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Storm on the Island

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Introduction

The poets, who wrote the four poems in question, all put forward their personal views upon the aspect(s) of nature which their pieces are themed around. In Seamus Heaney's poem, 'Storm on the Island', the theme is implied simply in the title. Heaney's poem explores the effects a storm has upon island dwellers where there is no natural shelter. He relates how weak and defenceless we humans are compared to these natural happenings. The way in which we are forced to shelter and protect ourselves from this 'nothing' which has the power and might to change everything in our lives. The unmistakable sense of people's fear of nature's fury is shown throughout the poem. Human and Nature seem to be at war with each other- nature versus man- with Nature the dominant adversary but humans still grimly hanging on. The two sides almost appear to be at a 'stalemate'. For try as it might, the storm has not beaten man- and man can only find means to protect himself- being too weak to retaliate. ...read more.

Middle

This produces an almost methodical and solemn rhythm to the poem which adds to the seriousness of the situation the Island dwellers find themselves in, for if they did not devise methods of protecting themselves from Natures fury, it could be fatal to them. The field mouse however differs. Gillian Clarke sectioned the poem into three stanzas - beginning, middle and end. The first stanza introduces the separate scenes of haymaking and war and compares the two. Though haymaking initially is thought of to be a peaceful and naturalistic event, Clarke manages to turn usually innocent images into deadly, warlike scenes. E.g. summer, the long grass is a snare drum. When the idea of summer is presented, we generally perceive a warm, happy peaceful time- as with long grass, we think naturalistic scenes. Long grass is home to plenty of creatures- snakes, rabbits, pheasants, mice etc. As it is home to many creatures and it is therefore considered a safe haven for them. However, Clarke dispels this idea and instead of having it safe, has it a 'snare drum'. ...read more.

Conclusion

to embed her point of our contamination and cruelty upon nature and its creations. Her choice of language is also highly emotive and the feelings of shame and guilt rest largely upon her language. Perhaps this is merely a coincidence, but I received the impression, that the two pre 1914 poems were much more idyllic nature wise and were more centred upon the beauty and creations, whereas the other two struck me to be more about human interference with nature and the affect nature has on human lives. This is almost definitely due to the huge world wars of 1914 onwards which took place and the after shocks which followed. Though this is only a guess, it would explain the rather sudden change on the outlook of our lives and nature. Millions of people had died suffered and had had their homes destroyed- creating misery, devastation and thousands of refugees. Storm on the Island even has some likeness to the Blitz. Having to build improved safer shelters to protect themselves from the bombardment and rage of the storm reminds us rather of people having to build air raid shelters and take refuge in the underground to protect themselves from the deadly bombings in world war two. ...read more.

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