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The Cockroach

Class 6 Your Nota

Class 5 Poetry

 

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Pike

Pike, three inches long, ______________ (adjective)
Pike in all parts, green ______________ (verb) the gold.
Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.
They ____________(verb) on the surface among the flies.

Or move, stunned by their own grandeur,
Over a bed of____________ (noun) , silhouette
Of ______________  (adjective) delicacy and horror.
A hundred feet long in their world.

In ponds, under the heat-struck lily pads-
Gloom of their stillness:
Logged on last year’s black leaves, watching upwards.
Or hung in an amber ___________ (noun) of weeds

The jaws’ hooked _____________ (noun) and fangs
Not to be changed at this date:
A life subdued to its instrument;
The gills ______________ (verb) quietly, and the pectorals.

Three we kept behind glass,
Jungled in weed: three inches, four,
And four and a half: fed fry to them-
Suddenly there were two. Finally one

With a sag _________ (noun) and the grin it was born with.
And indeed they spare nobody.
Two, six pounds each, over two feet long
High and dry and dead in the willow-herb-

One jammed past its gills down the other’s gullet:
The outside eye stared: as a __________ (noun) locks-
The same ______ (noun) in this eye
Though its film shrank in death.

A pond I fished, fifty yards across,
Whose lilies and muscular tench
Had outlasted every visible stone
Of the monastery that planted them-

Stilled legendary depth:
It was as _________ (adjective) as England. It held
Pike too __________ (adjective) to stir, so immense and old
That past nightfall I dared not cast

But silently cast and fished
With the hair _________ (adjective) on my head
For what might move, for what eye might move.
The _______ (adjective) splashes on the dark pond,

Owls ____________ (verb) the floating woods
Frail on my ear against the ______________ (noun)
Darkness beneath night’s darkness had freed,
That rose slowly toward me, ______________ . (verb)Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 12.26.57 PMScreen shot 2013-10-14 at 12.28.17 PM

Class 4 Poetry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEto1-ZTbd4

This is an intriguingly ambivalent portrayal of a snake.  Wright manages to convey an impression that the snake is both strikingly important as well as nothing much to worry about.

Devices: In the image of the “sun glazed [on] his curves of diamond scale,” Wright seems to emphasise the snake’s special, regal qualities through her use of the diamond metaphor.  The snake glitters mesmerisingly before the speaker’s eyes.  She also uses alliterationat several points to dramatise the snake’s authority, such as in the phrase, “food / fled living from his fierce intent”.  The alliterative words here fall on strongly stressed syllables which gives a sense of the snake’s power.   Wright finishes with a pointedly nonchalant tone as they “took a deeper breath of day, / looked at each other, and went on.”

Word Choices: The snake comes across as an invasive and arresting threat comparable to the famous serpent in the Genesis story in The Bible, especially in the contrast Wright’s words make between the walkers’ calm, warm world and the snake’s active, cold one.  The sibilant words in the opening line, “Sun-warmed in this late seasons’ grace”, establishes a relaxed warm mood which the snake penetrates: it “froze” the walkers mid-stride.  In addition, the word “Cold” has a heavy effect at the start of the final stanza, which leaves a final impression of the snake’s potent presence.  However, unlike the biblical snake, this one ultimately fails to gain dominance over the walkers.

Summary
The poet and her companion were walking on a pleasant autumn day when they see a black snake that speeds past, intent on catching its prey. The rest of the poem concentrates on the reactions of the poet and her companion. As they stood still taken aback by the sudden appearance of the snake in the grass, the snake slithers away.
Main Subject
The main subject of the poem is the sudden appearance of the snake and the surprised reactions of the poet and her companion. The snake does no harm to the walkers and they in turn do not harm the snake.
Purpose
Apart from being a poet, Judith Wright was also an environmentalist who sought to preserve the natural surroundings in Australia. She cared intensely for the Aboriginal people who lived in close intimacy with nature which the settlers did not. The poem is on the face of it about sudden appearance of the snake but it could also be about the various creatures that lived in Australia and the animal friendly way of life of the aboriginal people.
Emotions
The initial emotion that overtakes the poet and her companion is shock or surprise. They are in no jungle but walking along a grassy patch when they see the snake “reeling by”. Soon this surprise is overtaken by admiration for the perfection of its body, the symmetry of the scales on its surface and the single minded (“fierce intent”) pursuit of its prey.
“Head down, tongue flickering on the trail
he quested through the parting grass,
sun glazed his curves of diamond scale
and we lost breath to see him pass.”
Technique / Craftsmanship
The poem has a tightly controlled structure that does not permit much innovation, but the last stanza gives the poet some leeway. The beginning of the poem describes a peaceful scene when nature is full of the mellow sunshine of autumn, then comes the surprise of finding a snake in their midst. But there is no sudden movement or strong emotion expressed so there is no change in the structure either.
Structure
The poem has four quatrains with a traditional rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef in the first three stanzas but the fourth stanza is ghhg. The change in the last stanza is like the letting out of breath (“We took a deeper breath of day,”) after having unconsciously held it while the snake was around.
Language
The language used is very simple but the imagery is strong making it a visceral poem. The choice of sibilants (“we scarcely thought; still as we stood”) mimics the movements of the snake.
Imagery
The use of strong imagery marks the poem. The opening images are of a balmy day in autumn when there is a “mellow fruitfulness” everywhere. The calm is broken by the sudden arrival of the snake. The picture of the snake in single minded pursuit of its prey, tongue darting as it feels the ground, the grass parting as it moves through are pen pictures which allow us to “see” the event. The poem focuses on the event rather than the narrator allowing us to share in the emotions.
Movement / Rhythm
The rhyme scheme is a simple abab, cdcd, efef and ghhg. The rigidity of the scheme allows the poet to focus on the event rather than on the emotions or the feelings of the poet or blank narrator. Movement of the snake is copied in the movement of the lined. The sibilants evoke a slithering sensation.
Sounds
Alliterative sounds as in “sun glazed his curves of diamond scale”, “we scarcely thought; still as we stood” convey the impression of a slithering movement of the snake as it moved fast over the grass.
Figures of Speech
Through an extended metaphor, the poet tells us of the symbiotic relationship between the snake and man. There is no maudlin talk about the prey or the cruelty of the snake as a hunter but merely an acknowledgement of the sense of purpose behind the movement of the snake.

