The two poems that I will be analysing are ‘Stop all the Clocks’ by W. H. Auden and ‘The Vet’ by Gillian Clarke. My discussion will be based on the theme of the poems and look at how the poets used form and language to help his readers understand and make meaning out of the poem. STOP ALL THE CLOCKS THEME The theme of this poem is about grief. The poet takes his readers through a simple but complex journey that explains the different stages of grief that a person feels when a loved one dies. The poem reveals the emotional upheaval that death can cause.
The grief felt is carefully illustrated by the poet in the form and language he uses throughout the poem which has a strict rhyming scheme of AABB throughout the 4 stanzas. FORM AND LANGUAGE The form and language that was used by the poet to describe the feeling and mood of the bereaved was spread throughout. The first stanza simply showed the first stage of grief and that the bereaved is coming to terms with the death of a loved one. For example, he said ‘stop all the clocks’ which signified that he wanted to focus on what had just happened and does not want to forget his love as people do over a period of time.
Again he said, ‘cut off the telephone’ meaning he wanted to be alone without communicating to anyone. This is because she wanted to concentrate and grieve on the death of his loved one without people offering their condolences. Then the last line of the stanza, he said, ‘bring out the coffin… ‘ which suggests that he wanted to start making funeral plans. In the second stanza he wanted to let everyone know that his loved one has died and he mentioned in the first line, ‘let aeroplane circle moaning overhead’ which means that he wanted everyone to join him in feeling the pain and grief he feels and that a great man had passed.
In the second line he said, ‘scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead’ to acknowledge the tragic passing away of someone special in his life. Also there were inclusions of some metaphors such as ‘crepe’ – which suggests fragility of life and love, ‘dove’ – which signifies that he wants peace and ‘traffic policemen’ – which suggests that he wants order to prevail and justice be served. All these words were used to describe his feelings instead of using the direct feelings.
The third stanza is very different from the previous two because the narrator gets personal with the readers by telling them what he meant to him. For example, in the first line he said, ‘He was my North, my South, my East, and West. He started using a lot of commas which changes the rhythm of the poem. He slows down the pace at which he narrates and makes the readers focus on the pain he feels. There was a consistent repetition of ‘my’ in the stanza because the narrator gets personal and reveals how much he hurts about the passing away of his loved one.
A metaphor of compass which signified that he has lost direction in life as his beloved had died. He also talks about the times of day and days of the week that emphasises how much he had lost now he is dead. The last stanza is all about the anger and destructive character that the narrator adopts as his tone changes and he says “the stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. ” It signifies that he has lost his faith in romance.
The last stanza emphasises finality because in the last line he said ‘nothing can ever come to any good’ meaning he has lost faith in life and love and he has nothing to work for as it does not come to any good. THE VET The theme of The Vet is basically the unpleasant experience associated with conceiving. It is circulated around child that witnessed the birth of a baby calf. The poet tries to paint a picture in the mind of the readers of the painful procedure involved in delivering. The poet uses an Alliteration in the last stanza on the forth line “gleaming, silver, sweet under the tongue. “