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Unseen poetry Analysis of The Hurricane

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The poem ‘The Hurricane’ creates a tense and fearful atmosphere to such an extent that the reader is made to feel as though they have lived through the hurricane themselves. The poet also uses many poetic devices to express this feeling, as well as almost exaggerating the aftermath. All of this creates the vivid atmosphere of the ‘roaring, screaming and returning,’ that was so relentless in the poet’s eyes on the day of the hurricane.

The scene of the poem is set in the first line ‘Under Low Black Clouds’ This phrase tells us of how disastrous the situation was seeing as the word ‘black’ depicts devastation and fear for the people who were victims and lived through the storm and were left to suffer the aftermath. We also get a sense of the power of destruction that the storm had where it says ‘no intervention of sun or man.’ In our solar system, the sun is the strongest, biggest and most powerful element. ‘The Hurricane’ clearly shows us the strength of the storm seeing as it even managed to overpower the sun by creating ‘dark clouds’ which could not be penetrated by the sun.

The aftermath is shown as a situation of chaos – where ‘Goats, dogs and pigs are all people together’ which tells us that the storm was the same to everything and everyone. The lack of respect for mankind shines out where this beast is shown as unstoppable it carries on with its devastating actions. The hens inside the henhouse are seen as rather badly off saying ‘Fowls are fixed with feathers turned’ which shows us the painful injuries that must have taken place in this short term of events. Although there is no reference to human life throughout the poem, we know that from this comment, the poet is implying that humans were also affected by the hurricane but he chooses to convey the injuries through animals rather than his own kind.

The poet clearly implies that the hurricane has no respect for anything of any kind, even the church hall; ‘in every hen house, church hall and school’ which explains to us that hurricanes really do not care what they are doing. There is only one aim for the hurricane and this is to make sure that there are no inhabitants left in the rural village once the storm is over. We get a sense of this strength in the second stanza were the hurricane is said to ‘hit rooms to sticks apart.’ When this statement is made we immediately envision the scene of destruction, with every building battered. Being a tropical storm, we have not experienced a hurricane, the poet, James Berry is therefore trying to educate those like us to realise the strength of weather so that we learn to respect it more are not so vulnerable toward it as a consequence.

The whole poem has a sense of chaos and fast movement. The phrase ‘Leaves are panic swarms’ demonstrates the velocity of the storm and because of this, the reader of the poem is made to feel panicky themselves and thus, the feeling of chaos is passed on. The situation at the end of the poem on the last line ‘fish, all dead in the road’ leaves us feeling empty and depressed at the view that we have visualised. The poet does this so we understand what the storm can actually do without us realising it.

Mr Berry uses an interesting phrase in the closing paragraph which makes us feel that the hurricane is a sly animal rather than weather, this is personification. ‘Then growling it slunk away’ immediately makes us think of foxes, for example. The poet advocates that this suggests that the poet is trying to make us imagine that the hurricane has done a similar activity to the fox, killing people and devastating lives then finally leaving to enjoy the aftermath.

The poem is organised in stanzas which are logically separated. The first paragraph is when it is arriving ‘under low black clouds’ which tells us that the storm was ominous from the start. The next three stanzas are how the destruction took place, leaving ‘fields battered up’ and doing what it set out to do. The Aftermath of the storm is spoken of in the fifth stanza where it mentions that ‘Goats, dogs and pigs, all are people together,’ showing the damage that the storm provoked. In the last stanza we see how the storm crept away and what it left behind.

Firstly when reading the poem, the first stanza ‘speedy feet, all horns and breath,’ makes the reader think an animal because the reader has never really thought of a storm having horns. When they read deeper into the poem, the reader begins to realise that this was really a metaphorical expression and what the poet was saying that the storm was really like an animal which leads them to realise how brutal the storm really is.

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