Class 3 Poetry

A Different History – Sujata Bhatt

A Different History
Sujata Bhatt
Summary: The poet here talks about the affects of colonization or globalization for that matter. Whatever the case she addresses a sudden change in the way society thinks and how we should try to preserve it. She also talks about the loss of culture that comes with globalization and the loss of part of our history as we reject the teachings of the old culture and of our old heritage. It could be for this reason that she decided to name the poem A Different History.
 
Significant poetic devices and their significance (eg: Metaphors, symbols, rhyme scheme, form, imagery, repetition… etc)
Structure based analysis
1.       Note lines 9 to 14 and notice the indentations of the lines.
“It is a sin to shove a book aside
                                with your foot,
a sin to slam books down
                hard on a table,
a sin to toss one carelessly
                across a room”
Note that the poet has done this purposely to accentuate the action described. Similar to when you kick a book, the sentence suddenly shifts to the right, as if you have kicked it into that position. In the same way when you slam a book hard on a table or toss it carelessly across the room you move the book, although perhaps not as far if you had kicked it, thus the exaggerated indentation in the first line.
2.       Similarly, the whole of the second stanza is indented. This shows perhaps a form of limitation or segregation between the two.
a.       The first stanza represents the ones unaffected by globalization and the western society. People who maintained their “original” culture.
b.      The second stanza represents those who chose to migrate and are bound to or favour the expat or international or western culture.
Note that although the degree of indentation is different, the border is the same. This means that the second stanza has less ‘line space’. This perhaps can address the issue that the thinking of the next generation is narrower and less open minded. It also shows how little in breath they know about their society and their heritage, especially one as rich as India.
3.       Assonance. This means that we can find internal syllables rhyming with each other. Note the word “book”, “foot”, “room”, “wood”, “swooping”. The significance of it being that perhaps with globalization, you still retain some of your heritage, which still allows you to be saved. Note how the four “oo” sounds can be found in the first stanza, while the last one is only found at the end. Perhaps this can be used as an index to show your level of knowledge of your past. Similarly, it can mean that you never really truly forget your culture, but perhaps lose a bit or remember little, no matter how much you are influenced by globalization, colonization or one of those –izations. Especially in places like America, a lot of the Asians are Westernised, but keep parts of their heritage alive, perhaps like eating Chinese food or something.
4.       Free verse.
a.       This demonstrates the fact that the poem is a completely free and is basically used to vent the poet’s opinions on the matter. She perhaps is saying that her opinion belongs to her and she just wishes to express them onto the world. She could perhaps be saying that she is not right, nor is she saying that globalization is necessarily a bad thing.
b.      On the other hand, she could be saying that globalization or westernization is a completely different thing, a phenomena that humans have not ever experienced in the history of us living together. It breaks all conventions as it has never been done before, similar to how this poem, with its free verse and peculiar paragraphing, breaks all conventions of a typical poem.
5.       The whole poem is in English. This completely contradicts the fact that she is ranting about the change in culture and language and the horrible effects of the something-ization when she is speaking the language caused by it. She is in this way putting herself not on the pedestal but beside it, saying that she is one of the stupid something-ized people to create an empathy link between the reader and the poet, perhaps making it look as if  ‘we can do this together’ kind of image. She is putting herself in the humble position.
 
