I will be evaluating and studying two poems named ‘Poem’ and ‘Untitled’. In the poem, which is called ‘Poem’, we observe a man committing good and also bad deeds. We also make out the same theme in the untitled poem but just concentrating on one bad deed that he had committed in is life.
Within ‘Poem’ we see that the man has committed three terrible deeds. He had first slippered his daughter for lying, secondly he had had punched his wife for laughing, thirdly he had twice taken ‘ten quid’ from his mother’s purse when he was little. There is also a rhythm that goes until the last stanza as it goes good, good, good, bad this carries on until the fourth stanza.
“And once, for laughing, punched her in the face.” (Line 8)
We see that punching your wife is the worst thing that you could ever do in your life, we also notice that the word ‘once’ has played a repetition in this poem .By the word ‘once’ this tells us that once he has done something dreadful to some one, they do not happen to do the same mistake again and also it shows that he only did it once not twice.
In the poem, which is identified as ‘Untitled’, we see a straightforward poem in which a young boy tries to proclaim his love for a girl by branding a ring mark on her fingers in a chemistry lab. He could not express his true and meaningful feelings for this girl but found this was the only way to show his emotions, even though it meant hurting her. His words that define his hidden meaning of love all build up to the best moment as to how he eventually lets this girl know how he feels.
“Marked the doctor said, for eternity” (10-11)
We understand at the age of thirteen that was the only understanding he had had for putting a marriage ring on the one he loves. We also see that his body was at the age at puberty and also his hormones were all around his body shooting from one way to anther. We also empathize that this is hideous thing that anyone could have done to someone, as it was a painful way of accepting a marriage ring.
In ‘Poem’ we see a man doing good deeds but then being put down by the bad deeds he had devoted. This poem comes across as though he is being remembered, like at his funeral or a memorial service. It is read as if a close friend or relative was reading it, the use of informal colloquialism suggests this too, ‘ten quid’, and it is clearly detailed and described something that not many people could know unless they were close, ‘twice he lifted ten quid from her purse’. They clearly show likewise, that they, or someone else, are summing up the events in their life, which are to do with relationships. ‘Untitled’ is to do with love for a partner, and ‘Poem’ is to do with love but in a more immature way.
They both show fears about what happened in the past within their relationships. Even though the relationships are based on different types of love, for example the love for a boyfriend or girlfriend is different; they are still relationships, which are what both the poems focus on. The use of symbolism in ‘Untitled’ using the ‘Bunsen burner’ to brand the skin, represent the wedding ring, ‘which you couldn’t shake off’, because of course, you are not supposed to, for the reason that when you get married you are supposed to be together ‘for eternity’. This use of symbolism builds up to when he asks her to marry him representing his ideas that he wants a relationship with this girl. In ‘Poem’ the man appears ‘normal’ at the beginning of each stanza because his actions show what any father or husband would do. However his good and thoughtful actions are then put down and forgotten when something he has done wrongfully is mentioned. The use of symbolism is here also, because when the good things are forgotten it is as though they are being buried just like he probably has too, but also the bad things get laid to rest too but they still get remembered.
We catch sight of rhyme and also rhythms in both poems as they are both sonnets with completed fourteen lines. We notice that in the untitled poem there is no rhyme scheme but there is a lot of assonance used to create rhythm. Armitage also uses half rhyme, ‘burner, ‘handed’ and internal rhyme. The poem begins with slow sorrowful rhythm but speeds up towards the end. There is a pleading, sorrowful and emotional tone. The first stanza is about the planning of what he will do. It is almost as if he takes a deep breath before he continues the second stanza where he actually carries out the “experiment”. It describes what he does and what happens. The third stanza is about his regrets. The poem reads like a script and there is some rhyme. As I mentioned before the word “naked” gives us two different images, as does the word “eternity”. Is a sign of never-ending love but we may also think of eternity rings.
We also see that in “Poem” it has a rhyme scheme in the sonnets. This rhythm continues until the last stanza. Assonance has been used and also quatrain rhymes with a rhyming couplet at the end. As we focus on the first stanza we see that at the end of each line there is a vowel ‘I’ this makes the words rhyme as we also see in the second stanza there is another vowel that is making a rhyme ‘a’ and in the third and fourth stanza the vowel that makes the stanza rhyme are ‘u’ and ‘a’. We see that in each line there is a use of iambic pentameter as this also carries on until the end of the play, we see that he has used iambic pentameter.
“And ever week he tipped up half his wage. (Line5)
And what he didn’t spend each week he saved.” (Line 6)
We see that the man is doing good things but then he is just throwing it away at end by doing something bad; this rhythm continues on all the way through the whole poem in each stanza. We become aware that these vowels are representing rhyme known as assonance. On the other hand the poem still contains one hundred and forty syllables. ‘Poem’, it is very surprising that the sonnet form is used in this poem as the reader at the end of the poem is left with hatred due to what the character in the poem has done
We observe that in ‘poem’ we see a lot of ambiguous language throughout the whole poem. If we refer to the first, second and third stanza we see he uses ambiguous language.
