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What have you learnt about the bond between women from the poems?

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Introduction

What Have You Learnt About The Bond Between Women From The Poems? The poems are based around female relationships and the bonds and feelings they entail. "Catrin" is a poem that shows the bond between mother and daughter. Its shows the bond by telling the struggle of parenthood- a fight between two people who are wanting to be apart, the problems of childbirth and child rearing and the synchronized love and worry that comes with having a child. At the start of the poem she is remembering giving birth, how the delivery room was and what she was feeling at the time, when she looks out of the window and during labour the room is "hot" and "white" and "disinfected". It might be hot because of the glass, since later it is a "glass tank" - almost like a fish tank. She is trying to explain her reaction to the "disinfected" and "clean" or "blank" environment - without "paintings and toys" and colouring in the white spaces. She sees this now as two individuals struggling to become "separate" and shouting "to be two, to be ourselves". ...read more.

Middle

after the umbilical cord was cut) figuratively speaking they never truly will be. The poem contrasts the natural and instinctive love of a mother for her own child with the apprehension she feels for another's child, whom she does not know. Rather ironically this lack of emotion causes her to express an intelligent sympathy for the other child. Because the baby is too young to understand such things, being faced with a strange babysitter may seem worse, the poem suggests, than the more serious losses that any adult women may suffer. The start of the poem gives a simple statement of the situation - except that the reader at first wonders how a baby can be "wrong" - not really a fault in this baby, merely its not being the babysitter's own - which is the "right" baby, by implication. The child is depicted very much as the ideal pretty infant - "roseate" and "bubbling" in her sleep, and "fair". But this is contradicted by the cold understatement of "a perfectly acceptable child". Worse, the babysitter is afraid of the child - of her waking and hating her, and of the angry crying that will follow. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poet gives the reader the date 1998, as a clue to the meaning of the title - which refers to Good Friday agreement, which has brought some peace to Northern Ireland. The talks that led to this were also having a "difficult birth" over that Easter time. The poem also hints to Jesus' crucifixion and rising from the dead (as this is also around Easter time). This double meaning appears in the first stanza - where the poet looks forward to good news. That is that something that has gone on for years seems about to change - "eight decades since Easter 1916". They have planned to celebrate the good news from the peace process, but have to put this off to look after the "restless" ewe. Throughout the poem the struggles the sheep go through coincide with the troubles of Northern Ireland e.g. "but the lamb won't come" and "we strain together" The ending suggests the miracle of the first Easter - the stone rolled away from Christ's empty tomb and is also reminiscent of the nativity scene when the difficult birth is over and everything is peaceful. ...read more.

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