Text level analysis
1.       “Great Pan is not dead; he simply emigrated to India” Take note that Great Pan is the only God ever died in Roman history. What she is saying here is that he is not dead, but actually emigrated to India. Take note that people tend to migrate to places that are more beneficial to us, showcasing the fact that India is a beautiful place to go to to live your life. She goes on to talk about this in the next line.
2.        “here the gods roam freely; disguised as snakes or monkeys…”  we can find juxtaposition here. How can one roam freely if you have to disguise yourself as something else? This once again relates to globalization or one of the –izations. Note that Pan is a Greek God and he has moved to India. Similarly, it can perhaps show that foreigners are allowed to roam freely and have been for many years, as long as they do not make their presence known. They do not separate themselves from the local people nor do they treat themselves any differently. Therefore they adopt the culture of the people and act accordingly, similar to how the Gods have to be succumb to be one of the animals that can be usually found in India (such as the snakes and monkeys) Become one of the crowd, and you will live a happy life.
3.       “Every tree is sacred
and it is a sin
to be rude to a book.
It is a sin to shove a book aside
with your foot,
a sin to slam books down
hard on a table,
a sin to toss one carelessly
across a room.
You must learn how to turn the pages gently
without disturbing Sarasvati,”
Here she continues her description, using the word sacred, relating to the divinity of the area, as if the area was a garden for Gods. However, she starts becoming negatives and starts listing what not to do. She uses the contrasting word, sin, to exemplify the vast contrast between the two and to make what you are not allowed to do a mortal sin, something that is almost a tragedy to do. Once again, note the repetition of the word sin, once again amplifying how terrible it is to do such a thing. At the end she explains her actions that we must learn to respect books and use them in such a way that would make Sarasvati, the God of the arts, happy.  The poet obviously treats poetry as an art so it would be normal for her to be mentioned.  Books, of course, hold history, and she is basically saying that we should respect our history (culture, heritage… wink wink)
4.       “without offending the tree
from whose wood paper was made.”
Of course by this she is saying that to not insult the tree, who sacrificed its life to make a work of art that we can do nothing else but enjoy and appreciate what it has done for us.
5.       “Which language ,
has not been the oppressor’s tongue?
Which language
Truly meant to murder someone?”
Here she is addressing the loss in language. Because of globalization, we are now speaking the tongue of the foreigners. It is this way that she is using this as a form of mockery to say
that ‘by speaking the language of the enemy, we have already given up mentally’. She is trying to say in a sense ‘wake up! Can’t you see what you’re doing? Why are you speaking the tongue of our enemies? Which language destroyed (murdered) our heritage/culture?’ It can be a slap to the dignity and the inner heritage of every man.

Oppressor à Conquerer
6.       “And how does it happen
that after the torture,
after the soul has been cropped
with a long scythe swooping out
of the conqueror’s face-
the unborn grandchildren
grow to love that strange language.”
This is obviously an attack on the morals of every man in India, basically by trying to get them guilty. Of course here she is saying that the something-izers have caused a lot of turmoil in a country that was otherwise very happy before. They have tortured us and made us do things we didn’t like (after the torture,after the soul has been cropped with a long scythe swooping out of the conqueror’s face-)perhaps either physically or mentally, or both. Why is it that after all this time that the next generation (unborn grandchildren) are going to grow up in that strange language? This demonstrates the despair in the heart of the poet as she already knows that the children are about to adopt the language of the foreigners, perhaps because the father or mother have already grown to love that language because it is already so deeply ingrained into the minds of the people that make up the society. They don’t even know how to talk their own native language anymore. The fact that she mentions grandchild illustrates the fact that she is talking to the elders, the ones most considered wise in almost every society. This shows that she is talking to them, indicating that getting an audience with them is hard and that only people with relevant arguments can arrange a meeting with them, making her argument a very significant one.
7.       The use of repetition in the last stanza “which language”. In addition to the phrase being on its own line, this phrase exudes an accusive tone in her phrase, expressing severe criticalness in her expression.
 
Speaker of the poemThe writer herself. Sujata Bhatt
 
Speaker’s attitude toward the subject of the poemDissatisfied, distressed, hopeful, still optimistic that we can change, moralistic, relies of emotions rather than logic (emotional)
 
Paired poems (Identify poems in the anthology and why they are appropriate to be paired)
1.       Perhaps The Planners in the sense of inevitability and distress over the fact that nothing will ever be the same again and how fake everything really is and how different it is compared to the past. It also in a sense mocks the system that governs the development implying that it causes more damage than good.
2.       Where I come from in the sense of the comparison between urbanization and rural atmosphere. We can to a certain extent say the same as India was really quite a rural area before one of those –izations.
3.       Where I come from as we can see a similar style in structure as they are split to show a bigger contrast and that there is a indentation in the beginning of the second stanza.
 
Memorable lines
1.       “You must learn how to turn the pages gently without disturbing Sarasvati”
2.       “Here the gods roam freely, disguised as snakes or monkeys”
3.       “without offending the tree from whose wood the paper was made”
4.       “Which language truly meant to murder someone?”