Poetry Anthology

  • Created by: MissHMB
  • Created on: 20-09-20 10:52


Key Quotations
'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.'

'Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,'

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

'Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck,'


The poem discusses a statue in the desert, a traveller recounts the image to the speaker. There are two enormous legs and next to them a damaged "visage" (face). At the foot of the statue were words which reflected the arrogance and pride of Ozymandias. Those words seem very hollow now as the magnificent statue is destroyed.

Ozymandias is a sonnet. It is written in iambic pentameter

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Key Quotations.

‘I wandered through each chartered street’ 

‘marks of weakness, marks of woe.’

‘Mind forg’d manacles. Blackening church.’

‘Plagues the marriage hearse.’

The poem describes a journey around London, offering a glimpse of what the speaker sees as the terrible conditions faced by the inhabitants of the city. Child labour, the ‘corrupt’ Church, prostitution and the government are all mentioned by the speaker. It ends with a vision of the terrible consequences to be faced as a result of sexually transmitted disease.

London is presented in a very regular way structure. There is a strict abab rhyme scheme in each of the four stanzas. The four stanzas offer different ‘snapshots’ of the city to the reader.

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Key Quotations.
‘Not a red rose or a satin heart.’

‘I give you an onion.’

‘It will blind you with tears like a lover.’

‘I am trying to be truthful.’

‘It’s scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.’ 

Describes a gift for a lover, it is an unusual present – an onion. The poem explains why it is a powerful gift of love, much more than the clichéd gifts. The onion becomes a metaphor for love – it is a long-lasting and honest gift. The romantic imagery at the start of the poem ‘rose’ and ‘kissogram’ is starkly contrasted by non-romantic words at the end.  ‘Knife’ and ‘lethal,’ which makes love seem dangerous. 
Carol Ann Duffy (born 1955) is a Scottish poet and fierce feminist.
The poem is a first-person narrative written in free verse – there is no rhyming scheme.  

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She Walks in Beauty

Key Quotations
‘She walks in Beauty like the night.’ 

‘So soft, so calm, yet eloquent.’ 

‘A mind at peace with all below.’ 

‘A heart whose love is innocent.’ 

In this poem, Byron admires a woman’s beauty. There is clear sense of longing in the poem and the reader assumes that the object of his affections cannot be his.  It is not just about her physical beauty, he also admires her mind and her eloquence. The speaker in the poem doesn’t admit to having feelings of ‘love’ until the very last line of the poem, and he admires the woman’s ‘innocence.’ This contrasts to his bad reputation and the scandals surrounding him. 

Lord Byron (1788-1824) famous poet known for his amorous lifestyle and brilliant use of the English language
The rhyme scheme of the poem is very controlled and regular. The poet uses rich and varied language, alliteration and assonance.

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Cozy Apologia

Key Quotations.
‘I could pick anything and think of you.’

‘Sure as shooting arrows to the heart.’

‘chain mail glinting, to set me free.’

‘Sweet with a dark and hollow center.’

‘it’s embarrassing, this happiness.’

‘I fill this stolen time with you.’

Waiting for a storm to hit, the speaker thinks about her partner. She pictures him as a knight in shining armour, protecting her. He's a vivid contrast, she thinks, to the 'worthless' boys she used to date. She's embarrassed by how content their cosy, ordinary lives have made them. Yet she draws comfort from filling the 'stolen time' resulting from the hurricane's approach with thoughts of Fred.
Made up of three 10-line stanzas. Stanza one has five rhyming couplets, This rhyme scheme starts to break down in stanza two, as if reflecting the disruption of the oncoming storm.

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Sonnet 43

Key Quotations.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right,

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise; 

I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!

I shall but love thee better after death.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this poem to her husband Robert Browning, who inspired a lot of her work.

Made up of 14 lines and a regular but flexible rhyme scheme. The word love is repeated for emphasis and love is compared to holiness ‘lost saints.’  The way that the lines are broken up by punctuation at the end could represent breathlessness and passion. The poem is autobiographical and reflects the struggles that she went through to be with her true love, Robert Browning.

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The Soldier

Key Quotations.
’in some corner of a foreign field That is forever England’.

’A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware’.

