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Poetry comparison between 'Long Distance' and 'The Sick Equation'.

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Introduction

A Poetry Comparison between Long Distance and The Sick Equation In these poems the poets explore the theme of relationships. One poem deals with grief about divorce whilst the other tackles the taboo topic of death. While ?Long Distance? is a poem about the abundance of love, conquering even death, ?The Sick Equation? is about the total lack of it. Both poems share the themes of ?family? and ?love?, but there are also many contrasts too. ?The Sick Equation? by Brian Patten is a poem which portrays a young child?s struggle to cope with the ?adult world? and the long-term effects his parents? quarrelling has on him. This poem deals mainly with divorce, and the child?s response and feelings towards it. Therefore, it is indeed a very hard-hitting poem. As well as tackling the topic of divorce, he also writes about the overall concepts of growing up and the difference such changes make in later life. Long Distance? by Tony Harrison begins to talk about the widowed father?s reaction to the death of his beloved wife. ...read more.

Middle

?Though sure that very soon he?d hear her key scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief? the onomatopoeic word ?scrape? enables the reader to come out of the surreal thoughts about the poem and consider the brutality of what has happened. This poem is called ?Long Distance? because death is the longest distance possible. This dark irony is mirrored in ?The Sick Equation?, where the title describes that even though 1+1=2, at home 1+1 stays 1+1. Patten is possibly talking about the child?s parents and even though they are still married, they stay separate. The language and poetic techniques used in ?The Sick Equation? are very effective. Not only do they add suspense and tension to the poem, they help with the understanding also. For example the onomatopoeia ?Stung more than any teachers? cane? is, like the rest of the poem very hard hitting. In the first stanza the emotions are very mixed, quite confusing, and just like the topic and layout of the poem itself. Not until quite late on in the poem is the reader certain as to what exactly the problem is that the poet is addressing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although, once getting to grips with the idea and meaning of the poem, reading it is simple. ?The Sick Equation? is obviously to do with the failure of the relationship, however, towards the end of the poem, we learn that the sick equation, like all other mathematical equations, can be balanced. The rhyming and written structure of the poem seems to come together more at the end. The final two stanzas are written in the same format, suggesting that towards the end of the poem the poet is more certain in what he is saying, becomes more confident perhaps. To conclude, both poems reflect on the way both authors have copied their parents? actions, much to their dismay. In ?The Sick Equation? the writer fears not loving again, he is scared that all the fighting and arguing in his parents relationship will also occur in his own relationships. Whereas in ?Long Distance? towards the end of the poem the reader finds out that the man contradicts himself. The poet ends the poem with ?and the disconnected number I still call? here the reader discovers that the writer has done the same as his father, however much he hates his father?s way of dealing with his wife?s death, his way of coping is the same. ...read more.

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