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Exploring and Analyzing the Relationships in a Series of ‘Best Word’s’ Poems

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Both ‘I Shall Return’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’, explore the need to return, in Claude McKay’s case he wants to return home; to a happier place. Although in ‘Once Upon a Time’ Gabriel Okara wants to return to a happier time, to the person he once was. In ‘I Shall Return’, it seems that he is trying to convince himself that he will return, ‘to loiter by the streams’ and ‘to hear the fiddle and fife’, he’s trying to give himself hope that he will return to the place he loves, where there is no judgment just freedom and happiness. Although in ‘Once Upon a Time’ he is talking to his son and I think he is trying to convince his son not to turn out like everyone else, who wear ‘many faces without dresses’, he wants him to stay as he is, as children behave instinctively. He, Gabriel Okara, feels that whilst he has been wherever he is, he has lost himself somewhere along the way, he was once the same person he sees in his son. In some ways I think he’s ashamed of how he has turned out like everyone else and is proud of his son for being innocent.

The language in both poems is incredibly emotive, in ‘I Shall Return’, its very visually descriptive, the way he describes it using the colours, it’s almost like you’re there, ‘the forest fires burn’. He tries to bring you into the way he sees the world, his home town, his life as he describes the physical things that make it what he loves.

Whereas in, ‘Once Upon a Time’, Gabriel Okara describes personalities, the way people act toward the world, the cold feelings, the insincerity the world has absorbed, it goes beneath the surface. The language is very colloquial and chatty, as he is talking to his son; I think it makes what he has to say a lot less awkward.

The rhyme scheme in, ‘I shall return’ is ABABCDCDEFEFGG an original sonnet, which is a poet’s way of expressing to his/her readers their intense emotion, in this case love. His love for his home and everything he describes in the poem. A sonnet shows its an extremely well crafted poem, it takes quite a lot of effort to do this.

In, ‘Once Upon a Time’, it is very colloquial, it has no rhyme scheme which adds to the conversational style of the poem. The fact that the poem has no rhyme scheme suggests he’s only talking of the top of his head, only revealing his feelings, not as if it has been thought through much before hand.

I feel that a poem always has a different connection to everybody, it makes them feel a certain way, ‘I Shall Return’ reminds me of the past when I have been really homesick and have then been reunited to the place I love. ‘Once Upon a Time’, reminds me of how I hate people who follow the things people do just to be accepted, like sheep.

Now I will compare ‘Long Distance’ and ‘The Sick Equation’.

Both ‘Long Distance’ and ‘Sick Equation’ explore the relationships of parents through the eyes of their children. They are similar in the way that both the children are grown up and are reminiscing about their childhood. They are also similar in how their parents have shaped the writer’s outlook on life and love. The obvious difference is that in, ‘Long Distance’, the poet is looking back over a happy marriage, so happy that the husband refused to believe the wife was gone, whereas in, ‘The Sick Equation’, that marriage is filled with hate and spite which causes the son to give up on love.

The language in, ‘Long Distance’, is very informal and colloquial, this gives the poem a happier feel compared to, ‘The Sick Equation’, I think this is because even though he is talking about something sad, he is looking over a happy life. In contrast, ‘The Sick Equation’, is very formal and uses proper English, he also uses clich�s such as ‘home sweet home’, in a sarcastic way to get the point of the poem across. The poems’ titles are very imaginative, ‘The Sick Equation’, the poet has taken a sum and turned it to a metaphor to describe his parent’s relationship. ‘Long Distance’, this title is very ambiguous it could mean a long distance phone call which would be extremely long distance if it’s the mother that’s calling or it could mean he’s a long distance from his family.

The rhyme schemes of these two poems are very different, ‘Long Distance’, has a very distinctive rhyme scheme of ‘ABABCDCDEFEFGHHG’, the poem is split into four verses with four lines in each one. However, in, ‘The Sick Equation’, has no rhyme scheme and it looks like each verse represents a different stage in the poet’s life.

Finally I will be looking at the poem, ‘Afternoons’ by Philip Larkin.

This poem is different from the other poems because it is an outside speculation of a relationship rather than, as in the others an insider’s view.

The main difference of this poem is that the writer, Philip Larkin, is making assumptions about the families and family life. Whereas in the other poems they expressed opinions about their personal family life, he is commenting on what he observes and what he makes of it, not what it actually is.

The language he uses isn’t that emotive compared to poems such as, ‘I shall return’. He interprets what he sees in his own style and I think he also adds a lot of his own opinions and ideas to his observations, his style is original and he is very cynical in his language. Larkin shows an extremely miserable take on ordinary, married life, as in this poem he notes multiple times that the romance has faded, that the ‘honeymoon period’ is over.

In this poem, there is no rhyme scheme as this is like he’s just writing notes as he is observing these families not like a regular poem, it may have suited rhyming as it could have been used in such a way that it could help get the writer point across more.

This poem is different from the others as I have mentioned before. These poems explore the different relationships and views of relationships of families.

I like the poem, ‘Once upon a time’ as I can relate, I used to feel like on the move from primary to secondary school, that I lost myself along the way but I then discovered a new me, so I like that poem as it is something I can understand and know how the poet was feeling.

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