'A pulse in the Eternal mind’

’breathing English air’

’In hearts at peace, under an English heaven’


The soldier encapsulates the feeling of patriotism that was evident in British society at the start of WW1. It expresses the belief that it is an honourable thing to die for your country, and Brooke is prepared to die in battle. England is a key theme in the poem and the speaker clearly loves his country. It is worth noting that Brooke never saw the reality of battle – he died on his way to fight.

The poem is a sonnet, usually reserved for love poems – it is Brooke’s love poem for his country.
Religious imagery – England is like a heaven.

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Mametz Wood

Key Quotations.
’the wasted young’

’across the field where they were told to walk, not run,

’twenty men buried in one long grave’

’in boots that outlasted them'

’have only now, with this unearthing, slipped from their absent tongues.'

Mametz Wood was the scene of fierce fighting during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. The battle lasted five days. There were 4,000 casualties. The poem describes the battlefield in modern times, with soldier’s bodies being uncovered by farmers tending the land

Sheers uses imagery to show how death in the First World War has been literally and metaphorically buried. Written in very plain (everyday) language. There is a very subtle use of sound throughout to show the noises of war. The final image: the bones ‘singing.’
Written in 2005, looking back at how we remember the First World War and the legacy that war leaves behind.  

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Dulce et Decorum Est

Key Quotations.
1-’Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’

2-’Men marched asleep.’

3-’Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling’

4- ‘Behind the wagon we flung him in’

5-’The old lie: Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria mori.’

Owen is recounting his first hand experiences of fighting in WW1 in this poem. He describes the dreadful conditions of the battlefront and gruesomely depicts the death of a fellow soldier from a gas attack. It is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of war, opposite to pro-war, patriotic ideas of the time. Owen makes use of rhyme, mostly on alternate line endings. The irregular structure reflects life as a soldier.

Owen was killed in action.  His mother received news of his death just as the end of the war was announced. Anti-war – Owen wanted the public to know the truth about the front line.

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The Manhunt

Key Quotations.

1.‘the frozen river which ran through his face’

2.‘the damaged porcelain collar bone’

3.‘the parachute silk of his punctured lung’

4.‘feel the hurt of his grazed heart’

5.‘every nerve in his body had tightened and closed.’

The Manhunt is written from the perspective of the wife of a soldier who has sustained serious injuries at war and has returned home. The poem explores the physical and mental effects of living with injuries sustained when on active service in the armed forces.

The poem is made up of a series of couplets, mostly unrhymed. This creates a sense of fragmentation, which matches the feelings of the soldier's wife as she seeks to understand the man her husband has become.

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A Wife in London

Key Quotations.

1-’he-has fallen- in the far South Land...’

2-’the fog hangs thicker.’

3-’His hand, whom the worm now knows.’

4-’page-full of his hoped return.’

5-’Flashed news in her hand.’

The poem describes a wife receiving news of her husband who has died in a battle. It is a poem about grief and love. Fog swirls round the streets. Pathetic fallacy is used to create an ominous atmosphere – the reader knows that something bad is going to happen.  Ironically, after she has learned that he is dead, she receives a letter from her husband in which he speaks of his excitement of when he will next see her and the things which they will do together.
The poem is split into two sections – the tragedy and the irony. The second half of the poem shows how her life has changed after the death of her husband.

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Key Quotations.

1.‘Summer is fading’

2.‘young mothers assemble.’

3.‘At swing and sandpit Setting free their children.’

4.Our Wedding lying Near the television.’

5.‘something is pushing them to the side of their own lives.’

Afternoons is a very melancholy poem, about the inevitability of change and the passing of youth. The poem talks about the challenges of growing up and having children. The poem discusses parenthood – how priorities have changed and there are responsibilities to face. The couples in the poem have been replaced by younger couples who go to their old ‘courting places.’

The structure of the poem is simple; there are three stanzas with eight lines in each.
Philip Arthur Larkin (9 August 1922 – 2 December 1985) was an English poet, novelist and librarian.

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Death of a Naturalist

Key Quotations.

1.‘Bubbles gargled delicately'

2.‘best of all was the warm thick slobber of frogspawn.’

3.‘The fattening dots burst.’

