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"Compare how Gillian Clarke and Seamus Heaney present different images of the past".

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Introduction

"Compare how Gillian Clarke and Seamus Heaney present different images of the past" Both poets, Seamus Heaney and Gillian have different nationalities and backgrounds. Seamus Heaney is from a traditional Irish Farming background. The majority of his family are also farmers. Whereas Gillian Clarke is Welsh, and was probably bought up in an urban background. Heaney indicates from his poems that he wants to share his past memories; he wants people to know about periods of his youth life. All his poems are centred on past memories. In comparison to Gillian Clarke whose work in poems are about what memories are, and reasons for respecting memories. 'Follower', by Heaney is about his life on the farm. From the first line he starts to discuss his images from the past. "My father worked with a horse-plough" The rest of the first verse describes what image Heaney had of his father. "His shoulders globed like a full sail strung ... ... strained at his clicking tongue." This verse shows that his father is a strong, powerful figure. It gives a good impression of him. "horse strained at his clicking tongue" This implies he is a skilled worker, as all he has to do is click his tongue and the horses strained for him. In the second verse Heaney talks about his father being "an expert", and this is emphasised, as this is what this verse starts with. ...read more.

Middle

"...the rooms, the women who tended them, the dressers of glinting jugs, the lines of sweet washing between trees." This quote may be implying that all this is going to be lost, as no one can see into the mind of the daughter, and experience all this for themselves. "The stations with their cabbage-patches and tubbed geraniums are closed...." All that this quote shows is that the poem is set in past tense. To finish the poem an example of personification is used. "...and the trains' long cries are swallowed in the throats of tunnels." This, the last sentence of the poem has a large message which is that memories are beginning to disappear and maybe something needs to be done about it. In 'Mid-term break', Heaney again presents more images of the past, from his childhood. The title of this poem 'Mid-term break' implies that that Seamus Heaney may be taking some time of school, due to some sort of interruption. The first verse starts of telling the readers that Heaney was at the school sick bay. "At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home." This may stat to build suspense, as readers may wonder why the neighbours drove Heaney home and not his parents. "In the porch I met my father crying..." This kind of strange, as in 'Follower', the father has been described as being a strong figure, so this adds to suspense and tensions, what has made him so weak. ...read more.

Conclusion

"He doesn't care. It's a joke to him..." This is the start of the second verse; the 'he' is probably the JCB driver, and this driver apparently doesn't care what he is doing, as Gillian Clarke expects him to be grieving for the lost of the building. Gillian Clarke describes these buildings as the handwriting of the city. "Too much comes down in the deaths of the warehouses. Brick dust, shards of Caernarfon slate. Blood on our hands." Demolishing these buildings destroys a lot, as so many memories will be lost with the building. People blame for this is our generation. What Gillian Clarke is trying to say through from this poem is that memories are important and should be valued with respect. But generations are ignoring this so what is happening is that current generations come and destroy the work of previous generations. Heaney and Gillian Clarke both want to discuss memories and the past. But Heaney wants to discuss memories he has of certain events, and he wants his memories to be very public, this is not the case with Gillian Clarke. As she in her poems discusses why memories are important, and why all efforts should be made in looking after them and also that memories are personal things. Gillian Clarke therefore doesn't talk about specific events in her life which she has memories about, but instead of memories as general and the importance of them. Both of these poets value and respect memories. ...read more.

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