Compare how love is presented in three poems in the Poetry Anthology.

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IGCSE English Literature

Poetry Coursework Assignment

Compare how love is presented in three poems in the Poetry Anthology.

Plena Timoris by Thomas Hardy, Refugee Mother and Child by Chinua Achebe and Piano by D. H. Lawrence are all poems that explore the theme of love, although they may seem very different at first glance. Plena Timoris tells of two young lovers’ relationship as it ends, while Refugee Mother and Child shows the strong bond between a mother and her child and Piano takes the poet down the road of remembrance into his childhood.

As many readers would know, love can be a painful thing. However, the first stanza of Plena Timoris portrays a seemingly perfect and flawless love of a man and woman. The poet constructs the setting to be that of a typical love poem by using the images of “parapet-stone” and “the moon in its southing directly blent / its silver with their environment”, the moon being a symbol of romance and secret meetings with lovers in the 19th century, the time of the poem. The alliteration of the “l” sound in “lovers looked” and “laughed and leant” suggests that the lovers are harmonious and at one with each other and their surroundings as the “l” sound is one that is soft, smooth, flowing and not at all abrupt. The image of “his arm around her” shows the sense of security within their relationship, the regular rhyme scheme of ABBAB and the regular structure of four stanzas of five lines, adding to this security, comfort and predictability. This very positive portrayal of love convinces the reader to pursue love as love is shown as achievable perfection and therefore links love to perfection.

Refugee Mother and Child illustrates a different type of love: the affections of a mother for her child. The poet alludes to the recognized image of the Madonna and Child to show the eternal love of a mother for her child and that this love is universal whether it is between the Madonna and Child or a refugee and her son. The poet also implies his thoughts on how the love of the refugee for her child is greater and more tender than the love of the Madonna as the refugee is in a very bleak situation. This greater love is shown by “no Madonna could touch that picture of a mother’s tenderness.” The purity and strength of the mother’s love is shown through the synaesthia “singing in her eyes”, symbolising the hope and pride of the mother despite the bleak circumstance. Positive phrases and nouns, such as “pride” and “flowers”, are scarce in the poem, causing them to stand out even more against the many negative phrases. This contrast makes the good seem better than it is, and the impact that these nouns have is made stronger and stronger as the poem goes on.

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Piano, on the poet’s close relationship with his mother is another positive portrayal of love between a mother and her child. However, it is shown in a different perspective in that it is from the perspective of the child. The sibilance in “smiles as she sings” helps to replicate the calm and relaxed atmosphere of “the cosy parlour” and the warm affections of the mother and child. This is added to by “the heart of me weeps to belong” as the heart is where deep feelings are said to originate and belong. It also emphasises that the mother is ...

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