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The poet’s use of form Essay Sample

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The poet’s use of form Essay Sample

In the poems “London” by William Blake and “Iguana Memory” by Grace Nichols there are many different ideas and themes which are expressed in different ways, however the form of the poem is not the only method used to convey these to the audience.

In “London” Blake uses a conventional rhyme scheme throughout, there is an ABAB pattern.

“…cry of every man….voice in every ban”

By using this simple scheme the poem seems to be repetitive and regular. This may be used to illustrate London in terms of the city being quite dull and without life. This idea is also put across by use of adjectives and the other words used to describe the setting.

“Every black’ning Church appals”

“Runs in blood down Palace walls”

Words such as this have negative connotations as blood is related to pain and violence. This depicts what life in London was like. Similarly Nichols uses descriptive words to express the idea of children and childlike thoughts. By doing this we as the reader can imagine what it was like for her, as a child, to see the iguana.


Also we gather the impression from the form of the poem that it was deliberate written by Nichols in the style of a child. For example there is no rhyme scheme, no meter of beats in a line, this makes the poem seem quite jumpy and unpredictable. This represents the voice of a child as a child is unable to express their thoughts in a precise manner. Also the jerky rhythm could also signify the excitement of the child upon seeing such a fascinating creature. However this may be wrong as the poem is written in the past tense, as Nichols looks back upon her childhood, hence the title “Iguana Memory”.

The idea of excitement within the writer is also put across through the use of alliteration.

“big like big big lizard…”

Not only is this again childlike language but the repetition makes the reader read the poem at a faster pace, which is like an excited child. This could also be perceived as a representation of the lizard, running quickly across the path way and showing how brief the moment that the poem is explaining was. This speed is also increased by Nichols through the use of little punctuation. There is not a single full stop or comma within the poem.

In London one major idea is the divide between poverty and royalty. This is to represent largely through the use of words which produce connotations to certain images. Such as the word “palace” instantly makes the reader think of grand buildings and richness. However in contrast to this words phrases like “…chimney-sweeper’s cry” reminds us of poor, dirty children. We think this because as the reader we are aware of William Blake’s era and the conditions he lived in through our historical knowledge. In this context therefore being a chimney sweep was a gruesome and painful labour.

Just like in “Iguana Memory” Blake uses repetition to put across feelings however in a very different manner. For three lines in a row in one stanza the line begins with the same phrase.

“In every…”

Not only is the repletion making the poem seem monotonous and dull by making the reader repeat them selves over and over again but the actual words used again have this effect. The word “every” makes the text repetitive in itself as it gives the reader the feeling of boredom and reoccurring events. Once again this is I think used as a technique to represent the everyday, grotty and rundown environment of London.

The child and the youth in “Iguana Memory” is also reinforced through the use imagery and colour connotation.

“…for the green of its life”

The word green is a strong word in terms of its power and ability to easily produce thoughts in the readers mind. It forces the reader to imagine freshness and youth in whatever is being described, in this case being the Iguana. Also through the poem as the reader I gather the thought that Nichols intended for us to believe that the child and the iguana are nearly one with each other. Not in a spiritual way but they are extremely similar in the way that they act and move, the way that they care for the world. Therefore this makes the child, again, seem exciting and fresh.

In conclusion I do think that the form of each of the poems plays an important role in the exploration of ideas and feelings however there are many more techniques which do this job in a more effective way.

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