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Lament – Gillian Clarke, Poem Imagery Analysis sample essay

Gillian Clarke, the writer of Lament, uses imagery in his poem in the form of animals and nature to express the consequence of war and greed on the innocent. He uses nature imagery to show that the very thing that was meant to nurture us is being destroyed. Clarke uses imagery to mourn the destruction of the innocent and nature. He also uses imagery to show how appalling the consequences of human nature are to its surroundings.

Clarke explains that “for vengeance” “the green turtle” suffers with “her pulsing burden in search for the breeding ground” and that for something that starts life, she is being put at burden for. He points that from this burden, which was put on to her by human nature, “her eggs laid in the nest of sickness”. When Clarke uses this image he intensifies the idea that the innocent egg cannot choose its life and lies in the birth place of sickness. All of this is because of the same cause, and Clarke shows us that by repeating the word “For”. We as the reader connect with the idea as Clarke uses his images with the life cycles and the innocent.

The idea of mother nature is really emphasized in the poem. Clarke uses imagery to represent this image. He gives nature a comforting “lap” which shows us that nature is very nurturing. The word “lap” is an image of comfort and a mother-like feature, thus it represents the idea of mother nature. The effect of this is that we feel more sorrow as we read through the poem; we feel that we are destroying something that gives us a home, food, and much more.

Clarke makes us see that it is not onlz us who are in the “ocean’s lap” but the “cormorants in his funeral silk… the dugong and the dolphins,” and something as massive as the whale; they are the ones suffering from the destruction of the lap, which is caused by humans, according to the writer. He uses these animals to make us realize that innocent creatures also are under the care of nature, and as we destroy nature, we are destroying life itself for many.

It is not only the innocent creatures that are suffering, but within our own kind. Clarke uses an innocent “boy who joined for the company,” to show us that even children are going into war for silly reasons and eventually in vain. This boy is “the farmer’s son” and we are brought back to this idea that the innocent poor son of some father, is suffering. The fact that he is someone’s son makes us relate to the father’s sorrow of having his son shipped of to war. It could have been anyone’s son but the author says a farmer, so we imagine this kid with a poor background and a humble past going into war.

War is something in this poem that is described indirectly. The idea of war is brought up by the use of all the images of dying races. It is also brought up by the consequences of war on the earth itself. “The burnt earth and the sun put” symbolizes that war and greed has burnt the earth and mother nature. It also mentions that the sun is put out, meaning that something that gives light and life, is put out. The sun is the source of light of a new day, without it there is no new day, and so the life cycle ends.

The poet then uses this image of “the ashes of language”. Language is something that is used to communicate. Without language the world is barbaric. Communication is something that is destroyed when war and greed takes place and therefore, the writer summarizes the effects of war in greed in this sentence as chaos. Gillian Clarke uses these images of nature and life to express this final consequence.

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