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Mid Term Break, On My First Sonne, and Tichbourne’s Elegy

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All three poems are about the loss and death of a loved one. The experience of losing someone is dreadful as we all know. I am going to compare how the experience of loss is portrayed in these three poems.

‘Mid Term Break’ is about how the writer had to cope with the death of his younger brother and how he had to cope when he came back from school.

The poet seems to be saying that going home was hard as everyone was different and had changed due to this tragic accident. There is no mention in this poem of God or religion.

The sentences are fairly short making you read it quite fast as you go along.

Heaney uses phrases and words in a way that we can all understand what he is trying to say. “I met my Father crying- He had always taken funerals in his stride.”

Heaney also uses similes and metaphors.

“Bells knelling classes to a close”

“Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple”

“Angry tearless sighs”

Some words Heaney uses are very powerful to show death and loss.

“A four foot box, a foot for every year” shows his bother was four. This phrase is the very last line bringing it to a very dramatic closure and makes you realize how bad it must be to loose your four year old bother.

“Angry tearless sighs”, this is powerful as you cant imagine coughing out angry tearless sighs and makes you think how awful it is to loose a child.

This poem is autobiographical as it is a true story which Heaney experienced; his emotions though, aren’t that clear to us as we are being told how everyone else is feeling but not so much him.

Heaney doesn’t seem to use alliteration or onomatopoeic world in this poem even though he uses them in his other poems. This could be because it was too tragic to describe with words that sound like death etc.

‘On My First Sonne’ is about a man and how he is grieving about the loss of his young son. The poem seems to be saying that instead of God taking his son why couldn’t he have taken him instead. Unlike the Heaney poem this poem is very religious. “Tho’wer lent to me, and I thee pay”.

Both the poem and the sentences are short, perhaps he was so upset at the loss of his son he couldn’t write that much about it and perhaps there is not much to say about it anyway.

This poem is written in old English but the experience of death is still easy to understand.

“Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy”.

Jonson uses a metaphor late on in the poem.

“Here doth lye Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetrie.”

This poem however is written in the present tense unlike the Heaney poem which is written years after his experience even thought it still seems very vivid.

Some powerful words and phrases to show death are used:

“My sinne was too much hope of thee”.

“Exacted by thy fate, on the just day”

“Seven years tho’wer lent to me, and I thee pay”.

Again, like the Heaney poem alliteration and onomatopoeias are not used. This seems to be irrelevant to the writer describing death.

This poem is again autobiographical but in this poem we are concentrating on his feelings unlike the Heaney poem.

‘Tichbourne’s Elegy’ is written by Charles Tichbourne, in the tower of London before his execution, to his wife.

The whole of this poem is written in paradoxes which makes it confusing but yet clever at the same time. Like the Heaney poem this poem isn’t very religious.

Tichbourne uses happy and sad words to present the experience of death. He knows he is going to die, whatever, so he tries to present death as happy but then smashes it with an opposite, sad feeling world.

“Crop of corn” Corn is golden and very nice to eat but, “field of tares” eating a field of weeds doesn’t sound very appetizing and not as golden or good looking.

In this poem, unlike the other two, lots of metaphors and similes are used.

“My Fruit is fallen”,

“My glass is full”,

“My youth spent”,

This poem is very clever as it is written in the present tense but when you think about it, its also written in the future as in the end you know he’s going to die and by the time it was published he had.

Even though this poem is written in a weird style like the Jonson poem it is still easy to understand the pain of death.

“And now I live, and now my life is done” This phrase is repeated several times as if it is a type of chorus.

There are no powerful descriptions or words that are entirely linked with death however which singles this poem out from the other two very clearly.

It is also written in a different style in comparison to the other two.

Like the other two poems no onomatopoeic or alliterative words are used. This seems to be an ongoing style when dealing with death and loss.

I think that Tichbourne had more to worry about than using onomatopoeias and alliteration.

This poem is obviously autobiographical and is concentrating on the death of himself unlike the other two who are concentrating on the death of a relative or loved one.

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