• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poetry Analysis: 'Miracle on St. David's Day' by Gillian Clarke

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Poetry Analysis: 'Miracle on St. David's Day' Gillian Clarke, born in 1937 in Cardiff, is known for writing poems about nature - and this one is no exception. Also, if we consider Clarke's Welsh roots, it's also no surprise that 'Miracle on St. David's Day' features numerous references to the Welsh celebration. Furthermore, this poem is "Ars Poetica": it is about poetry. Specifically, it displays the awesome healing powers of poetry - the 'miracle' referenced to in the poem's title. Let's start off by investigating the basics of this poem; Clarke is narrating a recounted experience (reading poetry to those admitted to a mental health institution) directly to the reader. The poem takes on a tone of compassion, generated by the slow reading caused by several instances of caesura (pauses in a line, often caused by commas) such as "...hands on his knees, he rocks...". Furthermore, it is also calm and collected, caused by the slow reading but also by Clarke's use of lexis - long, 'soft' words, such as "...he rocks gently to their rhythms...". Trying to convey her feelings accordingly, the slow pace of the poem also makes it seem as though she was in shock to see people in such a state - such as the "absent" woman or the other woman, who offered her "as many buckets of coal" as she could ever need. ...read more.

Middle

With regards to the description of spring water, which is when water flows up to the earth's surface (from beneath), the images spawned are calm, natural and refreshing. However, the water, like the man, has had to overcome much difficulty: be it flowing through layers of tightly packed rocks, or in the man's case, overcoming his 'incurable' illness. Regarding the second part of the line, of the bird, it makes me imagine a bird primed to chirp at the new dawn of a new year. Like how the man has been waiting in "breaking darkness", his dumbness, for an opportunity to turn overcome his illness and start life anew, much in the same way as people 'turn a new leaf' at a new year and create resolutions that are often life changing (such as giving up smoking). Another use of imagery is the line "The nurses are frozen, alert;". Although the nurses are not literally frozen, they are simply so enthralled by the labouring man reciting, word perfect, Wordsworth's poem. Of course, they are edgy - this man hasn't spoken for forty years, but they are equally as shocked as the patients, who even "...seem to listen..."; even the woman who sat, "not listening" earlier. ...read more.

Conclusion

and the final stanza only features 3 lines (coincidentally the month number of March - with January being 1 and February being 2). The whole poem features little to no rhyme or pattern and as such is written in free verse - but this is understandable, since the poem is essentially a recount of Clarke's experience; unplanned and unpredictable (as was proven by the man's ability to recite a Wordsworth poem flawlessly, despite being seemingly dumbstruck). Due to this poem's free verse, each line is over varying length - however, when the poem is viewed on its side the stanzas appear to resemble leeks, which is a common sight on St. David's Day; it accompanies daffodils as one of the Welsh emblems as well as being Saint David's personal symbol and of great importance to Welsh people. In conclusion, I'd say that Gillian Clarke has written an exceptional piece of poetry - commenting on poetry itself, referring to nature, St. David's Day and mental illness while utilising many poetic techniques (such as caesura) to create tone and mood. I'd even go so far to say that she is subtly commenting on Psychiatric practices and that labelling people with a diagnosis isn't the best way to deal with the situation at hand - the labouring man was able to "cure" his incurable illness. This poem is well written, though provoking and powerful, though subtle. Word count:1345 Steven Burnett 11/10/2010 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Judith Wright Poetry

    The next verse again begins with " The blacksmith's boy" and "black hat" which again emphasise the pattern of repetition of dark imagery which is portrayed in the poem. " Mountains jumped in his way" Personification is again used here by the poet which depict vivid imagery/examples of the protagonist's journey with nature and expands the knowledge of the reader.

  2. Othello - Iago's 1st soliloquoy analysis

    Apart from Cassio, Iago hates the Moor (Othello) too, and hence his plan's main focus is to cause Othello pain. The task of misguiding Othello into believing false stories about Desdemona and breaking his relationship with her is made easier for Iago because of the straightforwardness of Othello.

  1. The poems, The Daffodils by William Wordsworth and To Daffodils by Robert Herrick, both ...

    In both poems, diction affects the mood of the poem. In "The Daffodils," words such as "fluttering," "dancing," "bliss," and "sprightly" suggest a cheerful, peaceful mood. Therefore, in this poem, the diction creates a positive mood.

  2. Lord of the Flies Critical Analysis

    Jack appeals to the fears of the younger children as well as the hungers of all the boys to make them join him. Themes: One of the most important themes in the novel is the difference struggle between civility and savagery.

  1. The Paradox of the settings: St. Petersburg & the Siberian Prison in Crime & ...

    This newfound love injects Raskolnikov's life with fresh meaning and also releases him from the bond of destructive nihilism. The powerful value of love with its infinite possibilities seems to be Raskolnikov's path to redemption as he is able to come to terms with his fellow prisoners, Sonia, and himself.

  2. English poetry analysis - Search for My Tongue and Unrelated Incidents

    What the verse actually means is that by time you'd forget your culture because for something to "rot" it takes time to get to that stage, so what she actually means that you would gradually forget about your language until it is becomes such a huge burden that you "had

  1. "Breathless" Poetry Analysis (Wilfrid Noyce)

    On the other hand, the poet also seems hopeless and exhausted. In line 6, the question ?why at all?? is rhetorical. It implies that the poet?s attempts to climb the mountain are futile, and that he will never succeed.

  2. Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7,8,9 and 10

    * As Piggy and Ralph sit near the fire and discussing the deserters, the hunters from Jack's tribe attack, shrieking and whooping and wearing face paint and masks. o The hunters steal burning sticks from the fire on the beach.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work