Some Poets Look from the Particular to the Universal
Some poets look from the particular to the universal to explore human experience. Discuss poems from at least two poets in relation to this statement, considering also the ways in which they achieve their effects. Some poets reflect on the particular and the universals of the world to unveil certain aspects of human experience. Through the use of particular and universal ideas along with Intensive visual and kinesthesia Imagery, the reader Is able to adopt the same feeling of awe at these simplistic spectacles as once felt by the poet.
Hardwood’s poem; ‘in the park uses particular and universal themes and objects to discuss post- total depression. Similarly, Honey’s Poem; ‘Blackberry picking’, uses particular and universal themes and objects to describe a human experience evoking greed and Lust and finally, the transience of time. Nature was also a major theme. Throughout Hennas poem, Blackberry Picking, he describes the blossoming romance and sexual tension between the persona and the ripe blackberries. Written in 1963, By Poet Gwen Hardwood is the Sciatic, ‘in the park’ which delves into the life of a mother experiencing post-natal depression.
Throughout the poem it is evident that persona is discontent with her lifestyle. The paratactic form of the poem, insisting of enjambment, ‘a small balloon… But for the grace of God’, and hyphens ‘passes by-too late’ reflects her disjointedness with her current lifestyle. The masculine rhyme In the first two stanzas emphasis the repetitive cycle of her monotonous existence. This shows her sheer desperation to communicate her unhappiness. Her children are able to whine and bicker’ however, she is forever silenced, and this constant frustration leads her to talk to the wind ‘ to the wind she says, they have eaten me alive’.
When Hardwood refers to the wind, she uses the particular Image to allude to the human experience of loneliness and frustration, as he mother feels like she has nobody else to turn to. Hardwood’s choice of words Is monosyllabic they have eaten me alive’ suggesting a sense of weariness and despair throughout the poem, in turn adding effect for the reader. The children Draw(s) aimless patterns in the dirt’ metaphorically emphasizes her disorientation and lack of direction.
When Hardwood describes the persona as ‘sit(inning) in the park’ she is using the particular Image to figuratively emphasis her lack of energy and enthusiasm even In the midst of the energy radiating from the children surrounding her. She Is portrayed as lifeless, static and Ignored. Her clothes ‘out of date’, creates a particular image, which suggests her loss of identity and self-indulgence. ‘Nursing the youngest child’ reflects her inclined responsibility, which further underscores her need to care for others and therefore forget about herself. ‘Someone she loved once’ symbolizes the love, romance, and the life she once lived.
The irony that she is ‘rehearsing the children’s name and birthdays’ Is effective, as birthdays should be a Joyous and a pleasurable event, however, In this context It Is seen as a chore group of children who experience a rude awakening in which they experience the renaissance of time, and what it destroys. Summer is universal, and Haney uses it to describe the atmosphere of the countryside in which the children pick blackberries. The heat of summer gives off organic connotations of passion and pulsation, which establishes a synthetic and seductive mood from the beginning of the poem.
The blackberries’ flesh’ is like ‘Thickened wine’ biblically alludes to the sanctity or status above the persona. He uses worldly imagery to magnify such a small feat of nature, the blackberry, in an attempt to demonstrate how both nature and memories are important in dealing with many of the woes of a modern society. The poem creates an atmosphere of cacophony in that, it uses plosives such as ‘glossy, ‘blob’, and ‘clot’, as well as difficult to read words such as thickened’, to recreate the textures of the ‘ripe’ blackberries in the reader’s mouth.
The children are referenced from the particular and reflect unrestrained desire. Haney uses a caesura in the final line of the second stanza ‘each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not’, along with the monosyllabic choice of words, to suggest a compelling tone of gloom and pessimism, and that the persona has admitted defeat. Haney uses kinesthesia imagery to undermine the literal meaning of the poem. They surrender to the ‘lust for picking easily, savoring the sweet taste of the first berry, but hoarding the rest in numbers they cannot possible consume, ‘picked until the cans were full’.
Their craving controls them, lead by an outburst of greed. They too signify humanity in the poem, in their new of that which is ‘gutting on their cache’, and their sense of ” injustice – ‘it isn’t fair’ that what they have so greatly desired and gained is snatched from them by the prompt processes of time. Taken from its home in the sun, and hoarded, life is slowly destroyed, changed beyond recognition and enjoyment by the stile ‘rat grey fur’. Like the transformation of the taste of the blackberries from sweet to sour, the tone of the poem changes concurrently.
The monosyllabic conclusion to the poem ‘each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not’, also suggests a desperation within the group, despite unfortunate results every time, they continue to expect a different result the next. Poets use universal and particular images to explain and portray human experiences more vividly to the reader. Hardwood alludes to universal imagery such as the wind; and the behavior of children, and particular images such as; the mother’s superficial investigation with her past lover to express certain ideas about society, and in this case post-natal depression.
Henna’s use of particular imagery such as the children’s undying obsession with the blackberries, and universal imagery, such as the use of nature to represent the female oppressed, in the elegy, blackberry picking further emphasis the effect of the children’s epiphany, altogether gaining empathy from the reader. The children experience a deep-seated realization of reality and the transience of time, whilst the reader discovers the decadence of greed.