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"Green Thought" By Jon Stallworthy - Critical Evaluation

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"Green Thought" By Jon Stallworthy - Reading Response By Melissa Bannon "Green Thought" by Jon Stallworthy is an interesting and valuable poem about love. During my essay I will justify why "Green Thought" is a worthy poem to be entered into a young student's poem anthology. The poem is an excellent choice because of Stallworthy's choice of characters, imagery and his skill in showing the power that love has to heal. Within the poem, Stallworthy tells a story of love and death. Written in first person narrative, the poet describes an old man as he reminisces about his wife during the good times, and bad. Ultimately, the young poet learns a valuable lesson about love through the experiences of this old man. The story within the poem is one of my reasons for choosing this poem as it is about a mature romance, so young adults would benefit and learn a lot about love from it. The poem also shows us that life is a very precious thing so we should live our life to the very best we can, as we cannot predict what will happen in the future. ...read more.


Being able to "grow in any ditch, niche or gutter", shows love is persistently surrounding us, even between the most 'unlikely' of couples. The realistic portrayal of the characters throughout the story is another reason for choosing the poem. The old man in the story is conveyed as a well dressed and mannerly man with his "scrupulous tweeds and courtesy", and someone who we would regard as a grandfather figure. I feel that we are able to look up to him and that many people will be able to relate to his personality and description as of that of someone they know. When he is 'dressed up' he is described as part of the "ritual tea" while he remembers "a girl, not yet his wife" and how happy things used to be. The readers would be able to feel compassion for the old man at this point in the poem. The portrayal of his wife is two sided. In the good times, she is regarded as a happy character, who "runs for more tea into the singing kitchen". The personification of the kitchen is an effective way of an example of how happy she was. ...read more.


In some way, the old man is protected by love. The snow falls by "bandaging the bruised earth". This means that love acts like a bandage to a temporary 'scar'. As the old man's love for his wife was so powerful, it was able to bandage the pain that she is gone. The snow has even more effect by being so peaceful and tranquil. It made the circumstances seem less harsh and eased the pain slightly. Due to Stallworthy's excellent use of imagery, description and characters, I have learned a lot about love. I have learned that even in the most damaging, painful situations, love will always have the power to heal pain. In particular, the poet's character analysis has given me very high expectations about love and marriage. The old man is a perfect example of how love should be. The vows made in marriage were certainly kept in his case. He loved his wife in sickness and in health, no matter how bad it seemed he did not leave her; this is true love. In conclusion, I definitely believe that this poem is suitable to be included in a poetry anthology for young students, simply because it gives hope, expectations and explanations of what love is and any young reader would benefit from the lessons learned about love in this poem. ...read more.

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