Rukhaya M.K

A Literary Companion

Author: rukhaya (page 2 of 18)

Poetry Analysis: Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth”


Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth” is essentially in the sonnet-form. The poem is a song eulogizing the youth emblematic of fresh spirit, fortitude and promises. In a way, ironically, it does point to the speaker himself who died at the early age of 25 (on 4 November 1918).

Owen was a young officer in the trench warfare of 1917-1918. He was shot a week before the end of the First World War as he led his men across the canal. The speaker asserts that “passing bells” could not hail or signal the death of these youth who died as ‘cattle’. The word ‘cattle’ utilized here is indeed significant. It is a common noun that does not attribute any sort of individuality to the youth as a whole. Furthermore, it is a collective noun indicating that none of the youth possessed an identity of his own. There were rather seen as animals, irrational creatures to be disregarded as they simply did not seem to exist. The youth are murdered just as cattle were mass-slaughtered.

What dominates the picture is the ‘monstrous’ sounds of guns. The adjective ‘monstrous’ alludes to the towering effect of the guns’ sounds and their dreadful attributes to the extent of paralyzing life.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’s “Wodwo”


Ted Hughes introduces “Wodwo” in the “Poetry in the making”:”Here is another poem of my own about some goblin creature-I imagine this creature just discovering that it is alive in the world. It is quite bewildered to know what is going on .It has a whole string of thoughts, but at the centre of all of them you will see is this creature and its bewilderment. The poem is called “Wodwo”. A Wodwo is a sort of half-man half animal spirit of the forests.”It is the titular poem of the collection published in 1967.The Wodwo, according, to Wikipedia, “was a link between civilized humans and the dangerous elf-like spirits of natural woodland.”Therefore, the term Wodwo is indeed emblematic as it stands for the state of Identity Crisis as the Wodwo stands between two worlds, as he is in quest for his roots. As the proverbial ‘Wodwo’, he is caught between instinct and reason, myth and reality, freedom and rootedness. It illustrates the irresolution that Hughes stood for after the ‘Lupercal’ poems that portrayed instinctive violence and

The Wodwo probes his roots at the very outset as he asserts “What am I?”Note that he uses “what” instead of “Who” pointing to animal and vegetative qualities.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’s “Wind”


Ted Hughes give us a short introduction to his poem “Wind” poem in “Poetry in the making”.

”On and off I live on a house on top of a hill in the Pennines, where the wind blows without obstruction across the tops of the moors. I have experienced some gales in that house, and here is a poem I once wrote about one of them. The grass of the fields there is a particularly brilliant watered green, and the stone walls of the enclosures that cover the hill-sides like great nets thrown over whales look coal black. The poem is simply called: Wind.”

The house referred to here is the house on top of a hill in the Pennines. The belligerent effects of the wind are underlined in the prescribed poem; as when it tends to get violent. The house is situated on top of a hill, therefore it is island-like in its solitude. The poet here describes it as a boat stranded on a stormy sea as he states: “This house has been far out at sea all night.” The pounding effects of the wind resembles that of a boat enraged at sea. The wind is so intense that it appears as though the storm is a prolonged one.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’s “The Jaguar”


Ted Hughes’ “The Jaguar” is a tribute to the majesty of the animal. The eminence of the jaguar is contrasted against the insignificance of other animals. The apes yawn at their humdrum existence. Their only point of adoration is aimed at the fleas that surround them. The parrots have to screech to invite attention to themselves, as though one gets the impression that they are on fire. These shrieks are particularly aimed at the stroller with nuts. The tiger and lion appear lethargic and overcome with lassitude. Through the mechanical routine of the animals’ life, the poet seems to make a statement on the current mechanized human condition where people relegate the true meaning of life to basic biological functions.

The Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor) is a large, heavy-bodied species of snake. Its color pattern is highly variable yet distinctive. It is one of its kind. Yet, its static nature gives the impression of it being a fossil, an archeological remnant. It appears as though it has no utility value. The animals though supposed to be a source of amusement in the zoo, fail to make their presence felt. Cage after cage appears to be empty as all the animals lie in indolence.…

Poetry Analysis:Ted Hughes’s “Pike”


The Introduction to  Ted Hughes’s “Pike” can be found in “Poetry in the making” as Hughes states:”Here, in this next poem, is one my prize catches. I used to be a very keen angler for pike, as I still am when I get the chance, and I did most of my early fishing in a quite small lake, really a large pond. This pond went down to a great depth in one place. Sometimes on hot days, we would see something like a railway sleeper lying near the surface, and there certainly were huge pike in that pond. I suppose they are even bigger by now. Recently I felt like doing some pike fishing, but in circumstances where there was no chance of it, and over the days, as I remembered the extreme pleasures of that sport, bits of the following poem began to arrive. You will see by looking at the place in my memory very hard and very carefully, and by using the words that grew naturally out of the pictures and feelings. I captured not just a pike, I captured the whole pond, including the monsters I never hooked.”

The poet emphasizes the perfection of the Pike in the first stanza.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’ “Second Glance at a Jaguar”


“Second Glance at a Jaguar” from Wodwo (1967) is a companion piece to the “The Jaguar,” and should be read along with the same. Ted Hughes wrote “Second Jaguar” ten years after he wrote the first “The Jaguar.” The ‘glance’ in the title, far from being a mere glance, focuses on intricate detail.

