poem of lyrical warmth, mystery and love. It symbolises the journey of death seen though winter. Grennan, throughout the poem, shows an immense skill of triggering the imagination and sense of the reader, creating a most colourful and intriguing piece of art. ...read more.

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