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GCSE English Poetry AQA Anthology-Moon-on-the-Tides-character-and-voice-poems-analysed
The Clown Punk
Theme of outsiders – time has moved on and the future is different now. It was once fashionable but
now it’s not. May be amusing
written in first person
Tattoo – idea of disguise? Disguising his identify
The voice of the poet
‘shonky’ side of town – not an honest place – run down
3/10 times you see the town clown- he seems him occasionally
Internal rhyme – ‘town’ and ‘clown’
‘like a basket of washing’- simile – indication of how he dresses. Not matching, again showing he’s an
‘pixel’ implying he’s not real, referring to him as a cartoon. Modern idea like on computers –
contrast between his past and modern life
‘indelible ink’ images of art
The poet says ‘think what he’ll look like in 30 years time’ range of emotions – may feel sorry for him,
he’s reminding himself out of fear. Who’s he talking to? Us or children in general? Reminding them
of what could become of them
‘deflated face’ – gone old, saggy skin. Tattoos are out of date
‘shrunken scalp’- losing hair, ideas of going old – wrinkly with tattoos
‘high punk’ when it was at its peak. ‘sad’ tattoos – affects of time on the punk. More about fashion
then belief. Rebellious act
slathers his ‘daft mush’ – blood? Spit?
‘remember’ asking us to remember. ‘dyed brain’ – brainwashed? By the ink that he’s had on his face
for all this time.
‘let it rain’ – let it be washed out from your memory? Imagine the clown punk without all the tattoos
and see who he truly is. Asking us to move on? And wish it away from our memories.
Checking Out Me History
First person, not a persona, voice is created
rhyming constantly in poem when talking about what he was taught. Showing he was constantly
taught about white history. When he’s talking about his heroes, the
‘Dem’ – THEY have the power to decide what he’s told, shows his voice, accent and dialect.
Repeated twice and this is significant. Implies he’s being bombarded with it. Idea of force, and has
no choice in the matter. Accusing them. Present tense...so is it still happening?
Uses metaphors to describe how he is feeling ‘bandage up me eye with me own history’ ‘blind me to
me own identity’ saying they are doing it deliberately, being excluded from his history
its all about his history and identity.
The verse ends with the name of the black hero and the next verse is all about that hero. This verse
is indented, showing how this is important to him. In these verses the language is more
sophisticated. Feel of a chant. Use of short sentences again shows importance to him – how he is
finding out for himself. Metaphor used to show how important Toussaint was. ‘thorn’ something
that hurt. Compared to a ‘beacon’. Suggests he’s a shining example of fire that started revolution.
Tell him about meaningless things like who discovered the balloon and nursery rhymes but that
doesn’t mean anything to him. They tell him insignificant things when they should be telling him
about people like Nanny de maroon. The verse has a child like sing song effect to it, as he’s talking
about nursery rhymes fits in well.
When talking about Nanny, describes her as ‘see-far’ – sees beyond slave resistance and idea of
seeing into the future. Again metaphors used – ‘mountain dream’ – something the poet sees as
important – a vision. ‘fire-woman’ – again ideas of light – his heroes. ‘Hopeful stream’ ‘to freedom
river’. She starts as a hopeful stream but then turns into something much bigger and more power –
river. Sense of power. Connected to nature.
Feeling of annoyance throughout the poem, because he’s taught about Columbus but there were
already people in America before it was discovered implying that their history isn’t correct. The
structure changes slightly, showing how much he was taught about white history but non about
‘she volunteer to go and even when de British said no’ – rhyming no and go which is significant
because Mary Seacole still went and this is what Agard is doing, he is still finding out his own history
and making his identity even if ‘they’ won’t let him. ‘a healing star’ again ideas of light. ‘yellow
sunrise’ a new hope for dying people. In the last verse ‘dem tell me’ is repeated as it is in the first
paragraph however structure is different. ‘Dem tell me what dem want to tell me’ is on the same
line while before it was on separate lines. So its now compressed. ‘but now i checking out me own
history’. He’s fighting them, he’s taken matters into his own hands and he’s ‘carving out me identity’
again ideas of fighting them and ‘carving’ shows effort, he’s making an effort to find out for himself,
and carving is like permanent, this is who he will always be. He’s carving out what he thinks is
Persona is created – character in the poem.
