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The Comparison Of Two Poems, 'Follower' By Seamus Heaney And'Imitations' By Dannie Abse

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The comparison of two poems, 'Follower' by Seamus Heaney and'Imitations' by Dannie Abse

The Poems 'Follower' and 'Imitations' are very alike in some ways but different in others. They have obvious points of comparisons and yet behind both poems is an individual story. Seamus Heaney, born in 1939 into a farming family, wrote 'Follower'. He is Britain's most admired poets and won the nobel prize for literature in 1995. Dannie Abse wrote 'Imitations', he was born in 1923 into a Jewish family in Cardiff. They each have simple reading structures for an easier read. Both writers talk from their own point of view, from their own experiences in their lives. They talk very intimately and detailed to form determined poems.

Looking at both poems, there are comparisons in each part, including the subject, themes, structure, images and language. The subject in follower is the relationship between a father and a son. In 'Follower' Seamus Heaney is speaking as the son, who talks about his father working on a farm. This has references to his own childhood as he was brought up on a hard working farm in County Derry, Northern Ireland. The mood starts off pleasant and calm in a natural and flowing way. It then ends sad and pitiful. In the beginning of the poem he describes how he was staggering behind his father when he was a young boy. But when they both grew older, their positions change and so his father is now the follower who stumbles behind Heaney, the son. 'But today, It is my father who keeps stumbling, Behind me, and will not go away.' And so the poem ends quite dramatically which makes the reader think more to understand what has happened in the poem.

In 'Imitations' it is the complete opposite, Danni Abse is speaking as the father and talks about his son. He reflects on the passage of time and the fact that his son is growing up. He observes his son as he grows up into a man. The whole poem has a white theme which is rather peculiar since it is set in the month of April, in the spring time. The beginning is very peaceful but towards the end you begin to see the progress of time which the writer intended. In the last stanza, he realises that he is now holding his son back and is standing in his way. 'While two white butterflies stumble, held each to each, as if by elastic, and pass.' The caesura in between 'stumble' and 'held' is used to emphasise a pause interlinking the two butterflies as they represent the generations of father and son when they pass and go their different ways. His son doesn't need his father anymore, it is now vice versa, the father needs his son. These two poems are in reverse, they have the same theme but completely the other way around, in terms of father and son, and so in 'Follower' the son has now become the father, and in 'Imitations' the father had become the son.

'Follower' is made up of six of four lined stanzas. The layout is easy to read which makes it more straightforward. There is a rhyme scheme every other line. Words like 'strung' and 'tongue' are rhyming in the first stanza. This tactic is used to make it more catchy and lighter to read through. The patterned structure of stanza seems to reflect the passage of time by which we live our lives. This is mutability, it is a simple format but a complex poem. 'Imitations' however has six line stanzas. The structure is clear and it is quite short.

The images are very strong. in 'Follower', the rural scene is a big part of the poem. It is set on a farm and talks about the tools used such as 'a horse plough' and 'bright steel-pointed sock', this is a blade that does the digging. Not many people understand the words used but the writer knows what he is talking about and strongly uses them to add to the effect of a farm. The image of the father is seen as a strong and powerful man, 'All I ever did was follow In his broad shadow round the farm.' This enacts the meaning of the poem. His feelings about his father are very different at the start to toward the end. He looks up to his father at the start which creates the tall father figure. At the end of the poem, it switches and so the father looks up to the son. Which is effective and gives it more depth.

The images in 'Imitations' are mostly concentrated on nature. The writer is speaking from inside of the house, 'In this house, in this afternoon room,' It sounds contained, and it is not rural. There are many metaphors for adolescence such as, 'my soft diamond, my deciduous evergreen.' The son is almost changing into a diamond. This is paradoxical, since the hardest object is a diamond, and so 'soft' and 'diamond' clash and are two different examples. Snow is mentioned twice in this poem which expands the description of the surroundings in the poem. 'Snowflakes whitewash the shed roof and the grass'- snow is a temporary theme and is only around for a small amount of time. It is very unusual and rare for snow during the spring time, in April. A blur of white blossom, whiter snow.' The use of 'snow' again makes the reader take more notice of the setting, and so it makes the poem more peaceful.

The language is very important in each poem to give them depth. In 'Follower', words are described to suggest effort such as, 'horses', 'strained' and 'sweating'. These give a better example of how it is like on the farm. There are words that convince you of his father's skill, 'An expert.' suggests that he is the best. More words including 'x' are used to expand the effect, 'Mapping the furrow exactly', 'exactly' is there to show how accurate his father's work is. Metaphors like 'globed' and 'mapping', and similes such as 'like a full sail strung' are used for a better response. 'Globed' and 'broad' show his father's size for a better vision. Many words are used in order to describe the irritation and struggle of the writer, 'stumbled' and 'wanted' are great examples for the writers feelings when he was a young boy. Phrases like 'grey day' and 'sod rolled over' are a use of assonance which relates back to the rhyming scheme and makes it more catchy. The use of rhyme is very important in a poem, such as words like 'sod' and 'plod' used in 'Follower' complete



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