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Nature Poetry

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Introduction

Nature Poetry "The Natural World is often a source of joy and wonder for the child; it can also cause fear and guilt" William Wordsworth was born in Cumberland near the Lake District in 1770. He was educated at Hawkshead and later at St John's College Cambridge. Wordsworth was one of the first "Romantic" poets in that he portrayed a romantic view of nature. Wordsworth aimed to use "a selection of the language really used by men" in his poems. He became Poet Laureate in 1843 and then died in 1850. Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied at Queen's University and then went on to teach at St Joseph's College Belfast. He was awarded the Noble prize for literature in 1995. Both poets write about their childhood experiences. Although Wordsworth wrote in the 18th century and Heaney over two hundred years later both wrote many poems which are based on rural themes. Heaney, like Wordsworth, uses detailed and precise descriptions of his surroundings. The two poems I have chosen to examine are "Death of a Naturalist" by Heaney and "Nutting" by Wordsworth. Both show that nature has a dark, frightening side and that it is not always pleasant and cheerful. ...read more.

Middle

Heaney retells how Miss Walls would tell her pupils all about the "daddy frog" and the "mammy frog", and how the "mammy frog" laid " hundreds of little eggs, and this was frogspawn." These lines create an almost picture perfect view of nature. Heaney was obviously very young when this incident happened as he recalls Miss Walls also saying " you could tell the weather by the frogs too". The emphasis is on the word "too" it appears that the boy considered frogs to be marvellous. An unpleasant mood is created in the second stanza of the poem; this is due to unpleasantly descriptive phrases, such as "one hot day", and "fields were rank "and" angry frogs. Throughout the poem Heaney invokes almost all of the reader's senses. He enables the reader to visualise the " flax-dam festering", hear "the bubbles gargling delicately" and touch the "warm thick slobber". Again now the reader is able to imagine the air being "thick with a bass chorus". The child had not heard the " coarse croaking" before and this adds suspense to the poem, as it was new and exciting. Heaney makes effective use of words and phrases to suggest that the frogs were indeed going to attack the young boy, such as " angry frogs invaded". ...read more.

Conclusion

Wordsworth further enables the reader to imagine the scene and make it appear beautiful as he describes a small stream "murmuring". After a short period of gazing on the scene and enjoying its beauty the boy "rose and dragged to earth both branch and bow with crash and merciless ravage". In the boy's mind he has committed a dreadful crime and that he has "deformed and sullied" the tree. He feels a tremendous sense of guilt over what many would regard as a trivial action; however, this may show Wordsworth's tremendous respect and honour for nature as it suggests that he feels nothing should be done to harm nature. The word "mutilated" shows how dreadful of a deed the boy feels he has done. The boy returns home " rich beyond the wealth of kings" but yet he feels a great sense of pain as the "silent trees" rebuked him for what he had done. He felt so strongly about this that he warned others to be respectful of nature as "there is a spirit in the woods". Both poems reveal that nature provides great joy and pleasure as well as guilt and fear. In both poems the fear and guilt are caused by the mind of the young boys and not by nature. I preferred Heaney's poem, as the experience described was something very real that I could identify with. He uses simple and effective language that invokes many of the reader's senses. ...read more.

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