4.‘Angry frogs invaded.’

5.‘The great slime kings were gathered there for vengeance.’

‘Death of a Naturalist’ is both a description of Heaney’s experience with nature as a boy, and a metaphor for the loss of his childhood innocence, as he looks back. He is fascinated by the frogspawn and tadpoles of the flax-dam’, and remembers a lesson his teacher gave at that time, but becomes repulsed by a horde of croaking frogs in their maturity.
The poem is written in iambic pentameter. A lot of childhood imagery is used to convey the youth and innocence of the speaker.
Seamus Justin Heaney, was an Irish poet, and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature

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To Autumn

Key Quotations.

1.‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!’

2.‘And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease’

3.Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours

4.Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 


Throughout the poem, the speaker addresses autumn as if it were a person. In the first stanza, he notes that autumn and the sun are like best friends plotting how to make fruit grow and how to ripen crops before the harvest. He tells us about the bees that think summer can last forever as they buzz around the flowers. But the speaker knows better. The second stanza describes the period after the harvest. In the third stanza, the speaker notes that the music of spring is a distant memory, but that autumn's music is good too.

John Keats (1795-1821) was an English Romantic poet.

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Hawk Roosting

Key Quotations.
1.‘I sit at the top of the wood.’

2.‘No falsifying dream’

3.‘And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.’

4.‘Now I hold Creation in my foot’

5.‘The allotment of death.’

6.‘I am going to keep things like this.’

The poem is written from the first person narrative of a hawk, who is at the top of the food chain in his wood. It discusses power. The poem is about the hawks ego. The poem uses a lot of imagery related to death and evolution. The hawk is a determined character who will not allow anything or anyone  to stand in his way. We could interpret the poem as literally being about a hawk, or the hawk could be a metaphor for a person in absolute power – a dictator.
The poem is made up of four line stanzas – controlled, like the hawk is controlling his environment. 

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As Imperceptibly as Grief

Key Quotations.

1.The summer lapsed away.’
2.Sequestered afternoon.’
3.‘courteous yet harrowing grace.’
4.As guest that would be gone.’
5.Our summer made her light escape into the beautiful.’

In Emily Dickinson’s poem “As imperceptibly as Grief,” Dickinson uses beautiful words to show her complete distress.. Dickinson write about “Summer” as if Summer is a symbolism for happiness. Dickenson writes this poem to represent her own emotions and struggles.. Her words provide a sense of beauty in the darkness.

The poem leads up towards the final line when summer is gone – there is a finality to the end of summer which is comparable to the finality of death.

Emily Dickinson (1830 –1886) was an American poet. She lived most of her life in solitude as a recluse.

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The Prelude

Key Quotations.

1. And not a voice was idle; with the din,

2. I heeded not the summons: - happy time

3. Into the tumult sent an alien sound
Of melancholy, not unnoticed

4. The orange sky of evening died away.

The prelude is a very long, autobiographical poem, showing the spiritual growth of the speaker. In the poem, Wordsworth recounts his childhood experience of skating on a frozen lake at twilight. His vocabulary and imagery is vivid and powerful. The sky is ‘orange’ and the evening ‘blaz’d.’ He feels not just happiness but ‘rapture.’ In the second section, he leaves the pack and is alone with nature. In the third section, he personifies nature as spirits, which ‘haunt’ him.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is one of the most famous poets in the history of English Literature.

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Living Space

Key Quotations.
‘Not enough straight lines’

'Beams balance crookedly.’

'Nails clutch at open seams.’

'Eggs in a wire basket.’

'Bright, thin walls of faith.’

The poem describes a ramshackle living space, with its lack of 'straight lines' and beams 'balanced crookedly on supports'. Imtiaz Dharker has explained that the poem describes the slums of Mumbai, where people migrate from all over India in the hope of a better life. The slum areas are living spaces created out of all kinds of found materials: corrugated sheets, wooden beams and tarpaulin. In this poem, she celebrates the existence of these living spaces as a miracle.
Imtiaz Dharker is a  British poet, artist and documentary filmmaker. She has won the Queen’s Gold Medal for her English poetry.
The middle stanza representing the small ‘living space’ is squeezed in.

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