Essay, Research Paper: Almond Tree By Stallworthy

English

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Poetry is often written as a result of reflecting on an intense emotional
experience or a significant event. Examine the techniques used by one poet to
convey the significance of an experience or an event, which gave rise to a poem,
or sequence of poems. The Almond Tree by Jon Stallworthy describes through the
eyes of an expectant father’s supreme emotional joy at the prospect of the
birth of this child. The excitement and joy turn to despair and hopelessness
when he is told that his son is a Mongol. The poem begins on an optimistic tone
and the poet conveys this prospect by giving life to objects, which are normally
dull and go, unnoticed; Trees of black iron and lights as green as peppermints
The poet uses a fairytale image to create a lack of realism in order to
re-enforce the optimistic tone As if I were the lucky prince in an enchanted
wood However the poet uses this technique further on in the poem to convey his
devastation when realising the he will not be able to communicate with his son
because of his disability; Never to come ashore into my kingdom speaking my
language In my opinion this creates a good contrast to that of his image at the
beginning of the poem. Jon Stallworthy uses a clever use of personification as
another technique in order to portray his hopes The tower held up its hand the
college bells shook their heads in blessing This once again stresses his
anticipation and excitement at the prospect of becoming a father. The poet also
uses personification as he describes the symbolic almond tree waving him. For
the tree was waving me waving me upstairs As before this is in direct contrast
to further on in the poem when the almond tree is once again waving at him; And
the almond waving me down This contrast I believe conveys the significance
between the two emotions that the poet is facing. When the almond tree is waving
the pet up stairs his emotions lack reality. However when the Almond tree is
waving him down it is a direct balance to before and he is brought back down to
reality. In order to create tension as the poets excitement increases at the
birth of his son the poet uses imagery and that becomes physiological as the
poet recreates the process of birth by using words like; spinal, bone white and
blood tide. The poet attempts to capture the rhythm of labour with Walls
shuddering ...shuddering womb...wave after wave wave after wave beat on the bone
coast. This also introduces the image of the sea, which is continued throughout
the poem Lashed down ship shape...my son sailed from me Are both in contrast to
the previous mention of ships as once again this technique portrays the poet’s
two very different emotions. One of the more used techniques that Jon
Stallworthy uses in this poem is a metaphor and he uses this technique along
with imagery to convey his happiness when his son is born as he compares his new
found happiness to wealth; My bright farthing coined by our love...how you
enrich us He describes his son as his best poem and welcomes him to his white
sheet. In my opinion this represents a new beginning however this does not last
for long as he is then told that his son is a Mongol. The manner in which he is
told that his son is a Mongol is straight to the point and very clinical. He
uses words such as scissored and slicing which both indicate his primary bonding
with his son have been cut. Your son is a Mongol Is detached blunt and straight
to the point and can be seen as monosyllabic. As clean as a bullet Describes how
this information destroys his life. This was my first death Explains that he
will experience this death more times in suffering. In order to relate the
poet’s lack of acceptance Jon Stallworthy describes the man as having an outer
body experience. The following words end in assonance, which gives the poem a
slower pace. As the symbolic Almond tree brings him back to reality it begins to
bud which I believe symbolises birth and life the tone becomes a more hopeful
one as; Bud after bud split Is the poet’s rebirth and understanding growing.
He sees it as beautiful labour like a mother giving birth and the trees full
blossom like a ship in full sail. From this technique I think that the poet can
now see himself blossom in the sense of understanding. Fathered by m son Only
when he recognises this can he turn to acknowledge the son he was about to
reject.
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