‘They’ shouted for him – more than one person, shows his importance at that time. The fact that
they shouted for him shows it’s urgent. They need his help when the horses ‘snort’ and when they
are ‘restless’. He’s called for the horses displeasure.
He says he has a ‘secret’ could be magical? He then says ‘a charm’ again referring to how his
techniques may be unrealistic.
Horses described as ‘tender giants’ shows his compassion towards the horses by using a metaphor.
How they are large but calm animals. They need him and he goes to help them. ‘tender giants to his
hands’ shows how the horses trust him. Size and power. He’s good at what he does so its described
as being magical because not everyone can do it.
Again in this verse ‘they shouted for me’ he’s still needed. Repetition used to show how much he
was needed. Again the horses displeasure – ‘reared’. Poet uses this displeasure to show much the
horse whisperer takes pride in his work as he is the only one that can comfort and calm the horses
when they are not happy.
Alliteration also used in this verse ‘a new few to fight the fear of fire’ - this emphasizes the fire.
Replaces the fire with something else – feels like a spell (incantation). Something more intimidating
and bigger to ‘lead the horses’. He likes being a leader and a simile is used to portray this ‘like
helpless children to safety’ makes it seem as if he’s doing something bigger than just controlling the
horses or could be compared to this. Make us feel as if the horses DO need help and he wants to
‘I swore I would protect’ – pride and feelings shown. His emotions – how important this job is to him
and how important the horses are. ‘legacy of whispers’ – like it’s been passed down.
Then the tractors came – technology and the horses were no longer needed and then neither was
he. Shown ‘i was the life blood no longer’ metaphor - it makes it seem as if he was no longer at the
heart of it and makes us feel sorry for him because he’s been used. ‘pulpits’ idea of religion, they no
longer had faith in him. Set in historical times- called a ‘demon’ and ‘witch’ and he was forced to
leave ‘pitchforks’ drove him out.
His ‘gifts’ – secrets and charms ‘were the tool of revenge’ – he uses his gift to kind of put a curse on
them ‘hex’- superstitious and magical . Uses his ability in a bad way – what was once good is now
used for bad as they drove him out. ‘A foul hex above a stable door so a trusted stallion could be
ridden no more’- door and more rhyme putting more emphasis on the curse. He then joined the
‘stampede’ – showing idea that they’re forced to run away from the people who don’t understand.
‘with others of my kind’ – sense of identity, where he belongs, with people who understand him. ‘of
his kind’ – sense of humour slightly – like different types of horses and he kind of belong to their
He ‘still’ misses them – present participle. He still cares for the horses – it’s all about them. Suggests
it’s been a long time.
‘shire, Clydesdale, suffolk’ – working breeds of horses – shows his emotion – how clear his memory
is. Evocative image and lists of 3 – powerful. ‘searing breath, glistening veins, steady tread and the
pride, most of all the pride’ uses 3 syllables creates a rhythm. The pride he had working with them
and how the horses went to him. He’s proud of what he did.
The verses in the poem get smaller showing how he is fading away and how his gift now means
First person persona – dramatic monologue – Character is essential to action – telling the story
‘a suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy’ – cause of problem, her feelings turn her to medusa.
The word ‘grew’ makes this feeling physical.
‘hairs on my head’ – thoughts are the snakes becoming physical.
‘as though my thoughts hissed and spat’ – links with snake, snakes noises. ‘hissed’ ‘spat’ –
onomatopoeia. Suggests she can’t control them.
‘my’ – possessive – ‘brides breath’ – alliteration, newly married.
‘soured’ ‘grey’ – ideas of age ‘grey bags of my lungs’ – she doesn’t appreciate life
‘foul’ mouthed ‘foul’ tongued – repetition – disgusted with herself. ‘now’ indicates change of person
‘grey’ to ‘yellow’ – colour change
‘bullet tears’ – word bullet could be a threat – her eyes turned them to stone? She wants to kill him,
negative connotations, weapon imagery.
