Poem Comparison: ‘Island Man’ and ‘Hurricane Hits England’ I am going to compare both the poems and explain the differences and similarities between them. Both the poems are set in England, and the poet uses negative experiences that occur there to remind herself of her culture/home. The negative experiences in both poems are centralised around the element of weather, as in ‘Island man’ it focuses on the sound of London traffic: ‘a grey metallic soar’; ‘surge of wheels’ which the poet portrays as the ‘sound of blue surf’ and in ‘Hurricane hits England’, the negative experience which reminded her of her home is a hurricane which hit, near where she moved, in England: ‘It took a hurricane, to bring her closer’.
Another similarity both poems share, are that they are both told in third person: this adds an element of distance to the poem; symbolising that the poet feels detached from her culture/home. To add more emphasise to the distance created, in each poem, the poet created a character, but by not referring to them by name, made it feel impersonal and detached. The only difference is, in ‘Hurricane hits England’, once the hurricane has hit, because the poet suddenly feels close to home, the writing switches to first person, making the poem more personal.
Another difference is the structure of the two poems. In ‘Island man’, there is no punctuation, instead, the line spacing adds half pauses, and symbolises the breaking of waves. The lack of punctuation makes the poem feel free, just as the poet would imagine the ‘Island man’ to be. At the beginning of ‘Hurricane hits England’, whilst the writing style is in third person, the poet uses more punctuation, adding structure to the poem, and making it more formal. However, once the poet has switched to first person, there isn’t as much punctuation, showing the freeness and closeness of the poet as the hurricane has hit.
The final difference between the two poems, is that I believe the central theme for ‘Island man’ is of longing for home, as he lets the sound of traffic in London take him back to his home in the Caribbean, and how he finds it hard to get up to face this new environment: “Island man heaves himself, groggily groggily”. Where as in ‘Hurricane hits England’, unlike in ‘Island man’ where the poet imagines the reminder – the sound of the sea, the hurricane actually hits, making more closeness as it physically happens. Once this experience has happened, the poet accepts the new home in England, as the final line of the poem is: “The earth is the earth is the earth.”