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Comparison of two poems

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Show how effectively the two poets deal with the theme of parent/child relationship. Seamus Heaney's "When all the Others" and Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays". I found the work on these poems quite interesting, as the topic they covered, child/parent relationships is something we can all relate to as it is something we all have, or wish we have. I have never read any poem by either of these two poets, even though Seamus Heaney is quite a well known local poet. Both of these poems are quite memorable and well written. Both poems have a lot of feeling and both seem to seem like they are based on the poet's true feelings towards the parent he was writing about in the poem. Seamus Heaney is a local poet, born in 1939 on a small farm in County Derry. At the age of twelve he was awarded a scholarship to St. Columb's College in Derry. He went on to Queens University. The first verses he wrote was when he was a young teacher. Years later in 1995, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and in 1996, he was made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. "When all the Others" is a poem written by Seamus Heaney about a memory of his mother that he found special and still remembers to this day. ...read more.


The eleventh to thirteenth lines tell us that he neither responded to the priest nor cried instead he recalled the memory he wrote about in the octave. The last line; "never closer the whole rest of our lives" makes it clear to us that he never felt more close to his mother than he had while peeling the potatoes with her all those years ago. I found this poem quite moving in a sense it is a grown man writing down the memory in which he was the most intimate with his mother, the parent many of us are the most closest to. I also think he was quite brave to publish this poem as the memory is quite personal to him, Robert Hayden was an African American poet who grew up in a Detroit ghetto which must be where the memories from his poem came from. The strange thing is Hayden didn't live with his family but instead a foster family who lived next door. He finished school in 1932 and got into Detroit City College through a scholarship. He enrolled for an English Literature masters in 1941 and graduated in 1942. He went on to teach until 1969. "Those Winter Sundays" is quite a depressing poem. It tells us of Hayden's father who self sacrificed his day off and went through pain to get up early and light the fire for his family, yet he was never thanked for it. ...read more.


We then go onto hear about extra trouble his father had gone to for him; in the line "and polished my good shoes as well". The final two lines there is a feeling of regret on Hayden's part. "What did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?" This rhetorical question seems like Hayden is pleading he knew of how love doesn't have to be expressed as emotionally as it often is. It was only now that when he was older and his father was dead that he realised that his father didn't have to go to the trouble of lighting the fire and polishing his shoes, these acts were out of love for his son and family. Before this assignment I have never had to look at poems in such a detailed manner before and I have only realised now at how much work is put into poems and that many have hidden meanings and allegories in them. Of the two poems I have looked at my favourite has to be "When all the Others" by Seamus Heaney as it is more uplifting while "Those Winter Sundays" as Robert Hayden ends his poem with regret and remorse. I also prefer the poem by Heaney simply for the story it tells. Although I found both poems moving for the different messages each one contained. Both poems however make me realise that the time I have with my parents is special and when I can, I should make the most of it. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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