In the “Jaguar,” Ted Hughes depicted a zoo in which animals are caged in different slots, each characterized by sluggishness and sloth. In contrast to the other languorous creatures, the jaguar holds it own, through its magnificence and sounds its existence by asserting itself. Thus, the poem “The Jaguar’ is a statement on man’s modern state of existence where people are compartmentalized into leading a mechanical life. In a machine-like state, they relegate their individuality, and function like cogs in the wheel of society and pay no heed to voice their seity.

The poem “Second Glance at a Jaguar” focusses on the animal itself. The latter lacks the co-ordination and conventional form of the former poem. The poem succeeds in the effect it makes on the reader. The poem comes across as an artist’s instinctive stroke focusing on detail. Hughes foregrounds the Jaguar and marks his deviation from the System.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’ “The Thought Fox”


Ted Hughes said”that long after I am gone, as long as a copy of the poem exists, every time anyone reads it the fox will get up somewhere out of the darkness and come walking towards them.The poem appeared in Ted Hughes’s first collection, The Hawk in the Rain.

It is the most frequently anthologised of Hughes’ poems.

The midnight is chosen at the time as it is without any addition to the day, as blank as the poet’s mind itself. The time is unmarked and yet mature. The clock is alone as it is devoid of minutes and seconds, it being midnight. Further, the clock is alive as it is lonely. And there is something else that accompanies the loneliness of the clock-that is the poet’s creative conciousness. The metaphor for the poet’s fresh poetic perception is the “blank paper” where his fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:

Something more near

Though deeper within darkness

Is entering the loneliness.

Note that the poet cannot observe any star but can comprehend something that holds more promise for him. He cannot apprehend it through the senses but experience it through instinct..The image is first formless and can only be a professed feeling formless as the poetic vision of the poet itself, until it assumes concreteshape.…

Poetry Analysis:Ted Hughes’s “Snowdrop”


The “Snowdrop’ is a poem that is concise and precise in its imagery. The Snowdrop refers to a flowering plant with small white flowers flowering at the end of winter. The snow drop literally signifies a drop of snow that is at once emblematic of transience. Therefore, it is about the winter that approaches life and the idea of how fleeting life is.

The opening lines state that “Now is the globe shrunk tight” suggests the compression and condensation that has set in because of winter. One wonders if the writer had foreseen the impact of globalization, as he declares the same. Nevertheless, here it appears to be the effect of winter having negative consequences upon the globe. The agile mouse’s heart has become very dull ,’round’ as though it has wound around the mouse. The weasel that is busy with its red furry coat preying upon rodent-like animals, and the crow about its duty as scavenger, appear to be moulded in brass. They come across as arrested in brass. Or their sprightly movements have rendered into heavy gaits with the weight of brass. They have been arrested as if in metal, in a cold fixture. They seem to move in an outer darkness.…

Poetry Analysis: Ted Hughes’ “Six Young Men”


Ted Hughes’ “Six Young Men” is inspired by a photograph of six men shot at  Lumb Falls near Hebden Bridge in the earlier part of the last century. All the six men were killed in the First World War. At the first reading, the poem comes across as a take on the futility of war. Particularly as Ted Hughes’ father was amongst the two percent of the regimen that had survived Newsnight Review critic Tom Paulin asserts that Ted Hughes, hailed from ‘that slightly different species’ – a generation ‘who took in the blood of the First World War with their mother’s milk, and who up to their middle age knew Britain only as a country always at war, or inwardly expecting and preparing for war…’

The poet begins by stating that the celluloid holds the six men well. They were permanently held, but in this ephemeral photograph. It holds them together as well. Though it has been four decades now and the photograph has become ochre-tinged,it has nor wrinkled the face or hands. And this is particularly significant, as the face is primarily considered as the identity of the person. Nevertheless time has advanced so much that their cocked hats are not fashionable now.…

Poetry Analysis: Thom Gunn’s “Touch”


Thom Gunn’s “Touch”  is the titular poem of the collection. As in “The Corridor,” Gunn juxtaposes the complementary themes of isolation and companionship. The loose syllabic verse incorporated in the poem depicts the feeling of comfort that the poet experiences beside his companion. The word ‘touch’ in the title is utilized as an therapeutic metaphor for the underlying instinct. The poet speaks of giving in to inherent instincts. This is perhaps what Martin Dodsworth called Gunn’s “voluntary commitment to the irrational.”

The poet, as he lowers himself besides his companion, states how his skin is numb with “the restraint of habits.”He is socially conditioned to refraining from giving in to his instincts. He describes this attribute as ’patina’. On metal, patina is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides or carbonates formed on the surface during exposure to the elements (weathering). Therefore it may signify the thin coating of the rational sophisticated self that is only a thin film away from the natural irrational being. The word “patina” hails from Latin for “shallow dish.” Therefore, figuratively, it may allude to the poet’s shallow self that does not allow himself to explore his own depths. The exterior appearance is yet again described as “the black frost of outsideness.…

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