Question at end of verse ‘ are you terrified’ links it to the next verse.
‘be terrified’ – threat for hurting her. ‘it’s you I love’ – links idea of fear and love.
‘greek god’ – good looking, links to myth. ‘my own’ – possessive
‘betray’ and ‘stray’ rhyme within the line, showing how they both link, he betrayed her and went
away. Full stop at end – indicates he doesn’t have a choice. That’s what will happen.
‘Stone’ and ‘own’ rhyme – that’s the only way she can keep him , by turning him to stone. Ideas of
Then moves on to past tense – ‘glanced’ – first she just glanced, she didn’t mean it. ‘buzzing bee’
links in with the man because bees are always buzzing to other flowers.
When she turned them to stone ‘dull pebble fell to the ground’ ‘dusty gravel spattered down’ – as if
‘looked’ – grown in intensity. ‘cat’ – links in to men as cats aren’t loyal, always moving around.
‘pig’ is a dirty animal. ‘heap of shit’ – referring to him.
The animals increase in size as the verses go on, from bee – bird – cat – pig.
‘stared’ the way she looks at something increase – more powerful, more intense.
‘love gone bad’ – seeing herself transform ‘showed me a gorgon’ – turns people to stone.
‘stared at a dragon’ – dragon describes her – women often described as dragons. She turned herself
into a volcano – ‘fire spewed from the mouth of a mountain’ Her angers coming out. Volcano is
ready to erupt.
‘shield for a heart’ – He has also transformed – hiding his feelings from her.
‘sword for a tongue’ – what he says is truthful and it hurts her. Again weapon imagery.
‘your girls, your girls’ – word YOUR shows possessiveness – repetition showing how much this hurts
her – other girls he sees.
‘Wasn’t I beautiful?’ – past tense showing she may not be anymore. Goes back to the myth, she
thinks he is cheating.
‘Wasn’t I fragrant and young?’ – feels like she isn’t any longer. 2 questions in a row show how much
old age has affected her.
‘look at me now’ – last line in the poem. Lots of different meanings.
- so she can turn him to stone?
- just look at her
- what she has become
- what he has done to her
‘now’ – the end of her – end of poem, end of him – emphasized.
Clearly crafted idiolect. Title – Singh – Indian name – way to describe Indian accent. ‘song’ – show
that it’s his voice.
Character runs family business. ‘ov’ – shows the accent. First line sets up difference between father
and son. Sets the accent and phonetic spelling.
Stereo typical Indian character.
‘I do di lock’ – shows he is defying his father
‘cos up di stairs’ – punglish – Punjabi and English. ‘newly bride’ non standard English. Shows he is
newly married and incorrect use of English. Doesn’t follow the rules
‘chapatti’ ‘chutney’ forms an indian culture.
‘rowing through putney’ – ideas of romance. Has a song like feel – links to title.
Use of semi colon shows he is telling the story
‘untied’ ‘cry’ similar words.
italic bit shows what another person is saying, could be an English person but he’s gone an accent.
He’s telling the story so it would be an Indian accent. This part is giving a message – shop isn’t good
‘whole Indian road’ – shows Indian community.
This verse shows his wife is unorthodox – not very traditional. She’s completely different from them.
‘Sikh lover site’ – match making – her own website – running her own business upstairs.
‘meat at di cheese ov her price’ she’s arranging these marriages at her own price.
‘my’ bride shows he is proud of her – repeated in next verse.
‘effing’ – lack of respect
‘making fun at my daddy’ – she’s taking the mick out of him – again ideas she’s not orthodox
‘my’ bride – repeated – pride
‘tiny eyes of a gun’ – metaphor – showing how fierce and dangerous she is
‘tummy of a teddy’ ideas of softness/cuddly. Showing she is deadly for some, but soft for him –
‘red crew cut’ – unconventional. ‘tartan’ sari – not orthodox
‘girls that are pinching my sweeties’ – non standard English. – his explanation of her seems
‘tickle’ – affection/romance. Again the customers provide the chorus – saying how bad his shop is
again showing romance as he cares more about his wife.
