Some examples of the related themes are melancholy about their lives, relationships with others, and an aspiration for isolation, perception of oblivion and their scrutiny of death. Matthew Arnold’s view on poetry was “genuine poetry is conceived and composed in the soul. ” This expression describes both poems accurately. John Clare 1972-1840 was a romantic poet who wrote I AM. Throughout the poem there is a general realization of loss, with many references to oblivion, nature and God. His opening line begins with a self-affirming statement, “I am”.
This could be a way of pronouncing that he is a person, a human. He feels that his friends have forsaken him like a memory lost; saying that he either can’t remember them or that he has blocked them out, here we can see an example of alliteration, which draws attention to the words. By saying “they rise and vanish in oblivion’s host”, he has personified how his woes have been risen up and then disappeared, into oblivion. Larkin also uses many references to oblivion; such as “desire of oblivion runs” from this I fall that he longs for somewhere where there is nothing, somewhere where he can be alone.
Clare has used an image of mad love, which holds back painful memories “like shadows in love-frenzied stifles throes”. The last line of stanza 1 runs into stanza2, and the last line could be saying that he is insubstantial, but his emotions take over him. We can see that in the first stanza there is a sense of rhyme used which is different that the rhyme structure used in stanza 2 and 3. He has used this construction of rhyme, because he has tried to convey that stanza 1 needs no closure and that is why the rhyme is different in stanza 2 and 3.
The use of enjambment has let the 1st stanza continue into the 2nd stanza. He knows who he is, but he says that “into the living sea of waking dreams” this could mean that life is like a dream, not significant. This theme carries into his next line where he discusses where he is, in oblivion where there is no happiness, also where there is no sense of life, but by saying that where he is, has no life then it must be dead. He alludes to death, when he talks about his “vast shipwreck of me life’s esteems”.
This could have two different meanings, one; that everything in his life is a mess, or two; that there is a slight hope for saving his life. The previous four lines have all had rhyme incorporated in an ‘A, B’ formation, but this changes in stanzas 2and 3. The last two lines in both stanzas rhyme with each other, highlighting the words used and drawing attention to them. In the last lines of this stanza we are told information about his friends that he finds his friends have become strangers, and are even more unfamiliar than others. Interestingly we can see similar use of the theme, in the other poem.
We can see that from reading it that Larkin, he also finds no comfort in friends, family or women. Clare has said that man has destroyed everything, and he wants somewhere he can’t be hurt, where there are no people. This may suggest somewhere where man has not been before; where there are no emotions, where he can’t suffer. He uses the line “there to abide with my Creator, God. ” this is a personal pronoun, another self-affirmation. Another way of interpreting this line could be that Clare has a personal relationship with God, saying that there was somebody who took an interest in making him.
His references to nature and God could be things that he wants in the natural world, such as grass. The next line has softer sounds and has a calming effect on the as he is talking about sleeping like a child who has no worries and the innocence. He uses alliteration again to make the reader focus into his words, so that the words “sweetly slept” would make softer sounds. He uses the words “untroubling” and “untroubled” to highlight the words and make an emphasis that he would have no worries, where he lay with the grass below and the vaulted sky above.
This could have references to the sky in the second poem, where Larkin talks about the sky being littered with so many things to do. In Clare’s poem, we are able to find the use of iambic verse, using 10 syllables throughout except for the second line in stanza 1, where 11 syllables are used so that he can convey the effect of the line trailing off, as if has been lost. The general tone of the writer is how he thinks that he has lost what he values most in his life, as if to say everything in his life now is worth nothing.
The poet, Philip Larkin 1920’s-1985, uses a less conventional way of representing his emotions and feelings. He beings with a very strong opening statement “beyond all this, the wish to be alone:” Here the use of the colon portrays that he is introducing what he is going to say. The following line begins with the word “however” suggesting that either it means “even though” or “but”. This can be interpreted as, either he wants to be alone however, he finds the sky littered with invitations that he doesn’t want to go to.
His use of imagery here has been used to describe how he may be feeling about his social life, with so many things to do, none of which he wants to do. I also got the impression that he has the pressure of feeling that he has to be like everyone else, that he has no individuality and is always told what to do. Also his experiences in love have lead to no pleasure in his life. Throughout I found that the poet had general tone of boredom and he uses listings to describe his life, like it has no real meaning to him, and his experiences have taught him nothing.
I have found that in Clare’s poem, there area also suggestions of the symbolism of sky, when he talks about being vaulted above the sky. Sky is used to project the feeling of open space, somewhere in Larkin’s case where it is filled with invitations, and in Clare”s case, used to say he would like to above this open space. We can find that he has a general view on how he pictures a typical family, “family photographed under the flagstaff-the use of imagery is used to describe an American family with the American flag, and in my mind this how you can view a traditional family, pictured as this.
At the end of this stanza we can see the repetition of the first line to emphasize the wish to be alone. His use of language displays his life and how he wants to be alone, in oblivion deep under ground. The beginning line of the second stanza can be applied to Larkin as beneath it all, deep in his my runs oblivion. We area able to see the similar use of language used in the first poem, where Clare has used oblivion to show where his “woes” have gone, they have disappeared into a place of oblivion.
Like Larkin he also longs for a place where there is nothing, somewhere where he can alone. We area able to recognize that from his line “Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,” that he has tried to demonstrate to the reader, that he feels that there are events that keep coming up that he doesn’t want. The events have no meaning to him, and he feels that life is like a balancing act of events, but the events are manipulative and deceptive. The events attempt to make him feel pressurised into doing them.
I found that Larkin doesn’t have any values for life insurance because he has no interest in leaving any money behind. The “tabled fertility rites” have acted as a way of describing how he feels that there are certain times in people’s lives when they are pressured into having children. He also may appear to think that having children is mechanical just like everything also that should be done. This line has similar meanings to that of line 3 in stanza 1, where he also mentions about the pressures of having children, “printed directions of sex. He also explains that if you don’t think about death then this will be costly to you on your mind, because you have not thought about it and it will be a shock when it does. He has thought about it, is ready for death and it wont be as much of a revelation. He has said that you should think about it, be prepared for what will happen to you eventually. He has pointed out that it will be a “costly aversion of the eyes from death”; we are also able to find references to death in Clare”s poem, where we can establish his thoughts on death where he can abide with his creator, God.
From looking at this poem I have noticed that in this stanza, we can see a relationship between the first and last lines and the middle lines. The first and last lines can be seen as applying to Larkin himself, whereas the middle lines can be seen to be applied universally. He repeats the first line again, to draw more attention to the words that he has written. From looking at both poems I have found that Clare has en explanation through his poem, he is explaining that his life has become lost through many different stages and causes.
He feels that certain things in his life have been insignificant, and his life is a mess. In Larkin’s poem I have found that there was no justification for what he is saying, he appears to record all the things in his life that have prevented him from being alone, he gives reasons, but they all involve other people, but nothing accounts for that things that heave gone wring in his life. I find that Clare gets his point across in a simple way, whereas Larkin’s poem seems to have deeper meanings, than what is written.
I felt that Clare’s poem is more effective and has a straight forward meaning without having to discover hidden meanings. Clare has declared his personal feelings and his personal views and emotions, through a way of poetry, expressing himself. “poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. ” I feel that T. S. Eliot has described the way that Clare has written his poem, in a way that he has described his personal feelings and emotions.