Helen Thomas 10x
How do different poets convey the idea of Love?
“First Love” by John Clare was written in the 19th century. It is a poem about how the poet had fallen in love but it turned out it was unrequited. Whereas “Song” by W.H.Auden written in the 20th century, is a poem about how someone has been in love but then lost them to death. They are both quite similar in the fact that they are both about loving someone but not being able to have them. However they are different because “Song” is about two people having been in love and then losing it, rather than “First Love” in which the love is unrequited, and not being fulfilled.
In the poem “First Love” by John Clare the poet writes about what seems to be a very overwhelming feeling.
The poem is written in three stanzas and in each one the feelings develop. It has a rhyme structure of AB,AB, CD, CD etc. The first stanza has eight syllables in each line and the other two have a pattern of 8,6,8,6,8,6,8,6. I think it may be written like this because in the first stanza the feeling are simpler and then they get more complex as the poem progresses- like the syllable patterns.
In stanza one the crush begins. He sees her and is suddenly struck by her beauty-
“Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower.”
This simile is saying that her face opened up and revealed something beautiful just like a flower does. It brings the image of spring to mind because flowers blooming are associated with it.
The poet describes never having felt this way before- hence the title “First Love”.
“I ne’er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.”
It suggests that he was surprised that it happened so quickly. It seems that it was love at first sight and this comes across as very romantic at first. It also suggests that it is a good feeling as the poet describes it as ‘sweet’.
After the initial happiness in the beginning of the first stanza, the poet goes on to explain losing control over his heart.
“And stole my heart away complete.”
This is saying that his heart now belongs to the girl he loves because he has such strong feelings for her.
The poet also seems to lose control over his body.
“My legs refused to walk away.”
This is a preview of the whole essay
This is saying that when the poet saw the girl he could not just turn his back on her and walk away. It suggests that he is almost hypnotised and entranced by her and needs to see her.
He ends the first stanza with quite a depressing statement-
“My life and all seemed turned to clay.”
The poet I saying that his life has stopped an frozen in time, until he is able to be with the girl. This is because he is in love with her, and nothing in his life seems worthwhile unless he can do it with her. It creates the image that he has been moulded by her and now he has been set, his heart cannot be changed.
In stanza two the feelings develop to be even stronger and start to take over his life and almost stop him from thinking straight.
“And then the blood rushed to my face
And took my sight away.”
The poet is saying that every time he sees the girl he gets embarrassed and goes red in the face. He is also creating the image that he can see nothing but her all the time and therefore she has taken his sight away.
The poet then goes on to explain how everything around him is in darkness all the time .
“The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday
I could not see a single thing.”
This creates the image that everything seems dark and gloomy even in the daytime, because she is not there. It is quite a depressing image, and makes it seem as if she is his life. He also repeats not being able to see anything. This emphasises how much she means to him.
The poet ends the second stanza by explaining how the girl is affecting him so much.
“Words from my heart did start;
They spoke as chords do from the string.”
This makes me imagine the poet truly saying his emotions and they flow out as easily as a chord does from a string on a musical instrument. It also creates the image that the words he is saying are as harmonious as music.
The poet also sounds very heartbroken.
“And blood burnt round my heart.”
This says that the poet feels so strongly for the girl that his heart is aching and burning- he is in pain because of love.
In stanza three the poet is asking questions as to why he feels the way he does.
“Are flowers the winters choice?
Is love’s bed always snow?”
He is asking why doe love always feel so cold? I think that he is surprised by the feelings he has endured, as love is usually portrayed in a very romantic and happy way.
The poet also describes how the girl understands him.
“She seemed to hear my silent voice
And love’s appeal to know?”
He is saying that the girl can understand what he is thinking without him saying anything- from maybe just a look. It suggests a connection between the poet and his love. Once this happens the poet seems to forget the bad feeling she has had and sees the appeal of love again.
The poet then reflects on what he said at the beginning. The repetition suggests that he is making an important point and wants to emphasise it;
“I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.”
He is saying something similar to what is in stanza one, and repeating about how beautiful and sweet the girl is. I think that he is thinking about why he puts up with all the pain he has suffered because of love, and that is her.
He then talks about how he has lost his heart for good.
“My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.”
