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Comparison Of How Gillian Clarke In ‘Lament’ And Boey Kim Cheng In ‘Report To Wordsworth’ Explore The Impact That Man Has Had On The Environment

1200 words - 5 pages

Gillian Clarke and Boey Kim Cheng are both internationally recognized poets whom are most famous for their poems regarding environmental problems. Clarke’s ‘Lament’ focuses on the social and environmental problems occurring as a result of the Gulf War, whereas Cheng’s poem ‘Report to Wordsworth’ discusses environmental issues involving sea life.
In ‘Lament’ Clarke uses a clear structure - every sentence begins with ‘for’ which combines with the title to form ‘Lament for […]’ To lament can be an expression of sadness. In this day and age, people express grief and sadness all the time. Often by using the words ‘sorrow’ or ‘grieving’. As these words are used daily, we could say they are ...view middle of the document...

In ‘Lament’ Clarke uses strong imagery to alert people about environmental issues caused by oil spills. An example of this is ‘the cormorant in his funeral silk’. In this expression Clarke uses ‘his funeral silk’ as a metaphor for the oil that covers the bird. In this metaphor, silk represents the satiny, almost shiny look the oil has on the bird - the cormorant almost appears to be wearing silk. As the oil will most likely kill the bird, the last thing he will ‘wear’ is the oil that covers him. This also is a personification of the cormorant. The personification links in to the difference between humans and animals - when humans die funerals are held but when birds die mankind does little to nothing. By personifying the cormorant Clarke calls out to the readers to treat birds with more respect and care. A juxtaposition is also used in the extract ‘the cormorant in his funeral silk’. The word funeral and its connotations are very gloomy ideas, however silk is often thought of as a light, soft material which creates two opposites. The use of juxtapositions and oxymorons stirs the emotions of the reader as words that often have a positive meaning or connotation such as silk, are suddenly linked to negative expressions and ideas such as death.
In ‘Report to Wordsworth’ Cheng also makes use of strong imagery. He mainly uses mythological Gods to stress the importance of what people are doing to nature. ‘All hopes of Proteus rising from the sea have sunk; he is entombed in the waste we dump’ is a good example of this use of language. Proteus is a Greek mythological sea-god who can change shape and who is, according to Cheng, entombed in our waste. Because of that he cannot rise and and reign over the sea. This means we, mankind, have overthrown the Gods by disrespecting nature and dumping our waste into the oceans. We could interpret ‘The hopes of Proteus rising from the sea’ as the hope for mankind to change its nature-destructive ways. But like Proteus, this hope has sunk. The image of mankind overthrowing Gods adds to the dark atmosphere created by Cheng. This dark tone once again links Cheng’s sonnet to Wordsworth’s sonnets in a contradicting way; generally Wordsworth’s sonnets had a positive tone whereas Cheng has a more ominous tone to his sonnet.
Both Clarke and Cheng engage readers in their poems. In ‘Lament’ Clarke has lament for the animals and this feeling is convey to the reader through the use of strong imagery and emotive...

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