Themes: War, Death/Human Suffering, Vivid language/imagery, Religious Imagery
Type: Regular form
- Written by Carol Ann Duffy – first female Poet Laureate
- The poem explores the differences between Rural England and a warzone
- The photographer doesn’t feel at home in the warzone – “impassively” “where he earns his living” – but doesn’t feel at home in Rural England either.
- The subject is a war photographer
- Quote from the Bible (“All flesh is grass”) – the impermanence of human life
- Describes a “half-formed ghost”
- “tears will prick their eyes” – but only between a bath and pre-lunch beers meaning it won’t affect them for long and will return to their leisurely life
- Uses very vivid language and imagery to convey horror in warzones
- Alliteration – “spools of suffering”
- The image of mines exploring beneath the feet of children is horrific
- The first verse conveys how seriously the photographer takes his work – compares his work to a priest’s at Mass (religious symbolism)
- Describes how his hands tremble while he is developing photographs – his hands were steady when taking the pictures, but his feeling can emerge in his darkroom
- Unusual rhyming scheme – ABBCDD – which gives a sense of orderliness contrasts this subject (human suffering)
- Regular form – a way of containing, controlling, and dealing with the pain and anger the poet feels
- The form is unchanging, the stanzas are all the same length and the rhyme is constantly suggesting that nothing will ever change; despite the photographer’s efforts
- The poem is circular, a closed-loop where nothing can change
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