Poem Nettles

When analysing poems ‘Netttles’ and ‘born yesterday’, both are similar in how they show a parents love and responsibility for a child. While ‘Nettles’ highlights the anxieties that a parent has for their child, the latter deals with the hopes a parent can wish upon their child. Both use various language techniques and structure to convey how parents can have different ways of expressing their relationship and love for a child. Born yesterday depicts this love for a newborn baby, but this poem is written in a more hopeful, unconventional manner.

The first stanza of Born Yesterday highlights his views of what “the others*( seeming to mean most people) hope for in a newborn, which comes across as fairly sarcastic and almost as if he despises upon this general opinion of your child having the best things that life can offer. This sarcasm or mocking appears to be shown in the line “running off a spring of innocence and love”. In the fourth line he uses the term “usual stuff , which further highlights this negative opinion as Larkin seems to think they are boring and non-realistic.

His love for this baby is comes across in a specific way and is fairly unusual almost as if he is just writing it in hope, for example in the last line of the first stanza “well, you’re a lucky girl” These unconventional aspirations continue into the second and final stanza where he gives a more personal view on how he would like to see this child grow up. Despite the repetition of negatives that he uses such as towards the end its still clear that he cares deeply about this child’s future as it is still written with positive hopes.

The oxymoron on the third line “An average of talents”, expresses that someone that is not at rock bottom but still not having many luxuries at the same time can result in the baby having a happy life, and this sums up the overall message that Larkin is getting across to the audience. This can even be seen before on the second line where it could be said to almost be insulting when he says “may you be ordinary”. Furthermore, he says how he wishes for the baby to not be ugly but immediately following with “not good-looking”, balancing his wishes in order to reinforce the baby being nothing more but nothing less in life.

Repetition in “unworkable” and “working” in the eighteenth and nineteenth lines increases the sense that this one thing spreads to disrupt everything else, but also shows the extent of how specific a parent could be in detail about a child. The way in which Larkin writes the poem, particularly in the first stanza when explaining the special hopes for a child that are normal, shows that these things may inevitably and that she may not have much control over living her life, almost the opposite way to how he would like. This tells he understands how complicated a persons dreams for a child can be.

The five adjectives in quick succession towards the later part of the final stanza show how complicated this “catching of happiness” is. In addition, the rhyming couplet in the last two lines gives these lines more meaning as the repetitive adjectives stay in the readers mind and it leads to an obvious close. The last four lines also tell us that happiness can come in many ways, and that this is what he truly wants for the baby, and this has been his feelings throughout. However these lines do stand out to the more controversial tone of the rest of the poem.

With the poem consisting of just two stanzas each makes it very effective by how it gets the idea across of how someones life could plan out so differently, despite how much a person wishes it could plan out. In contrast, Scannal *(poet of Nettles) Nettles takes a simple and common occurance, and thinking about its implications shows various techniqus to show the possibl outcome of a parents protective measures. The poem is only one stanza with 16 lines and has a strong reguler rhyme scheme. The rhythm gives the poem this organised and at the same time a rigid feel to it.

Its possible that the poem consisting of 16 lines is done with intent as a symbol to how long a parent has a bond with a child. It is also reminiscent of a sonnet, often a love poem. The love in this poem is of a father who is trying to protect his son but who realises the futility of this. Every other line rhymes in this poem which has the effect of making the poem seem more intense as the rhyme is not overly obvious. It is also written in the first person which makes it seem so much more personal, “my son,” “I saw” and shows Scannal wanting to make the reader sympathies for the child.

He reminds us in the last two lines our lives are exposed to physical and negative pain. This Ab Sb cd cd rhyme scheme pattern used throughout to possibly suggest how soldiers march in complete sink and can maintain this synchronisation. The use of the iambic pentimeter adds tro this structured effect as it uses a 10 syllable limit a line. Line 10 has an extra beat which shows the poets anger at these nettles and really makes it stand out. The use of enjambment in the fourth, fifth and sixth line shows a narrative style and brings out an overall theme of emotion with the use of alliteration.

This alliteration can be seen on the 6th line. The bold sound shows the pain that the child is suffering with the term “tender skin” used as a contrast to the child’s vulnerability. The word “bed” in the first line makes you think about what the nettles represent, and by using words referring to the military, this can be seen by the extended metaphor. These military/army metaphors bring out the nettles spite more vividly, together with his own feelings of anger and aggression. They also make the hurts that are inflicted upon the child sound more severe than they actually are.

This demonstrates how a parents love for a child can reach the point of where they exxagerate reality, in order to make us as an audience feel more sypathetic for the person they care moe than anything else about. This is shown when he explains how he “lit a funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead”, implying that these nettles could be something that could inflict pain upon his son in the future. The sympathetic tone at times shows he is aware of his sons vulnerability once again in the 6th line as the aggressive sound reflect the sharp pains that were experienced.

The idea that he knows theres only so much he can do in protection is shown on the second from last line, when he explain how the “tall recruits” had been “called up” again. Overall , after analysing both poems, I fell that Nettles is more effective in it showing how relationships are present among families. Through the use of a catalogue of language techniques he manages to get across the emotional and enduring pain that family relationships can bring, and that despite the amount of care one can have for a child, this may not be enough to stop them from meeting issues in their future.

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