‘Compare the way loss is presented in Brendon Gallacher and a poem of your choice.’
Loss is a key, reoccurring theme in my two poems of choice; ‘Brendon Gallacher’ and ‘Medusa.’ ‘Brendon Gallacher’ is an affectionate elegy for an imaginary, eponymous childhood friend, ‘Medusa’ is a poem divided into stanzas of mostly equal length. Both poets use varying language to help the reader visualise the characters’ feelings and persona. Emptiness and loss are presented in both poems through numerous techniques including alliteration, imagery and refrain. There is a childlike quality to Jackie Kay’s elegy for the death of an imaginary friend. The persona uses simple language and a range of techniques such as colloquialism. Contrastingly, in Medusa, Duffy uses a sombre tone thought the poem which helps the poem flow naturally and contributes to the developing sorrow.
In ‘Brendon Gallacher’, Jackie Kay’s use of a repetitive refrain gives a song-like quality; this is further reinforced by the interjections that show grief in the last lines: ‘Oh Brendon, Oh my Brendon Gallacher’. The passing of Brendon leaves an empty void, filled by the repetition of ‘Brendon Gallacher’, which demonstrates fixation and inability to let ones feelings pass – an emotional attachment; ‘Brendon’ as opposed to the full name previously used. The repetition of the possessive pronoun emphasizes the idea that Brendan belongs to the narrator, and emphasizes the theme of loss and longing for something that is gone. Similarly, Duffy uses evocative language immediately by beginning on the theme of obsession/mistrust. Duffy emphasises this by the list of three, "suspicion, doubt and fear" which "grew in her mind", allowing the flow of thoughts through enjambment. This doubt and fear shows that Medusa is somewhat compulsive and has lost any freedom or ability to control her thoughts.