Last Updated 16 Jun 2020

Comparing and Contrasting

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Essay type Research
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Compare and contrast the way the poets present a rustic activity? The two poems ‘Photograph of Haymaker 1890’ by Molly Holden and ‘Hay-making’ by Gillian Clarke portray rustic activity in a similar way. The poem ‘Photograph of Haymaker 1890’ consists of two stanzas and this could be linked to the fact that it is a reminiscing photo of a man who cuts hay. This shows the rustic activity due to the fact it is the poet possibly describing a relative of hers working. Whereas, the poem ‘Hay-making’ has three very short stanzas. We can link the short, fast flowing stanzas with the fact that the title seems synonymous with love making.

The poet Molly Holden cleverly uses the imagery of life and death throughout her poem ‘Photograph of Haymaker’. An example being ‘to whet his scythe’ this conveys the message of death and an image of a grim reaper. Holden cleverly juxtaposes this with the phrase ‘white shirt lit by another summer’s sun’. Gillian Clarke also uses an intriguing juxtaposition, ‘these hot nights’. This juxtaposition shows a sultry image of natural passion. You could also link this to rustic activity if you imagine a worker possibly working in the night time. The tones of the two poems seem completely different from each other.

Holden’s poem, ‘Photograph of Haymaker’ has a nostalgic tone ‘he pausing from his work... trousers tied below the knee’. The phrases used give the connotation of the poet bringing back good memories. This is what photographs tend to do. Clarke uses enjambment as she does not use punctuations to break up the flow of her poem and this adds to the dreary tone. Towards the end of the poem we see more evidence of rustic activity. The poet Molly Holden uses enjambment throughout the last stanza, ‘sweet hay and gone some seventy years ago and yet they stand before me in the sun’.

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This enjambment gives the image of hay possibly falling down. We can link this to rustic activity if we create an image in our head of hay falling down in a country farm. Gillian Clarke’s poem has an interesting caesura before the word ‘Breathe’, this can be seen as a command possibly suggesting how the ritual of harvesting is metaphorically inspirational. Another important phrase which is strongly linked to rustic activity is, ‘in the scratch of the hay’. The ‘scratch’ of the hay creates a physical link between rural nature of a farm for instance and the act of human love making. We can also say that this is onomatopoeia.

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