Poetry and theme
The quick answers to the three questions are easy enough. Which poem...
- Speaks about place in relation to identity and exile? (c. The Lost Land by Eavan Boland)
- Purely evokes a sense of place? (a. The Herefordshire Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
- Makes a social comment about progress and place? (b. Slough by John Betjeman)
Some rough notes on the three poems
The Herefordshire Landscape
- heavy use of senses to give a sense of place: sight, touch and smell
- no particular rhyme scheme, but a regular rhythm and metre
- a romantic and picturesque presentation that evokes a mood, perhaps a nostalgia
- simple, repetitive rhyme scheme
- a bit childish and nasty?
- alienation drives this
- use of technique of anaphora ("tinned...tinned...tinned") to drive home disgust with modern, metal, manufactured
- all the pre-packaged items are produce which, along with the cow, are absent from Slough which no longer supports agriculture or anything natural (not even grass for grazing)
- the call to "friendly bombs" is an unexpected inversion and suggests the degree to which the poet has been pushed, as does the invocation of Death as a character
The Lost Land
- the narrator seems to be at some distance from land already
- who are "they"? family? friends? neighbours?
- the fact that the narrator doesn't know what "they" saw suggests that he did not ask or did not have the chance to = separation
- "at the landward rail" suggests longing and unwillingness to turn away
- "last sight of a hand" -- searching for a human connection that will soon be lost
- "the underworld side" -- not the landward side; crossing the Styx? a voyage to a kind of death? (relationships, family, belonging, identity?)
- "Ireland. Absence. Daughter." -- all that leaving place represents