Compare and contrast these two poems, explaining their effect on you:’Windjammer’ by A. L Hendriks and ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ by Paul Keens Douglas Both these poems, as their titles suggest, are about the sea. ‘Windjammer’ by A. L Hendriks is written in Caribbean dialect, the narrator is on board a boat in the Caribbean Sea. He seems to hate the rough sea “An’ ah wish to god ah did stay home”. ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ by Paul Keens Douglas is written in Standard English. The narrator is idealising the sea and he seems to love the ‘sleek and decorous’ Caribbean Sea.
Each poem creates vivid images and clever mind pictures. In the first poem you get the impression of a scared, self-piteous man, swaying, green-faced, on a rickety, smelly, fishing boat and “Dem seasick pills don’t work neither… ” This is a great contrast to the second poem. Here you get the impression of a lazy, carefree man “barearmed, barefoot, bareheaded” able to “saunter” aimlessly beside a serene, resplendent sea. The form of the two poems is completely different. In ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ each verse is like a miniature desert island, varied in shape and size.
Using alliteration and repetition of the title of the poem and using simple, clear language gives the effect of soothing waves “swaying near. ” With no complex verbs the verses seem to leave the picturesque image to the imagination, as if there is no need to explain: “to work in it, dive and swim and play in it,” The frequent breaks, with some verses only being three short lines, make this poem easy and undemanding to read. This, as usual, is in discordance to ‘Windjammer’ which is in one long verse, like a prolonged, satirical letter of complaint or a moaning speech.
This seems to emphasise and concur with the narrator’s lengthy agitated journey: “If yu ever catch me puttin’ foot On any kind ah boat again, yu lie. ” Unlike in ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ the narrative appears to ramble on without breaks: “An’ is up an’ down, up an’ down” “In an’ out, in an’ out,” There is no pause-it’s like the relentless sea. Nine of the lines start with “An’. ” It seems to create impending senses of anticipation, tension and expectation, like you are waiting for the man to actually be sick.
It seems to increase greatly the rhythm and pace of the poem. There is the impression that the author can’t emphasise enough, with his amusing whining, how bad the journey really is. Even the title ‘ Windjammer’ creates a negative effect. It seems the jarring wind is at war with the boat, with the “Salt spray flyin’ ” and the “Canvas flappin’. ” It seems the boat is out of control. The onomatopoeia in these sentences makes it even more vivid. This poem doesn’t leave as much to the imagination, every fault is picked up on and exaggerated.
The ironic thing about these poems is that, whilst being completely different, they are both written about exactly the same sea. As the famous Caribbean poet Grace Nichols once said, “the sea is a natural part of our psyche. ” This would imply that Paul Keens-Douglas’ adoration and dependence on the ocean is a part of him, ingrained in his culture, as a Caribbean man. Whilst, A. L Hendriks’ poem appears to go against this, as if his comical aversion to the sea becomes even more amusing in its oddity. This unusual fact creates wry pity for the narrator.
Who, it seems lives on a small Caribbean island and can’t get away from the very thing he dislikes and fears. He even makes the waves sound menacing- comparing them to look “like mountain. ” In the poem ‘Windjammer’ the poet seems to be trying to create awareness, entertainment and pity. Maybe the author is making a point. By writing in a Caribbean dialect about a Caribbean Sea, that just because he is a Caribbean person it does not mean he has to like that part of his heritage that involves the sea. The poem creates so much entertainment and makes you smile: “watch yu arse or yu head gone.