And sometimes we wonder why people do things like take drugs, one of the main reasons is they want to escape reality, they don’t want to be chained anymore, they want to be carefree, they want to be a child again. That brings us to the second poem, “Piano” by D. H. Lawrence. It tells of a man, all grown up, losing his innocence long ago and forgetting about it. He reminisces when something reminds him of his bittersweet childhood. Lawrence portrays the distinct childhood theme by using reminiscence, he paints a picture for you and using sophisticated diction he desperately longs for his childhood again.Order now
“Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;” this is the opening line for “Piano”. Immediately it creates an image in the reader’s head, picturing a musky dark place, with a highlighted woman, singing. The next line “Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings” brings us back into the past, down the memory lane of this man until we see a frame of the child sitting under the piano. Using diction Lawrence creates sounds like “tingling strings”. Also note that Lawrence is writing in the present tense to make us feel as if we’re going down the memory lane with him.
The next stanza starts off with “In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong. ” Cleary shows that the author was reluctant to dwell and relive the past. His choice of diction indicates strongly that this is not from a child’s point of view. This is different from HP2 which almost everyone can relate to because of the closeness the child’s perspective creates whereas in “Piano” it would be more difficult to create an emotional bond between the reader and the author because of its very personal perspective comparing to HP2’s very general one.
Line seven, “To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside and hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide. ” This again paints a very descriptive picture in the readers head and it also is as if we’re there with him, experiencing it with him. Sounds are brought to effect again by the words “tinkling piano”. And the rhyme in this poem allows the author’s persona to be heard as very relaxed and laid back but also touching and nostalgic at the same time.
The last stanza brings us back to the real environment again. Back to reality as the singer “burst into clamour”. Having not wanting to dwell in the past he didn’t realize until now “The glamour of childish days upon me” and now he knows “my manhood is cast” that he can no longer go back to those comfortable Sunday evenings at home. He realizes this in a “flood of remembrance”, this metaphor uses the word “flood” to portray how overwhelming this realization is to him.
In a tone of regret, his last words were “I weep like a child for the past. ” This poem uses diction and emotional response to affect the reader. Lawrence’s choice of diction is sophisticated; “the insidious mastery of song” makes the reader think this poem is really professional and very impressive. Lawrence also creates a lot of emotional response, letting the reader reminisce in their own past, making them extremely sympathetic and also making them regret too, because we never realize what we have until it’s gone.
Not all childhoods’ were happy and sweet, the poem “My Parents kept Me from Children who were Rough” (Rough) tells of a child who was never allowed to socialise with the lower class children, always kept “safe” and never experienced what it was like to frolic and play with other “rough” children. In the second line of the first stanza Spender described the rough children being people “who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes” indicating that they were a lower class than him. “Threw words like stones” is a simile used to portray the verbal abuse that he was exposed to.
The line “their thighs showed through rags. They ran in the street” shows how Spender thought of them, that they were dirty and lacked etiquette and manners, but he wanted to be part of them anyways partly because of always wanting what you can’t have. The second stanza shows exactly how “rough” they were. Their “muscles like iron” is a metaphor describing how strong they were. In the eighth line Spender says “I feared the salt coarse pointing of these boys” using senses to portray how sweaty and dirty and just generally how “rough” they were.
These “rough” children bullied Spender, mainly because they thought he was a posh kid who thought he was better than them. They “copied my lisp behind me on the road” teasing and jeering at him as they followed him. Spender showed that he didn’t think that the “rough” children were like him though, he called them “dogs to bark at our world” as if they were in a separate reality, in quarantine. Even though with the perspective and idea that the rough children didn’t belong in “his world” he wanted to be a part of them, “I looked another way, pretending to smile.
I longed to forgive them”, every child longs to belong, wants to desperately fit in, even though their real self is totally different from the group, this is what Spender experienced, he wanted to belong somewhere, not just safe at home in his mother’s over gripping care, but with his peers. The rough children saw through him though, they knew that he thought they belonged in different worlds and that’s why they “never smiled” All three poems constructed the theme of childhood in different techniques.
Which one did the best? That would be a matter of opinion. I prefer the poem “Half-Past Two”, the childlike perspective and the diction and the compression of words really affected me. The poem made me think and reminisce too. “Piano” is a really effective poem also, but it is told from an adult point of view, in my opinion I think it constructed the theme of memories better than the theme of childhood. “My Parents kept Me from Children who were Rough” in my view is not effective.
First of all it seems to be set in a time that’s not modern day, and also it is a very personal and specific experience. Having never been kept from “rough” children myself, I cannot relate to the poem and in a way I don’t really understand what it would be like to be in that situation. As I said, it’s a matter of opinion, and I think “Half-Past Two” by U. A. Fanthorpe was an extremely witty and well written poem that to a great extent, effectively construct the theme of childhood.