‘ven yoo shoppers are wrap up quiet’ – incorrect use of tense – should be wrapped up.
‘concrete-cool’ – alliteration – everything quiet – emphasizing this.
‘whispering stairs’ - personification – hushed and calm
‘silver stool’ – light of the moon. ‘stool’ and ‘cool’ rhyme again showing the romantic feeling.
Last bit of poem repetition – showing they do this all the time, romance. ‘is priceless baby-‘ dash
shows pause, love and affection. Passing of time
Les Grands Seigneurs
First person – female
Title is French: translates to great lords – war lord – reference to women.
‘my’ – possessive – men are there for her, entertainment, amusement, etc. As if she has power.
Repetition of ‘my’
‘castellated towers’ – offers protection – men protected her, felt sheltered.
‘bowers’ – lady’s bedroom – that’s what men were for her.
‘best and worst of times were men’ – unusual ordering – how she spoke.
Bird imagery ‘peacocks’ ‘cockatoos’ – men show off, what they do. ‘nightingales’ – sing at night –
attraction – ‘strutting’ – amusement – sexual link. Birds attract males – all tamed except nightingale.
this is all and illusion because she doesn’t really have any power to start with.
Men were her ‘dolphins’ – followed the ship (her). Sea imagery
‘ballast in her hold’ – they are there to keep her stable.
the fact that they ‘prance’ is ridiculous.
‘hurdy-gurdy monkey-men’ – they are desperate to entertain her. Everything to her, her whole
‘I’ – she’s everything to them. ‘queen’ she’s out of reach. ‘enthroned before them’ – higher than
them. Her innocence were the mens attraction. She has SOME power and the men play along with it.
‘played’ – it was a game to her.
‘troubador’ – singing, poetry. ‘damsel’ – the women and the ‘peach’ – representing innocent love,
‘but’ signal change. ‘wedded’ ‘bedded’ rhyme indicates significance of this.
‘overnight’ lost her virginity. Man got what he wanted – power switched hands.
‘little woman’ what she became – demeaning, insignificant, shows her power is gone
‘wife’ – order of it, shows how low her status is.
‘fluff’ ‘bluff’ rhyme – ‘bluff’ her power wasn’t real in the first place
‘clicked his fingers’ – his demonstration of power, her lack of it. Lost possessiveness, she’s not HIS,
she became a toy, not HIS toy.
By the end, she’s submissive, men are now in control.
Language changed in the last paragraph – more modern.
The womans voice is reflected by her attitude towards men.
Sonnet – unusual because it’s not about love.
‘ozy’ – to breathe – ruling is like breathing.
‘i’ – shows poets talking
‘antique’ – age and value
Talks about how art lasts longer then politics
‘cold command’ – alliteration
‘my name is ozymandias, king of kings:’ – pride comes before a fall
‘look on my works, ye mighty and despair!’ in the form of command – showing power
‘nothing beside remains...The lone and level sands stretch far away’ – all this time stretched on and
nothing left. Sense of loneliness. Secluded from people – no one comes to see him
short sentences – significant because all he has is gone
My last duchess
The duke is talking to an envoy and as he’s of lower status, he’s too scared to say
‘looking as she were alive’ sinister and creepy.
‘wonder’ – admires and is proud of. ‘Fra pandolfs’ – painter – emphasis of painter, not what’s
‘will’t you please sit and look at her’ – inviting someone in. Question mark – giving envoy a
the artist ‘pictured countenance’ – captured her face well – ‘depth and passion’
possessiveness ‘to myself they turned’. He’s in control because HE reveals the painting. He enjoys
the power. ‘none puts by the curtain i have drawn for you’
‘durst’ – dare, shows power
‘how such a glance came there’ – they are asking how that expression got there.
‘not her husband’s presence only’ not only his presence that makes her blush but with other people
too. – jealousy, she’s blushing when he’s not here
‘perhaps fra pandolf’ – painter gave her reason to blush. ‘over my ladies wrist too much’ painter
could be flirting.
‘half flush that dies along her throat’ – sinister idea again.
