Compare and contrast the presentation of childhood memories in ‘half past two’, ‘piano’ and ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ focusing on the poet’s use of language, form and structure. ’ The poems are different based on theme as piano has a theme of music taking on a memory. Half past two has a theme of life before not being able to tell time. Lastly my parents kept me from children who were rough have a theme of not being able to relive a bad memory.
The three poems are contrasting on the meaning as ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ and ‘piano’ are about the poet’s memories when they are older and ‘Half past two’ is an exploration of a child’s imagination during his early years before he could tell the time. In Piano, Lawrence shows he is dealing with adult memories of childhood by in the first stanza, ‘Taking me back down the vista of years. ’ The use of the word ‘vista’ shows that he is dealing with a long period of time.
Similarly ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ Spender shows he is also dealing with adult memories of childhood as in the last stanza, ‘I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled. ’ The use of the words ‘longed’ and ‘never’ show that he is looking back to that time and is hurt that they never said sorry. In contrast to that ‘Half past two’ is about an exploration of a child’s mind. Fanthorpe shows this in the sixth stanza, ‘He knew the clock face, the little eyes and two long legs walking but he couldn’t click its language. This description of the clock face shows that the writer is explaining a young child’s mind of how they were taught how to tell the time. The three poems contrast in structure as ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ and ‘piano’ only have three stanzas, where as ‘half past two’ has eleven stanzas. In ‘Piano’ the stanzas change the time of as in stanza 1, the poet is writing about the immediate past. This then changes in stanza 2 as Lawrence starts to write about the past and in stanza 3, Lawrence starts to talk about his regret. My parents kept me from children who were rough’ is similar to ‘piano’ as in stanza 3 he also talks about regret. Spender changes the manner of the poem as the first stanza is about envious and what is being said. Where as in stanza 2 Spender moves on to them being physical towards them. ‘Half past two’ is different as there are 11 stanzas and the stanzas are about the same thing. Half past two is also different as it is the only poem where the poet uses brackets ‘(I forget what it was). This makes the reader think about what it was and that he is saying ‘I’ instead of ‘He. ’ The poet also decided to use speech ‘my goodness, I forgot all about you, Run along or you’ll be late. ’ The poet makes us think about that the speech helps the poet with putting the boy back into his routine. The poems make different uses of poetic devices as ‘piano’ and half past two’ both uses rhyme where as ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ doesn’t use any but makes use of a simile.
In the poem ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ it uses different poetic devices than ‘piano’ and ‘half past two’ Spender decides to use a simile ‘I feared more than tigers, their muscles like iron’ the use of the simile makes it sounds like its something you would see on TV rather than something that you would hear about in reality. It emphasizes the strength of the bullies in Spender’s memory. In contrast to ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ ‘piano’ and ‘half past two’ both use rhyme.
In piano Lawrence uses rhyme at the end of each line, which rhymes with the next ‘me, see, strings, sings, song, belong, outside, guide, clamour, glamour, cast, past’ the use of rhyme makes the poem regular and this relates to its musical theme – the thing which makes him remember in the first place. Although ‘piano’ uses a large amount of rhyme ‘Half past two’ only uses a small amount linking ‘two, knew’ together. ‘Half past two’ uses other poetic devices as well as rhyme.
The poet uses personification ‘He knew the clock face, the little eyes, and two long legs for walking, but he couldn’t click its language. ’ He uses this as this makes it more vivid for the description. Fanthorpe also uses repeating words ‘time, ever, knew, two. ’ This makes it seem like its rhyming when it isn’t and makes the reader look into the poem more. Finally Fanthorpe uses emphasis when he describes the imagination ‘Into the smell of old chrysanthemums on her desk, into the silent noise his hangnail made. Into the air outside the window, into ever. The reader more interested in the description as the poem is focusing on the wonder of a childhood imagination so this is a good choice of words The poems are all similar in regards to language as they are all in the past tense. In ‘piano’ Lawrence talks about when he was younger ‘Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see a child sitting under the piano. ’ This is a reminder of when he was younger that he used to help his mother while she was playing the piano and singing. The event he remembers is happy but the act of remembering makes him very sad.
In ‘My Parents Kept Me From Children Who Were Rough. ’ Spender is also being reminded of something that happened in the past ‘I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled. ’ Spender is reminded of a group of people that used to bully him. Spender ends the poem with ‘I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled’ as a reminder to him and us all that although they were bullying him he wanted to forgive them and get along, but the fact that they never said sorry, is what he is being reminded of. The memory is of a sad event and the language of the poem is the language of regret throughout.
In ‘Half Past Two’ Fanthorpe is also being reminded of something that didn’t happen to her but is still in the past. Fanthorpe decided to start the poem with ‘Once upon a school time. ’ This catches the reader to read on as he is literally saying ‘one time in school. ’ Fanthorpe goes on to say that ‘He escaped into the clock less time land of ever, where time hides tick-less waiting to be born. ’ Fanthorpe uses this line in the last stanza to remind the reader that the little boy in poem is too young to be able to learn how to tell time but still has a concept of it.
The poem makes us think about the strangeness and distance of childhood memory. The poems ‘Half Past Two, My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough and Piano’ are all contrasting in the tone. Although ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ is similar to ‘piano’ as the last stanza in the poems are about regret. Piano is a poem about regret. ‘Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. ’ Lawrence uses this line to finish the poem and the last stanza.
In the poem Piano, Lawrence explains what it was like in the time when he was younger; the poem goes through regret all the way through. Lawrence starts the poem with the first stanza in the immediate past, which makes him feel regretful as he is remember when he was a child a woman that sang to him and sitting under the piano while she plays. ‘Softly in the dusk a woman is singing to me’ and ‘a child sitting under the piano. ’ In the second stanza the poem remembers the past, when they had evenings in the parlour. And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide. ’ Lawrence is describing when he was younger on cold winter days the family used to gather round the fire in the parlour, he remembers this which also makes him feel regretful. In the last stanza the poem is back in the present, which is mostly in regret as ‘Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. ’ Lawrence is describing that once he has had all the memories of the past he can’t help but feel unself conscious as he weeps like a child.
When he says ‘flood’ he is also feeling violent and out of control. My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough’ is about memories of being bullied. In the poem the poet is remember the memories of the emotional, physical and also regret. In the first stanza the poet describes the emotional abuse of being bullied, ‘and who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes. ’ In the second stanza Spender describes the physical bullying the group applied on the child. ‘And their jerking hands and knees tight on my arms. Spender is describing what it was like to be physically bullied by actually saying they were pinning him to the ground and sitting on him. Finally in the last stanza, Spender describes the regret of the group never saying sorry but him longing to forgive them. ‘I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled. ’ Half past two is cheerful compared to the other poems. Fanthorpe describes what it was like in the imagination of a child by in stanza 6 he describes the clock from a child’s point of view, ‘he knew the clock face, the little eyes, and two long legs for walking, but couldn’t click its language. Fanthorpe describes the imagination of a young child’s point of view of the clock when he hasn’t been taught to tell time yet. In the poem Fanthorpe also describes a lot of different times a young child would know ‘Gettinguptime, timeyouwereofftime, timetogohomenowtime, tvtime, timeformykisstime, Grantime, schooltime, teatime, nexttime, notimeforthatnowtime. ’ This makes it seem more interesting in terms of tone as he describes what a young child would know for time.