Relationships In Long Distance By Tony Harrison And My Grandmother By Elizabeth Jennings

1181 words - 5 pages

Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

The two poems that I wish to compare are both about relationships,
"Long distance" by Tony Harrison and "My grandmother" by Elizabeth
Jennings. Both are about family and grief which they explore through
the theme of death. The speaker of the poems talks about the loss of a
relationship that had once existed. "Long distance" has a much closer
relationship theme than "My grandmother". Long distance focuses on
love that does not end with death and it continues however "My
grandmother" focuses on the miss of love that could have been there.

Both of the two poems are about the lack of acceptance and memory. In
"Long Distance" the father who kept the dead wife's memory so alive:
'Still went to renew her transport pass. In "My grandmother" the
rejection of the grandchild is also perhaps considered as a memory
however as regret: 'I remember how I once refused'. "Long Distance"
looks at the time and how the poet's father has lack of control of the
time: "mother was already two years dead, Dad kept her slippers'. The
'antiques' from "my Grandmother" can be also be compared to the use of
objects from the past and how it can be kept forever, nevertheless
it's not possible to do so with people, because they die but they
would be kept as a memory.

The tones of the poems are quite different to one another but have one
thing in common which was love that was given to two dissimilar
things. "My Grandmother" shows resentment and guilt, the grandmother
did not invest her time in her grandchild or anyone as she was
preoccupied with her antiques "it kept her". She focused on things
that were old and the past era, instead of new things like her
granddaughter, the speaker. The tone of "Long distance" is about love
and understanding. The speaker recognizes the love and grief the
father had for his wife as later on the poets understands when his
father died. The father's grief for his wife is greater than the son's
grief for the father because the nature of the relationship is
different. The poet did not totally comprehend his father's actions
but only realized after father's death. The first relationship in
"long distance" was between the father and his wife, the love was so
strong and fulfilling. The father was a caring and tenderly person
'kept her slippers warming by the gas' and he clearly looked after his
wife - the poet's mother. He was overwhelmed by her death but wanted
to believe she was still with him in his heart and around him: 'he
knew she'd just popped out to the tea'. The father is forced to play a
role of moving on and he lives in fear of criticism even from his son:
'my blight of disbelief'. The father does not want his son to find out
he has not got over his wife's death.

"My grandmother"...

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