‘a heart – how shall i say?- too soon made glad’ suggests that she is looking at other men – gets
happily easy and he doesn’t like it. ‘her looks went everywhere’
she likes a lot of things which are equal to him ‘dropping of daylight in the west’ etc etc.
she doesn’t think his ‘900 year old name’ is important as it should be. His status is what he gave her
and she doesn’t think its important because everything else makes her equally happy. She should
‘herself be lessoned so’ – taught a lesson. ‘never to stoop’ – he doesn’t want to lower himself
‘she smiled’ whenever he passed but she also smiled the same smile at anyone – she’s friendly,
smiles at other people – indicates she shouldn’t be doing this.
‘i gave commands’ he ordered people to stop her from doing this, power, he controls her.
‘all smiles stopped all together’ he killed her.
‘as if alive’ sinister again. He still has the power, can see her whenever he wants
‘will’t you please rise?’ he’s talking to someone.
‘my object’ referring to his next wife, possessive pronoun. Object he’s about to marry.
‘notice neptune’ – alliteration and Neptune refers to a violent god
‘taming a sea-horse’ refers to woman.
ends with ‘me’ – obsessed with himself – ends with arrogance.
The River God
Dramatic monologue. First person persona. Mythology. The title tells us the character.
‘i’ first person
‘smelly’ ‘old’ negative description – links in with myths being old and ancient.
He ‘bless’ their swimming - what he can do to them
‘but i can drown the fools’ – honest and open voice. He makes the decision to drown them. He
doesn’t respect people
‘contrary to rules’ he’s powerful
‘in the spirit of clowning’ – death is fun to him – cheerful language, Enjoys it
‘hi hah’ – shows enjoyment
‘once’ story type feeling
‘so i brought her down here’ – destructive love. He had to drown her to have her
‘my beautiful dear’ – his possessive side.
‘my beautiful deep river bed’ possessive again and some repetition
‘beautiful white face lies there’ –physical attraction repeated several times showing how important
it is to him.
‘foolish smelly old river’ – what the humans say but he does have a lot of power.
river who is in love with a woman.
‘not forgive her’ – shows power.
The Hunchback in the park
the poet writes in first person and is there as an observer
the first line repeats title
‘solitary’ – shows he’s lonely
‘propped’ almost as he’s part of the park – contrast to the boys who are always moving
‘dark’ – beginning or end?
‘eating bread from a newspaper’ – homeless? Not equal to the rest of them
‘in the fountain basin where i sail my ship’ – childs point of view, young boy
‘dog kennel’ – he’s even less than a dog..no one wants him
‘no body chained him up’ – he’s not even chained up – danger? Lonely?
‘he came early’ – the boy wouldn’t come early, so maybe park keeper?
‘like the water he sat down’ – part of scenery – just there – means nothing to no one
‘boys from the town’ – boys taunt, torture him, tease him.
‘on out of sound’ – the hunchbacks viewpoint? Switching between viewpoints to show the character
‘past lake and rockery’ – repeated
‘ laughing’ – for the boys its fun
‘hunchbacked in mockery’ – made fun of – kind of cowering away. Repeated from title
‘loud zoo’ people are watching him – view of hunchback
‘old dog sleeper’ dog imagery used throughout oiem – gives the idea he’s less then human – no one
‘alone’ – idea of loneliness again – outsider
‘made the tigers jump out of their eyes’ – fierceness of boys, transforming park through imagination
‘groves were blue with sailors’ his hallucination – viewpoint starts to change.
This verse is more the hunchbacks imagination
‘bell time’ refers to death, powerful imagination
‘a women figure without fault’ –his imagination of woman – the poets older viewpoint on hunchbacl
‘young elm’ – tree nature imagery
‘unmade park’ – refers to unmade bed
‘wild boys’ his viewpoint
‘innocent as strawberries’ - personification
The Ruined Maid
Dramatic dialogue – ballad dialect
ruined because she had sex before marriage
conversation between 2
‘O ‘Melia’ shows connection that they were friends. Loss of A may show her loss of virtue –lost part
of her name
‘crown’ ‘town’ rhyme – shows how the town has made her rich and well?
ironic because she did a bad thing but is better off for it than one who did a right thing ‘fair
garments’ – ‘i’d been ruined’
The one who did right thing still has ‘tatters, without shoes or socks’ and this is what Amelia had
before – contrasting with her life now– shows the woman is envious of her. Comic feel to it which
contrasts with the serious issue.
