Compare and Contrast the Poetry of James Berry and John Betjeman, with
particular reference to the Cultural Differences. Refer to at Least
two Poems by each Poet
James Berry's poems are written from the perspective of a lady named
Lucy. Lucy moved to England because she had heard the streets were
practically paved with gold there. She writes letters to her friend
Leela in the form of poems. Lucy regrets her move to England in a lot
of ways and finds it gloomy and cold. She misses Jamaica and doesn't
really like London but she is too proud to admit that, so her letters
also contain a number of positive yet vain sounding points about the
advantages of living in England, such as, "An' doctors free." Lucy
writes of how she has, "turned a battery hen," in the poem 'Lucy's
Letters' because she feels trapped in London. She was used to a
relaxed and friendly way of life in Jamaica so the culture in London
came as a big shock to her. London is a lot bigger and much less
friendly than Jamaica. In Jamaica everyone knows each other so Leela
asked Lucy in a letter to her if she'd ever met the Queen. Lucy is
used to the unspoilt beauty of the Jamaican scenery so London comes as
a big change. She describes it to Leela as:
Of a pasture-lan what
Grown crisscross streets."
In Jamaica Lucy could leave her door unlocked but write of how she
can't do that in London:
"I carry keys everywhere
Life here's no open summer."
She sees the lifestyle as monotonous because every day seems the same.
She feels in some ways that she doesn't really belong in London. In
the poem 'From Lucy: Englan' Lady' she describes the Queen as being,
"Like she a space touris'," because she is somewhat alienated from the
rest of the population. Lucy feels she can relate to her because she
feels alienated too. Lucy ends the poem with the Jamaican proverb,
"Bird sing sweet for its nest," meaning you should stick to what
you're suited to.
When Lucy travels back to Jamaica, she realises it has changed and
nothing is as she remembered it. She is glad to come back but feels
she doesn't really belong there either anymore. Some things like the
sun, the sea and the fruit they eat hasn't changed:
"I eat a mango under tree
A soursop ripened for me
A pawpaw kept."
She appreciates the sun more after being in London for so long as well
and she is pleased these things are as she remembered them. The
landscape has changed but more importantly, the people have too.
Everyone she knew has changed and she is no longer friend with
everyone. She writes about her holiday in the poem 'From Lucy: Holiday
Puppa is bones in the groun',
Mumma can't see to climb mount'n
She knew her father was dead but it doesn't really hit home until she
sees it for herself because in her mind he was still alive. She uses
personification when describing the landscape, writing, "Big fig tree
gone as ghost." The one...