Jane Weir Poppies Three days before Armistice Sunday

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Jane Weir ‘Poppies’ Three days before Armistice Sunday and poppies had already been placed

Jane Weir ‘Poppies’ Three days before Armistice Sunday and poppies had already been placed on individual war graves. Before you left, I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals, spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade of yellow bias binding around your blazer. Sellotape bandaged around my hand, I rounded up as many white cat hairs as I could, smoothed down your shirt's upturned collar, steeled the softening of my face. I wanted to graze my nose across the tip of your nose, play at being Eskimos like we did when you were little. I resisted the impulse to run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your hair. All my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt, slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked with you, to the front door, threw it open, the world overflowing like a treasure chest. A split second and you were away, intoxicated. After you'd gone I went into your bedroom, released a song bird from its cage. Later a single dove flew from the pear tree, and this is where it has led me, skirting the church yard walls, my stomach busy making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves. On reaching the top of the hill I traced the inscriptions on the war memorial, leaned against it like a wishbone. The dove pulled freely against the sky, an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear your playground voice catching on the wind. The title and the first three lines introduce theme of remembrance, possibly foreshadowing the death of the son in the poem.

Three days before Armistice Sunday and poppies had already been placed on individual war

Three days before Armistice Sunday and poppies had already been placed on individual war graves. Before you left, I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals, spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade of yellow bias binding around your blazer. There are frequent caesura in the poem, suggesting the speaker is trying to maintain composure. However, the emotions appear to creep through as the speaker loses control of her language. For example, the adjective and noun ‘paper red’ are inverted. The poem is a series of memories, written in the first person. Although it is never stated explicitly, the language gives a strong sense that the speaker is a mother who has lost her son.

There is a semantic field of injury is created which seeps into the speaker’s

There is a semantic field of injury is created which seeps into the speaker’s memories: ‘spasms’, ‘bandaged’ and ‘graze’. These words seem out of context and suggest she is preoccupied with the suffering her son might have experienced. Sellotape bandaged around my hand, I rounded up as many white cat hairs as I could, smoothed down your shirt's upturned collar, steeled the softening of my face. The verb ‘steeled’ suggests the speaker is trying to remain strong. The caesura implies that she is trying to stay in control of her emotions.

I wanted to graze my nose across the tip of your nose, play at

I wanted to graze my nose across the tip of your nose, play at being Eskimos like we did when you were little. e h t o t e enc r e f e r e Th ch u o t f o e sens he t w o h s ise emphas gs for the lon r e h t o h t i m w d a e h h s s s e n a s a close w e n h e h w n o ’ y a her s l p ‘ b r e ve h T . d o l i t h s c n o i s allu e h t s t s n contra u r h c i h battle w e poem. t th u o h g u o thr

I resisted the impulse to run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your

I resisted the impulse to run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your hair. All my words flattened, rolled, turned into felt, slowly melting. I was brave, This metap hor shows how her composure falls apart. s a w t i s t s e g ug e s h s t i r h T fo t l u r c i e h t diff le o t r s e t h r t e o v m ub s t I . e s o g o h n t so at h t a e e r d a i r e a th w o t . go who rave ones the b

This simile suggests that the son thinks the world seems full of exciting opportunities.

This simile suggests that the son thinks the world seems full of exciting opportunities. The enjambment reinforces the ‘overflowing’ opportunities. This excitement is emphasised by the word ‘intoxicated’. The son’s excitement contrasts the mother’s sadness. as I walked with you, to the front door, threw it open, the world overflowing like a treasure chest. A split second and you were away, intoxicated.

This met aphor symbolis es the mother l etting her son g o; he

This met aphor symbolis es the mother l etting her son g o; he was free to make his own choices. After you'd gone I went into your bedroom, released a song bird from its cage. Later a single dove flew from the pear tree, and this is where it has led me, skirting the church yard walls,

Weir uses a semantic field of sewing to represent her stomach churning with fear

Weir uses a semantic field of sewing to represent her stomach churning with fear and anxiety. my stomach busy making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves. This suggests she is exposed and makes her seem vulnerable. The choice of ‘reinforcements’ evokes images of a battle.

On reaching the top of the hill I traced the inscriptions on the war

On reaching the top of the hill I traced the inscriptions on the war memorial, leaned against it like a wishbone. This simile represents her fragility. Ironically, wishbones are usually associated with luck. However, it seems as if the mother’s wish to have her son’s life spared has not been granted.

Doves symbolise love and peace. Weir extends the sewing metaphor; the dove is an

Doves symbolise love and peace. Weir extends the sewing metaphor; the dove is an ‘ornamental stitch’, representing her love for her son. The dove pulled freely against the sky, an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear your playground voice catching on the wind. This implies she’s hoping to hear the spirit of her dead son. She wants to turn back time to when her son was a child.

Compare how poets use language to present strong feelings in ‘Poppies’ and one other

Compare how poets use language to present strong feelings in ‘Poppies’ and one other poem from ‘Power and conflict’. S ‘paper red’ Weir uses frequent caesura to suggest the speaker is trying to stay in control. However, the emotions creep through. E. g. when the adjective and noun ‘paper red’ are inverted. P ‘spasms’, ‘bandaged’ and ‘graze’ There is a semantic field of injury which seeps into the speaker’s memories. These words seem out of context, suggesting the speaker is scared for her son’s safety. L ‘without a winter coat or reinforcements’ The mother’s exposure to the elements makes her seem vulnerable. ‘Reinforcements’ in an interesting lexical choice as it links to battle. I ‘released a song bird from its cage’ This metaphor represents the mother letting her son go. She gives him his freedom. T ‘steeled the softening of my face’ The mother tries to remain strong, but she ends up ‘slowly melting’ as she struggles to control her emotions.

Which poem would you choose to compare to ‘Poppies’? KEY THEMES: • Effects of

Which poem would you choose to compare to ‘Poppies’? KEY THEMES: • Effects of conflict • Loss • Memory • Fear Which poem would make a good comparison? ‘War Photographer’ ‘Exposure’ ‘Remains’