Lighthearted tone of voice
‘barton’ – farm
characters speak of how her dialect has changed – transformation of identity.
this verse ends with how this happened because she was ruined – as do all the other verses, kind of
reminding her why all these changes have happened.
Repeated idea, how shes changed
she is now defined by the fact that she is ruined. Making fun of her situation
Last verse shows what the one who isn’t ruined wants however she again gets the last line saying
you can’t because your not ruined. In this last verse she has 2 lines, in all the other she has one,
showing how much being ‘ruined’ means.
‘ain’t’ – not really a posh word. Slip of the tongue by Amelia? Is she really changed, can someone
ever change who they are.
Casehistory: Alison (head injury)
The title gives feeling of medical record – ironic because this Alison can’t remember what happened.
Defined by her injury – not who she is
Dramatic Monologue – allows us to hear her thoughts and feelings
2 characters – 2 Alisons
‘(she looks at her photograph) – why? To try and find out who she is/was – remind herself
like a stage direction- we gets to see who she is even if she doesn’t
‘I would like to have known’ – describing the girl in pic as if she doesn’t know her
‘my’ referring to herself as if she’s someone else. ‘she’
Verses are short showing she doesn’t remember much. Short complicated lines
‘enmeshed in comforting Fat, i wonder at her delicate angles Her autocratic knee’ – has she changed
physically? Why would she mention her innocence? ‘delicate’.
keeps saying ‘her’ this isn’t who she is anymore
‘degas dancers’ remembers small things. All the verses link together – so she doesn’t forget?
‘that now lugs me upstairs
Hardly’ – leads on to next verse, doubling the effect of it
‘her face, broken’ makes you think in different ways, bad/negative feeling
‘by nothing sharper then smiles, holds in its smiles’ – She doesn’t know about these smiles, can’t get
an emotional feeling from the picture, makes it emotionless
She knows about the death of her father ‘my fathers dead’ and she has grieved for it but this new
Alison doesn’t understand because she didn’t know this person
‘i do not remember’ she can’t get over the fact that she doesn’t remember and shes annoyed by this
‘i who need reminding’
‘consistency matters’ – the process she goes through to remember, also links in with consistency of
the poem. 2 verses always link up – the consistency of her life.
‘i should like to keep faith with her lack of faith’ – shows the contrast between them too people, also
This verse shows pride ‘proud of this younger self’ ‘her’ achievements, ‘her’ a levels, this isn’t what
she has but what this old Alison has.
‘Poor clever girl!’ – feels pity for the girl in the photograph because she knows what will happen to
her. ‘i know, for all my damaged brain, something she doesn’t’ The Alison in the picture is innocent,
doesn’t know her future..
‘i am her future’ – most emotional it gets – more than 2 deaths, because her older self has to die
and she’s accepted that
‘a bright girl she was’ – repeated showing sympathy, she’s no longer there , pity
On a portrait of a deaf man
‘deaf man’ – the character, a version of himself or his father?
Ballad rhythm going through
‘the kind old face’ – description of man
‘egg shaped head’
Rhyme every other line ‘loud’ ‘shroud’
‘liked’ – past tense, showing he’s dead
The last line in each worse is connected to death – contrast between death and living
The place ‘which hangs on Highgate hill’ – the graveyard? How little he liked it, shows how much the
poet cared for this person
‘pray’ ‘decay’ rhyme – how god can do such things?
The last line is cut short ‘I only see decay.’
signifies end of poem. He’s dead and decayed, nothing more to say. Desperate/helpless?
‘you ask me to believe you and i only see decay’ – anger? Lost or questioning his faith
Juxtaposition – nice image next to death
about a personal story
focuses more on character than death
Voice – admiration, respect, close relationship, resentful towards god/faith, love and affection, vivid
Character deafman – positive ‘kind’ ‘wise’