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'The Seed Shop' by Muriel Stewart is a poem I read recently in which the writer expresses her views on origin, potential and ultimately that of creation.

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'The Seed Shop' by Muriel Stewart is a poem I read recently in which the writer expresses her views on origin, potential and ultimately that of creation. Although the poem is based around a seed shop it can be said that it reflects the development and potential of all living things, including the human race. She shows these ideas through her use of imagery, word-choice and structure.

        The idea of humble origins is apparent even in the first line of the first stanza where 'quiet and dusty room' is used to describe the place in which the poem is set. This, straight away, makes the reader envision a place closed off and secluded from whatever lies outside, the word 'dusty' making it seem untouched and dingy. With regards to human life it could be said that the human being is also at some stage of development, possibly before birth, contained also.


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        This idea is again used in the second stanza in the line 'in this brown husk, a dale of hawthorn dreams'; the word 'husk', meaning a shell, having connotations of an outer covering concealing something within. This line is also an one of many examples use of the use of the structural technique of antithesis within the poem as the word 'husk' in the first part of the line suggests something of little worth or importance. Yet it is followed in the same line by the words 'dale' and 'dreams' both suggesting something vast and of importance, something special, which is a contradiction to the earlier idea of worthlessness.

        This contrast between something of importance and something of no worth is present throughout the poem and, I feel, stresses the idea of potential within living things whether it be a flower, a tree or a person. In the first stanza the lines,

        'Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,

           Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry',

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        The last line of the poem, 'and in my hand a forest lies asleep', really brings together the whole idea behind the poem, showing contrast between the vastness of a forest, something great and on a large scale, and that of its humble beginnings which are so small they can be held in the palm of a hand, an area of little importance in comparison. There is the idea that it is actually a baby that is asleep and the word 'forest' is used again to emphasise that there is potential to be great in even the smallest of living things.

        In conclusion I feel that through word-choice, imagery and structural techniques such as antithesis the poet expresses her view that everything in nature comes from the same enclosed and protected beginning, whether it be within the womb or within a shell, and that despite this the potential is there to become something special.

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