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Comparison of Harmonium and Praise Song

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    The poem Harmonium is about Simon Armitage and how he feels towards his father and his past, which all tend to be negative comments. Grace Nichols poem Praise Song for My Mother also focuses on her past but describes her mother in a much more positive way. In Praise Song for My Mother, Grace Nichols describes her mother as being like “water to me” this tells us that she was essential to her and wouldn’t be able to live without her.

    Nichols also describes her as being “deep and bold” this suggests that her mother would go to all depths for her and that she was extremely strong. We can see that in Harmonium Armitage describes his father as having “yellowed fingernails” which could infer that the father is very old. On main thing both of the poems have in common is that they are both talking about how their parents were. They use a variety of metaphors to suggest what their parents are like. “Gilded finches” and “moon’s eye to me.

    Nichols tends to use very positive language “warm and streaming” which could suggest she had very strong and caring feelings towards her mother, whereas Armitage writes about his father as being close to death, “ And he, being him, couldn’t help but say that the next box I’ll shoulder through this nave will bear the freight of his own dead weight”. I think that there are a variety of techniques that the poets use but one which I think is the most effective would be Simon Armitage’s personification of the Harmonium.

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