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Michael Longleys poem The Pattern is about how a mans memories start flooding back when he rediscovers the bridal pattern for his wifes wedding dress. At first he is nervous to uncover the full truth about his wife and to look back on the p

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Introduction

What are your feelings about the man and his sentiments towards his wife, and how does the poem make you feel this way? Michael Longley's poem 'The Pattern' is about how a man's memories start flooding back when he rediscovers the bridal pattern for his wife's wedding dress. At first he is nervous to uncover the full truth about his wife and to look back on the past. The sewing pattern seems to summon up memories of his wedding day and his, perhaps dead, wife. The poem makes you feel pity towards the man, because although his wife may have been 'complicated' he still misses her and longs to be with her. The poet describes the pattern in a very complex way, using the title to vaguely summarise the main themes. The title could be referring to the pattern of life, the pattern of memories or the pattern of love. The pattern also acts as a memory trigger to the man and is the only connection that he seems to have with his wife. ...read more.

Middle

This suggests that it is the date of his wedding day, and that the day he is describing is his anniversary. The caesura after this sentence separates the different tenses- the present from the past. The man's wife is not described in the present but is always described in the past, whereas his wedding day is described in both tenses. This suggests that his wife is no longer alive, but the memories of her and their wedding remain. 'A cold figure-revealing wind' is the only sentence in which the poet describes his wife's body. This may be an intimate sentence, but the word 'cold' could represent her personality that her husband uncovered. Also 'wind' might symbolise the man's life when his wife was alive- windy and chaotic. 'Complicated instructions' may also relate to her personality or to how she was difficult to figure out. The man seems to have described his wife as an unpleasant person, but he may have meant to give out a completely different message. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Covered' is completely opposite to this and suggests that his wife tried to hide what was inside her, her true self, and that it was unpleasant. There is no rhyme scheme in the poem making it harder for it to roll of your tongue. However, the enjambment helps the poem to flow smoothly and the repetition helps to link important words together such as 'snow' and 'wedding'. The constant sibilance throughout the poem gives a sense of serenity and peace. It also reveals the softer side of the man and emphasises the sense of loss that he feels. Reading this poem made me feel a mixture of emotions such as relief, pity and loss. In one stanza the poet manages to summarise his feelings for his wife and their wedding day. It is quite significant that the man mentions his wife's clothes more than he mentions her body and personality. This leads us to believe that she did something to hurt and maybe disappoint him. However, the mention of 'snow' and 'windless' gives a jollier twist to the poem and leaves us feeling placid and thoughtful. Samah Lakha L5M ...read more.

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