Nettles and Praise song for my mother both explore the themes of child parent relationships and the duties the parents have in protecting and caring for their child. Nettles is written from the fathers perspective and is about one event which occurred where his son fell in a nettle bed and the father helps him recover. In contrast to this praise song is written to the mother from her daughter although both are adults whereas nettles emphasizes the child’s young age and vulnerability from the very beginning where “my son aged three” is the very first line. ‘my’ shows the protectiveness and it suggests he believes it is his duty to help him and ‘aged three’ highlights his lack of understanding at the age he is at. ‘Tender’ also indicates the boy’s innocence.
However, praise songs use of repetition with ‘you were’ suggests that the parent’s duty is done and the child is ready to move on in life without the need for her mum to help her any more. But we know the mother has been successful in helping her daughter because of the use of enjambment to show she is continuously caring and the metaphor ‘water to me’ shows she was a vital part of life because water is required to survive. Nettles however shows a new experience for the father as words linked with learning are present throughout. ‘Seemed’ and ‘curious’ shows the uncertainty of the father and finally ‘at last’ shows the relief he felt when he was correct.
The stanzas in praise song build up from a section of 3 regular 3 lined stanzas to a longer, more descriptive forth stanza where it seems emotions have built up and they are let go then. Nettles though is one long 16 line stanza but caesura is used to create a natural flow by and could link to the natural process of caring for your child.
Both poems seem very personal to the writer because of the use of first person in Nettles for example ‘My son’ and ‘I saw’. This makes the poem seem more realistic because the first person writing authenticates the statements made. Praise song however incorporates very culturally specific descriptions such as ‘plantain smell’, which would mean more to her mother than anyone else.
Next, the tones of the pieces could suggest the different worries the different relatives can have. By this I mean the name ‘Nettles’ and the overall tone of the poem is negative and suggests danger this maybe because the poem is from the parents perspective who would be on the lookout for danger to protect his son. Whereas Praise Song is from the daughters view so she wont worry about the dangers facing her mother as much because it isn’t natural to feel its your duty to protect your parents as much as you children.
Finally the endings of the poems are similar in that they both end with statements regarding the children but the ending in Nettles which is ‘My son would often feel sharp wounds again’ is still regarding the theme of the fathers learning because the poem tells the message that you cant always protect your son from danger so this statement is basically aimed at himself. However in Praise song the ending ‘Go to your wide futures you said’ is aimed directly at the daughter and is a very broad question suggesting she believes her daughter no longer needs help deciding and she is giving her freedom.