“And slippered her one time that she lied” (Line 4)
This shows that this man was a bad father for slippering his daughter, but then we see that he says ‘one time that she lied’ these words change our thoughts and we then think that he is not a bad father but he had only done it once and she has learned what she had done wrong overall this show that he is teaching his daughter good and bad in society.
When we look back at ‘Untitled’ we see a lot of descriptive language as in ambiguous language so we see that he uses this type of language to have an affect on the reader. As we look back at ‘Untitled’ we see He “played the handles” of the scissors as if it was a game. An example in this poem of Armitage’s ambiguous language is: the “naked lilac flame”. The two different meanings I have discovered are, the flame is unprotected and can do damage, and the boy may have been thinking of a naked girl. The writer addresses the girl as “you” as if she was present in the poem.
The first stanza tells us he is bothered about many things he has done in his life and not least the time he burned her hand in the “chemistry lab”. The word chemistry makes us think of love and emotion. The poem is typical of how far a human being would go to get some-ones attention but we have to remember that the boy is only thirteen and incapable of expressing his love for the girl he wished to marry. The words “unrivalled stench” and “eternity” emphasise how serious the burning actually was. Was the boy branding the girl as his just as farmer’s brand their herd. “Eternity” is a strong word that has been used it means forever but it also makes us think of eternity rings. She will always remember the incident. The poem is quite personal but also ironic.
The poem is about forgiveness, shame and guilt. The writer manipulates us in the last stanza “Don’t believe me, please, if I say that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen”. He asks us not to believe him but I think it is obvious that he wants us to believe him. He is feeling guilty of what he has done in his parts. We see that he uses the word ‘butterfingered’ as this emphasises for forgiveness as he knows that he was done something awful the word butterfingered has two meaning, the first is a person who is clumsy and almost dropping everything constantly. The second meaning is that some one gets burnt then they used to put butter to help the burs to heal up. We see that he is asking for forgiveness and is saying that he will help the burs by buttering it on her so then it can be cured. In the last stanza we also we that he is feeling sorry for himself as he states ‘at thirteen of asking you if you….’
We see that he is backing up his apology by what age group he was when asking for marriage.
At this stage Armitage wants us to make a judgement of the two men in the both poems.
If we look back to ‘Poem’ we see that nearly at the end of the poem we give a judgement of the men in this poem. We see that this person has been remembered as he might have past away. The poem gives us information about this man as he was good at the same time and so a bit bad at the same time, but when we look at the bad thing we judge back to the good thing as well to see if he can own up to what he had done bad. Nevertheless some bad things can not be forgiven, for example, when he punched this wife just for laughing. If I was in the situation I probably would never forgive him for doing such an awful thing. The man shows the love and kindness he had (the same in ‘Untitled’ but he expressed his feelings in different ways) towards his daughter, ‘always tucked his daughter in at night’,’ praised for every meal she made’, and for his mum, he hired a private nurse’. But the use of the abrupt, sharp end phrases, ‘slippered her the one time she lied’, still show that insecurity you get in relationships whether it be your daughter, son, wife, husband est. However we judge this man as a normal person as stated in the last stanza ‘sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that’.
When we look back at ‘Untitled’ at the end of the stanza we see that our mind gives us a judgement of how the person was. If we look back to this age we see why he did such a terrible thing but then at the end of the poem we feel quite sorry for him as he blames his age instead of himself in this situation. We see he could not express his feelings but instead did it in a childish way, but at the end of the stanza we then see he had learnt a bit from this mistake. Nevertheless this poem is quite confusing as he says ‘don’t blame, me please if I say’…. Just my butterfingers way, at thirteen’. Therefore we are unsure of how to judge him because when this incident happened he was only thirteen so we can not say that because of his age group but still we see that he has done something terrible and can not make up for it.
We set our eyes on both poems and we see that both poems are different from one another. Firstly we see that ‘Poem’ is an epitaph as the poem is a speech of his life saying what he did so we know that his man is dead and someone is giving a brief idea of what he is like. The second is that when read he has been remembered by a family member or a near friend. ‘Here’s how they rated him when they look back…” we see that this man has not been forgiven but just remembered for what he has done in this past life. When we look back at ‘Untitled’ we see that the poem is an apology poem. We see that the man is still alive and asking for forgiveness of what he had committed in his past life. In both poems we see that they are both different from each other and have different stories from each other.
The conclusion at the end of both poems shows them or someone else, summing up their lives or past happenings. The person that reads ‘Poem’ does not give him enough praise for the good things he has done and judge him by his mistakes, ‘sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that’, even though the good deeds should overrule the bad things. The summarising of ‘Untitled’ is packed with regret and forgiveness to be asked for, and that it was his age that made him act the way he did. This shows that he had an excuse for his actions; while in ‘Poem’ he should have no excuse because he should have known what he was doing was wrong because he was older and wiser and he was married and had a daughter.
Both poems show that no one is perfect and that humans behave instinctively towards love and relationships and build on that to produce something more, i.e. the marriage proposal. And that humans thrive on love and attention and that they need to be wanted, but when they do something good they are put down for something wrong they have done. It shows that life is life and it can be plain and boring therefore making it predictable and the outcomes known.