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Snakes and Pigeons Poetry comparision

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1114
  • Category: Poetry

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“Compare and contrast DH Lawrence and Richard Kell’s treatment of their subject in their poems Snake and Pigeons. Take into account all aspects of presentation.”

Snake and Pigeons are both poems with the same theme as animals but both poets portray their subject in a different way. Kell seems very fond of pigeons but Lawrence is not to sure weather he likes or dislikes the snake.

In the poem ‘Snake’ the format of the poem is laid out in a very unique way. The stanzas do not have the same number lines. Its is almost long and flowing like a snake which gives you the effect of that you can imagine the snake being really long and flowing around the stanza. Also the poem is a narrative poem, it is telling story, so you are intrigued and it makes you read along.

In the first stanza there is enjambment “A snake came to my water trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there.”, the enjambment creates the effect that a snake gives, it flows from the first two lines. Also the snake is like an intruder to his water trough. So at the moment Lawrence doesn’t like the snake.

In the poem snake, “…On a hot, hot day …” sets the scene of where this is happening, the country is very hot.

In the second stanza, there are a lot of ‘s’ sounds and they carry through the stanzas like a snake and thy also tell you about the snake, “… slackness soft-bellied…”, you can imagine the snakes belly, “slackness” makes the snake seem effortless and “soft-bellied” gives the effect of imagery, as you can almost imagine yourself touching the snakes belly.

Lawrence writes like the snake is a guest, “Someone was before me at my water-trough, And I like a second comer, waiting”, he personifies the snake almost like a human being. As he has to wait for his water, the snake has a hierarchy over him.

Again Lawrence reminds us that the snake is a guest, “…That he should seek my hospitality.”, It is like the snake has been given an invitation.

Lawrence he sets the tone and mood of the whole poem well, “…and I in pyjamas for the heat.”, he describes his surroundings in a way that we feel we could almost be there on the step in the growing heat of the early morning with him.

Lawrence uses great language that we can paint a picture of the snake, “…fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough And rested his throat upon the stone bottom”, you can imagine the snake more clearly hear, also it shows that maybe Lawrence has a love of nature as he uses it to describe his admire for the snake. Words like “gloom” and “stone”, gives us small moments of coolness in the poem as it is set in blazing heat that we are so easily can imagine.

Later on Lawrence seems confused as he hears voices “And voices in me said, If you were a man You would take a stick and break him now and finish him off.” This brings cold air though the poem as now he thinks about killing the snake as before he seemed to admire the snake. Word like “break” and “finish”, stir things up as these words seem harsh unlike the words he used to describe the snake before. Also this may be the culture of Lawrence as he has been told that snakes like this one are evil.

At the end of the poem Lawrence performs an evil act “…I picked up a clumsy log And threw it at the water trough with a clatter”, immediately after the act, he feels regret. He may have performed this act as he ignored the voices before that told him to kill the snake. This also is a messy stanza it does not flow like the rest of the poem. The word “clatter” is onomatopoeic you can hear and imagine it without it actually happening.

You can feel Lawrence’s regret as he feels “And I have something to expiate”, the sadness of his act want him to make up for his sins, and in this we feel his pain.

In the poem “Pigeons” the layout is shorter than the poem “Snake” so this may imply that pigeons are short unlike snakes which are long. Kell uses more descriptive language than Lawrence and this create more imagrey of his subject.

Kell describes pigeons as if they were intruders “Small like blue busybodies”, this brings us back to the beginning of the poem where Kell says “They paddle with staccato feet”, the pigeons move quick and sharp but with small steps, this links in with “busybodies” as Kell is saying they are everywhere and are always around. You can imagine pigeons everywhere around you in every step you take they are there. “…blue busybodies”, is alliteration it links the words together creating a more vivid image of the pigeons.

Kell also personifies his subject like Lawrence does too, but Kell does personifies his subject more of a snobby animal “Strutting around like fat gentlemen” , Kell is saying that pigeons think they have a high status and more of an importance. But this is completely opposite to how personifies Lawrence says snakes are like guests.

Unlike D H Lawrence, Kell makes his subject the pigeon sound less elegant that Lawrence does with his subject the snake, “…as they stump about,…”, the word “stump” makes the sound fat and short unlike how the snake is long and slim.

But Kell does use more descriptive and rich language to describe how the subject looks “Elusive ghosts of sunshine Slither down the green gloss…”, Kell creates vivid imagery of the pigeons, “Elusive” makes it seem like magic and “Slither” is onomatopoeic and brings the slippery effect of the sunshine moves gently down the neck.

Kell has also set the scene on a hot day, he makes this clear “Summer hang drugged from the sky to earth”, the air is almost tangible, may be because it is humid and this you can imagine.

Kell comments on the sound that the pigeons make “Only warm dark dimples of sound Slide like slow bubbles …”, gives the effect of the sound being quite private. “Slide” takes us back to the slippery idea and “bubbles” is onomatopoeic, this creates a distinct sound in your mind.

Both the poems have the same theme of animals but both poets express what they think of them in a different way. While Kell uses more descriptive language than Lawrence both poems create vivid imagery in your mind about the two subjects.

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