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Comparison of three poems by Seamus Heaney, Gillian Clarke and Walt Whitman.

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Introduction

Comparison of three poems by Seamus Heaney, Gillian Clarke and Walt Whitman Both poets Heaney and Clarke have hidden depths within their poems. For example in Storm on the Island, "We are bombarded by the empty air. Strange, it is a huge nothing we fear." The vocabulary here evokes the image of a war. "Bombarded" shows us this. The title of this poem indicates the idea of that the island is Ireland as they have a main civil wars between the Catholics and the Protestants. Furthermore October has a much deeper meaning then it seems to reveal. "I must write like the wind, year after year Passing my death-day, winning ground." This conveys a sense of a person desiring to forfill their purpose in life and successfully facing up to mortality. Whitman and Heaney have both written poems, which show death is lurking behind the power of their storms. ...read more.

Middle

Similarly in Patrolling Barnegat the ending symbolizes both the sounds and shapes of the of breaking waves " Shouts of demoniac laughter fitfully piercing and pealing, Waves, air, midnight, their savage trinity lashing," This is reflected by the use of alliteration. Both poems, Storm on the Island and October contain references to nature. For instance in Storm on the island "The wizened earth has never troubled us... Blast: you know what I mean- leaves and branches" This constructs an image of survival of the harsh climate but in deeper context the imagery is aided by sound. Equally October refers to Nature but in a less vicious manner "Then panic running the fields, the grass, the racing leaves" This illustrates that life is getting faster and that maybe the person within the poem is trying to keep up but isn't managing. This quotation presents a thought of speed. Whitman and Heaney both display literary overtones in their poems. ...read more.

Conclusion

Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear." In the same way there is barely any alliteration or assonance. In the poems Storm on the Island and October the poets have used a simile or a metaphor. For instance the poet Heaney has written "But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits The very window, spits like a tame cat Turned savage." This evokes the emotion of anger and the feeling of disintegrated civilisation. In the same way Clarke uses an animal within her poem but this animal is calmer " The stone face of the lion darkens in a sharp shower, His dreadlocks of lobelia grown long, tangled More brown now than blue-eyed." This metaphor connotes the image of a tangled tranquillity. Lastly all three poems are very similar but also very different. Some have hidden depths others have literary overtones and others express an emotion of pain and healing or a feeling of everlasting fear. ...read more.

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