He is again emphasising what he said in stanza one- about her stealing his heart. He is saying that his heart belongs to her, because he loves her so much. And also that his heart will never return, because he will never stop loving her.
I think that John Clare wrote the way he did about love, because he wanted to open his heart, and give a true account of what love really feels like. The mood of the poem is quite sad and I feel very sorry for the poet and how he is feeling. I think that the poem may be based on Clare’s own experiences of Love, as he was unable to be with the woman that he loved. This is similar to the feelings of the writer of “Song” – W.H.Auden as he is describing in his poem about the loss of his true love through death, so both poems evoke the same feelings out of the reader.
In the poem “Song” by W.H.Auden, the poet tells us of the death of his one true love. It is a very touching and moving poem.
This poem is written in four stanzas and like “First Love”, in each stanza the poet describes the emotions he is feeling. The poem has a rhyme scheme of A,A,B,B, throughout the poem.
In stanza one the tells about how everything should stop because this person has died.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.”
He is saying that all life should stop, if his love has died. He doesn’t want anything to do with the world and wants to be shut off and not have to talk to anyone.
He then goes on to explain what the funeral should be like.
“Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.”
He doesn’t want there to be any music- only the beat of a drum. This may be because music is seen as a happy thing, and he wants no happiness to be let through as he is feeling so sad. I think is also a sign of respect and mourning. He also says –“let the mourners come.” This suggests that he wants everyone to see the person he loves, it sounds quite careless, as if to say why bother, they’re dead now? I think that the use of the word “muffled” is trying to put across how is feeling, I think that he maybe feels like he cannot express himself anymore, now his love has gone. He feels his thoughts and speech, have been muffled.
In the second stanza describes how he wants the whole world to know that the person is dead.
“Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,”
This suggests that he wants to celebrate the person he loved life, as they were so special the whole world needs to know. I don’t think that the writer can understand how people carry on as usual , when this person has died, because they mean so much to him.
He also then says that people and animals should show their respect by wearing certain things.
“Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.”
He is saying this, as he wants all the creatures to respect the death of his love. Also doves are seen as a sign of peacefulness and grace, and this maybe how he wants his partner to be portrayed. He wants the policeman to wear black gloves, because usually they wear white ones, but black ones are seen as a sign of mourning. Also they are figures of authority, which makes it seem more important.
Stanza three is a very emotional one, and the poet is reflecting on how much he loved his partner.
“He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I though that love would last forever: I was wrong.”
The poet is basically saying that man he loved meant everything to him. He was all he saw and all he thought of. It is a very touching verse and portrays in my view, true love.
In the final stanza the poet is in despair and doesn’t know what to do with himself.
“The stars are not wanted now: put out everyone;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing can ever come to any good.”
He is saying that he wants all the light on the earth to be gone, because he wants everything in darkness, as that is the way he is feeling. He doesn’t believe that anything good on this earth can happen now, that his true love has died. It seems as if he wants to be left alone in darkness and silence. I think that the word “dismantle” is a very important one in this stanza, he is saying “dismantle the sun” because it does nothing when his love is not their. I think that this is the way his heart feels, and that he wishes he could just dismantle his heart, so that he know longer feels he pain.
I think that the way W.H.Auden wrote about love, is very meaningful and touching. I think the poem portrays very well how it feels to lose someone you truly love and it really makes me feel sorry for the poet.
The two poems are laid out in a very similar way, as they are both in set stanzas. They also both rhyme.
The main similarities of the two poems, “First Love” and “Song” is that they are both written about Love and how they can’t have it with who they want. In “First Love” the poet tells about the girl he has seen and fallen in love with, but it can not be fulfilled. Similarly in “Song” the poet writes about the man he loved but can’t have because he died. They are both quite sad poems.
The main differences are the love in “Song” can’t occur because someone has died, whereas in “First Love” both people are alive it is just either one sided love, or not allowed. From looking into John Clare’s history I found out that he was not allowed to marry the girl he loved, because she was a better class that him. Also “Song” concentrates very much on the bad bits, whereas “First Love” reflects on some of the good feelings the poet has had because of love.
Personally I preferred “Song” by W.H.Auden because it felt more meaningful. Although I did like “First Love” it didn’t touch me as much. I think I learnt a lot from both poems, it taught me that love can be very painful and everyone suffers because of it at some time in their life.