In this essay, I will concentrate on three poems ”An old man’s winter night”, ”Follower” and ”Lore”. Three famous poets write all these three poems ‘Robert Frost’ wrote ”An old man’s winter night” and ‘Seamus Heaney’ wrote ”Follower” and ‘R.S. Thomas’ wrote ”Lore.’ Interestingly, all three poems are about elderly men, but all three are totally different in different ways, but in other ways are very similar. They also have hidden meanings which I will hope to find later in this essay. Robert frost (the writer of an older man’s winter night) is one of the most popular poets of his time; his poetry spoke the commoner’s language and sometimes projected powerful messages, but deep down, there are hidden meanings hidden deeper in the text. He wrote poems that seemed to go beyond the range of any region, which led him to be the four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Frost was born in 1874 in San Francisco, but 11 years later, his father died, and he and his family moved to Massachusetts, where he attended Lawrence high school. He had writing experiences earlier in his life; he was a teacher and a newspaper reporter. It was this experience that had a part to play in getting him Into Harvard. From 1897-1899 but within a period of 2 years in Harvard, he left without a degree. Frost died in Boston on January 29th, 1963, at the age of 89, but he succeeded in realizing his life ambition: to write ”a few poems it will be hard to get rid of”. R.S Thomas (the lore writer) was also one of the most highly respected poets around; born in Cardiff in 1918, he was educated at the university college of north Wales, Bangor. He received his theological training at St. Michael’s, Cardiff. At Manafon, he wrote nearly all poems that were published in his first three volumes, eg.
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The Stones of the field(1952), An acre of land(1952), and the minister(1955), some of the earlier poems include ‘Out of the hills,’ ‘A Labourer,’ and ‘A Peasant.’ Again, like Lore, this is all to do with the countryside, which is proper to his Welsh background. Seamus Heaney (the writer of followers) is properly the best poet in the world, and this was shown when he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995. He was born in County Derry on April 13th, 1939 .since ‘death of a naturalist,’ he has published many other poems, e.g.: ‘door into the dark,’ ‘winter out,’ ‘north,’ ‘fieldwork,’ ‘the haw lantern, etc. which of course are all brilliant poems like follower itself. They say Heaney was inspired by the troubles in his hometown of Belfast but later was forced to leave because of the troubles.
Heaney’s poetry became full of images of deaths after his mother died in 1984.his father died three years later, and he was also to pay tribute to him through his verse. Heaney hasn’t died yet and is still writing poetry, and hopefully, he does carry on until he does die. An older man’s winter night is a poem about an older man that lives on his own in the middle of nowhere really. We know things like he lives alone, e.g.: ”one man can’t keep a house” and …….” that gathered in the empty rooms”, and we know that he is not very well, e.g.: ”and eased his HEAVEY BREATHING but still slept”. He also talks about ”beating on a box” which tells us that he thinks he will die sometime soon. An older man’s winter night is a very puzzling poem, to say the least, lines such as
- ”All out of doors looked darkly in at him through the thin frost almost in separate stars.”
- ”A light he was to no one but himself.”
- ”Is. Thus he does it of a winter night.”
Make no sense to me. But although it is puzzling, it also has a hidden meaning: older men cant live alone in the countryside!!! The poem follower is about a relationship between a young boy and his father. The young boy is always following the father when he goes out to plough the fields because one day, the boy wants to be just like his father and grow up to be a farmer. But he is always annoying the father:
- ” I was a nuisance, tripping, falling, yapping always.”
- I can imagine why he wants to be like his father because it mentions him being very strong and well built:
- ”His shoulders globed like a full sail strung between the shafts of the furrow.”
Years later, the boy lives his dream of being a farmer, but he says: ”it is my father who keeps stumbling Behind me, and will not go away” the hidden meaning behind this is, ”we are going to get old, and we might not be able to cope ourselves. The poem Lore is about an eighty-five-year-old man called Job Davies who seems a quite active man for his age because it says he: ”mowed where the grass grew” AND ”never mind the machine, whose fuel is human souls”.Being an old miserable man isn’t an option to him, he says, ”miserable? Kick my arse”. Even though it does not say it, I think he lives in the country because it mentions him using a scythe, and it is not much you can use a scythe for in the town. So the hidden meaning behind this poem is, live largely and dream small.
An older man’s winter night and follower are similar in that they are both set in the countryside and have older men as the main character. The way they are writing is different as well, the follower writes in paragraphs, and an older man’s winter night has no paragraphs. The structures of the poems are totally different. An old man’s winter night is written far more puzzlingly than a follower; it uses lines and words that do not affect me at all, like: ”it’s. Thus he does it of a winter night”. Good poems don’t have to be full of hard words and lines that have no meaning. Heaney admires frosts’ writing because it is similar to his own because frost likes writing about things in the country, and Heaney seems to like his style. Lore is similar to both. It’s similar to followers in the way that they both are written in paragraphs.
They are all different in how they are written; an older man’s winter night does not rhyme at all, Follower only half-rhymes, and Lore rhymes the whole way through the poem. And to conclude my essay, I will comment a bit on my favourite poem from all three. Out of all three, I enjoyed Lore the most because I like poems that rhyme and are written in the way that the writer really describes things so that you can actually picture what is going on in the poem. I also like that poem because it is short and sweet; I dislike poems that ramble on and on; after the first few lines, I lose interest in them, but that did not happen with this poem.