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Like a Flame and The Thickness of Ice

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In this essay I am going to analyse two different poems. I am going to analyse the subject matter, language, rhyme / rhythm, form, ideas and attitudes and the overall tone of each. The two poems that I will be analysing in this essay are “Like a Flame” by Grace Nichols and “The Thickness of Ice” by Liz Loxley. “Like a Flame” is a modern poem written in the 20th Century. The title “Like a Flame” is implying that the atmosphere is very hot and is full of youthful spirit around it. The poem is about one girl falling in love with a man.

It is written in their first meeting, giving her first feelings between being a girl and becoming a woman. The whole poem has no rhyming pattern, but some structure is evident. The first four verses, which have three lines in each, they set the scene as well as the mood. It uses the suggestion in the words “ripening cane” to describe herself grow up quickly, already of riper years. His eyes attracted her when she first met that man. As the second verse “my eyes make four with this man. ” But the third and fourth verses are written she only laughs and feels so confused.

She doesn’t know she is falling in love because she does not understand the feeling of love. The last four verses of the poem reveal the girl has some sweet feelings when she starts to talk with that man. And it is written the girl is looking for love and they starts to meet to each other. The fifth verse that has five lines describes the physical appearance of the man. Then, there are two single line verses, which give more emphasis to her decision to meet him and to her reaction when they meet. Finally the concluding verse starts what she is thinking about him.

Grace Nichols who wrote this and compared the meeting to “a flame”, maybe she feels it could be dangerous; maybe it could be secret to her why she meets him at night, but despite this, she feels drawn to him, like a moth to the light. However, the real meaning of this is describing the atmosphere is very hot “Like a Flame” that I mentioned before. The languages in Grace Nichols’ poem is non – standard English, as the third verse “there ain’t no reason to laugh” to show that her poetry is from a different culture and to be aware that she is a black poet.

She uses different spelling and grammar in her own culture. Anyway, in this poem she uses imagery in the fifth verse of “Like a Flame”, she uses word “lips curling” to describe a black man’s thick lips. Grace Nichols also describe the man “as in prayer”, maybe he worship by her to let us know he is fall in love with her. In addition, this poem has no punctuation. Grace Nichols uses one sentence to make up each verse in the last part. It clearly shows that she makes up her mind and is keen to meet that man.

The overall tone of this poem I feel is hot and sweet. It describes the girl expecting that she will have a true love. It is not as complicated as the other poem because you have to think what she wants. The poem is shorter and also has shorter verses. “The Thickness of Ice” is a modern poem. The whole poem is written in the future tense. The title of this poem is implying that the atmosphere is very cold and it uses the metaphor of “Ice” to shows the steps of relationship of two lovers. The poem is written about two people, a man and a lady.

What happens in the poem is they meet and fall in love, and start to fail, but at the ends of their relationship, they hope to become friends again. The poem has a regular structure. It is split up into six verses, but it divides naturally into three parts. The first part has two verses, which have four lines in each; it has extra information in each verse, and uses the bracket to describe the thinking and feeling of the extra information. The first verse is says the lady is hoping that would come much more, and the man is hoping too.

The second verse is written they thought they would be like skaters and be together forever. It uses the words “testing” to describe they’re trying to know the steps of their relationship. As “With each meeting. We’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake,” suggests that they will see each other more often; they will begin to grow closer together. They may get into a relationship with each other. In these two verses, Liz Loxley describes how they meet each other the first time and start to fall in love, so the atmosphere in here is so sweet.

The second part also has two verses formed by the third and fourth verses. The third verse, it uses the words “less anxious” “less eager” suggest that one person doesn’t need to impress the other when they meet, as they feel they are coming closer together. And it uses the metaphors of “triple jumps and spins” to describe their relationship is become more steady. But the atmosphere in the fourth verse slowly becomes very cold, and their relationship is going down hill. Through out the fourth verse, it may suggest the beginnings of relationship ending, but the one person may not want it to end.

Anyway, in this verse Liz Loxley uses metaphors of “ice gives way” to shows their relationship to be faced with crack; and “The creeping cracks will be ignored” uses the personification and alliteration to describe the situation of ice gives way as their relationship slowly become worse. The third part is formed by the last two verses. The fifth verse describes the relationship is over they will still meet, but only as friends. It uses word “enemies” to suggest that they will hate each other, they are both hurt from ending the relationship They may have both got new partners, and it means that they are involved in a new relationship.

The sixth verse, Liz Loxley uses “thinness of ice” compared to “thickness of ice” to suggest that not all relationships run smoothly. They may want things to run smoothly, may want things to go back to the way they were before they got into the relationship. They want to become friends again. The overall tone of this poem I feel is cold and sad. It describes the ups and downs of relationship. It has been described well and explains how they meet and fall in love but it doesn’t work out for them both. The poem has a regular structure and is easy to understand.

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