Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost Poetry Comparisons Essay

The structure of Blackberry-picking by Seamus Heaney and Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost is similar in that both poems are written in one stanza (despite the fact the Blackberry-picking is noticeably longer). The lines in each poem do not follow a pattern in term of lengths which could be a representation of life’s unexpected ups and downs. On the other hand Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath is written in three stanzas unlike the other two poems, however, all three poems have a line which changes the tone of the overall poem whether it be to represent the early signs of death ‘But only so an hour’ or ‘The only thing to come now is the sea’.

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Both lines offer a defiant sense of finality. Blackberrying and Blackberry-picking each have irregular or no rhyme schemes which portrays the unpredictability of life whereas Nothing Gold Can Stay has a regular ‘abab’ rhyme scheme. Nothing Gold Can Stay is also a short poem and this and the simple rhyme scheme are to ensure that the message reaches the reader directly and remains with them.

Nothing Gold Can Stay and Blackberrying both contain personification and pathetic fallacy. In Nothing Gold Can Stay Mother Nature is personified as ‘her’ which is designed to show how nature has control over our cycles and that it is entirely out of human hands. In Blackberrying pathetic fallacy is used to bring alive the blackberries and to give them almost human characteristics ‘these they squander on my fingers’.

Blackberrying and Blackberry-picking also both each use human body parts throughout the poem to represent the mortality of the fruit as human mortality. Blackberrying is a very colourful poem with various colours mentioned throughout and is also filled with rather more solid shapes e.g. ‘hooks, rock, thumb’. Similarly Blackberry-picking also uses lots of colour e.g. ’purple, red, green’ until the fruit begins to rot, when the colours begin to turn to distinctively less colourful ones e.g. ‘rat-grey’. All of the poems are very focused on nature as a way of representing life and death and the cyclical nature of life with the common use of fruit (blackberries) in both Blackberrying and Blackberry-picking. The poem’s main messages are that, although life does inevitably end, it is a joyous thing whilst you have it ‘Nature’s first green is gold’ and so, therefore, death is not something to be feared but merely the end of your journey and the start of a new one for someone else.

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