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“I am very bothered” by Simon Armitage, “I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine” by Liz Lochhead and “First Ice” by Andrei Voznesensky

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As long as there has been poetry there has been ‘love’ poetry. Many poets express their feelings through their writing, therefore many poets write about love and other emotions and feelings attached to it. Different poets have different styles of writing, so approach that particular subject in different ways. “I am very bothered” by Simon Armitage, “I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine” by Liz Lochhead and “First Ice” by Andrei Voznesensky are poems where the poet uses different styles of writing.

“I am very bothered.” By Simon Armitage is a confessional monologue. The poet is reflecting on past events, he is addressing a woman he loved as a teenager.

The poet does not use a rhyming pattern, but instead uses an irregular pattern in three blocks, possibly because he wants the reader to concentrate on what he has to say, as it is important to him. He uses a personal, narrative style to express his feelings, leading to his final admission:

“If you would marry me.”

although he claims that’s not what he wanted to say by saying, “Don’t believe me,” he wants to make a better impression, to show he can say how he feels without having to hurt or scar her.

The poet uses images associated with burning; he describes in graphic detail what happened. Not only does the poet give a clear picture, he also makes you see what he sees and smell what he smells, “unrivalled stench.” The burning possibly symbolises his desire for her. The two rings marked on her fingers, “for eternity,” symbolises marriage and wedding rings.

The poem is reflective and thoughtful. The poet proves that love can make you do all kinds of things. In the last verse of the poem he reveals why he did what he did, he wanted to marry her. He wanted to put a ring on her finger for eternity, but different to the ones he put on her finger and thumb.

The poem shocked me, I was surprised at the way he got her attention; it seems quite extreme. The ending shocked me too but not in a disturbing sense. He admits that it was a clumsy way to reveal his feelings for her and I was relieved that he realised that.

The poem “I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine” by the Scottish poet Liz Lochhead gives a negative view on romantic gestures. It is amusing with an ironic look at love and romance. It is the poet’s voice in the poem and she is addressing her lover.

The poem is arranged in four blocks of long lines. Unlike the previous poem the poet uses a rhyming pattern, the last word a line rhymes with the last word of the next line for every two lines. The poem is humorous and rhyme is used to enhance the comic aspect.

The poet makes you picture all the typical decorations in towns and shopping centres on Valentine’s Day; she makes you picture all the gifts and cards that can be bought for lovers. The poet uses alliteration, “sticky, sickly saccharine,” for more effect.

The poem is mocking but ironic. The poet is trying to persuade you that she does not care about expensive gifts, is she trying to act tough? Possibly, that is until the last two words of the poem. At the end of every verse is the line:

“I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine.”

but in the last verse she says:

“I wouldn’t thank you, I’d melt.”

therefore she reveals that she would like someone to make a fuss of her on Valentine’s Day.

I was surprised with the ending; I was not prepared for Liz Lochhead to say she would melt after all the mockery throughout the poem. I was glad when she admitted that she likes to be loved and adored by a man she cares about.

This last poem by Andrei Voznesensky is called “First Ice” and it is a dramatic poem written in Russian, translated into English. It is a poem about a young girl who has suffered the pain of rejection and it is different from the first two poems, he is telling us about this young girl and not about what he himself feels. Although not in the first person, he gives the impression that he knows how the girl feels.

The poem is arranged in one block and four short verses containing both long and short lines. There is some rhyme in the poem. The poet chooses to use an irregular pattern.

The poet describes in detail the girl’s appearance and her surroundings. He does not say the girl is crying but instead he says:

“A face all smeared in tears,”

which is more effective because it tells us what she is doing and how she looks. The poet uses repetition, “The first ice,” is repeated in the last two verses of the poem. The poet talks in the present tense, this gives the impression that he is watching the girl and writing the poem at the same time. He says:

“It is the first time,”

This gives the impression that he knows the girl,

“The first ice if human hurt,”

He understands how she is feeling and what she is going through.

The poem is a sad poem, unlike the first two poems. The poet is saying that love hurts and he possibly knows this too well. The poem has been written to move the reader.

I thought the poem was very effective, I felt what the girl felt and it made me see that love can hurt too; it is not always a blissful feeling.

‘Love’ poetry is always heartfelt as love is a deep emotion. Many poets express their opinions on love and some reveal their deepest emotions through their writing so therefore ‘love’ poems are generally sincere and very touching. My personal preference is “First Ice” by Andrei Voznesensky as I felt it had more depth than the other two poems.

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