Relationship Poems

  • Created by: leeannnee
  • Created on: 25-03-19 18:50

My Last Duchess: Robert Browning


  • Duke Alfonso married three times
  • No male heirs from children had. All wives died suspiciously
  • Victorian Era: Repression


  • Objectifying with Personal Pronouns "my last duchess" and metaphors "that piece"/"is my object"
  • Jealous Imagination: "called a spot of joy" / "heart to soon made glad"

Structure + Form

  • unrehersed speech (arrogance is habit) + loss of emotion control "or blush, at least. She thanked men- good! But thanked somehow- I know not how-"
  • Constant Pentameter and Rhyme AABBCC = constant vanity
  • Dramatic Monologue with only one stanza = self importance
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My Last Duchess Quote Embedding

  • Looking as if she were alive
  • Curtain
  • Officious fool
  • 900 year old name
  • never to stoop
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La Belle Dame Sans Merci: John Keats


  • Romantic Period 1770-1850
  • wrote on political + social movement
  • message: dangers with obssession


  • warning, ominous tone: "they cried... thee hath in thrall!"
  • Breaking down of relationships with seasons: "and no birds sing"
  • hints about death "lily on thy brow" / "full beautiful- fairy's child" - also captivated in love

Structure + Form:

  • Cyclical: "I sojourn here palely loitering" meaning he is trapped in his fate
  • Tetrameter + ABCB + Quatrain = rhythmical = he's entranced 
  • Ballad form to help get message + warning across easily
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La Belle Dame Sans Merci Quote Embedding

  • Horrid warning gaped wide
  • She looked at me as if she loved
  • lulled me to sleep
  • Fading rose
  • Pale Kings, Princes too, Pale Warriors, death pale were they all
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A Child to his Sick Grandfather: Joanna Baillie


  • Father died 1783 but published poem for him in 1790 = dad has turned to a grandfather now
  • Romantic period: issue is on children losing the ones they lost


  • Semantic field of Fraility: "old and frail" / "how lank and thin your beard" / "wan,hollow... cheeks"
  • defensive child: "housewives... potions brew... gossip" - childlike imagery


  • Rhyme couplets with Tetrameter then Trimeter = strict structure = child only sees black/white
  • break in rhyme in sestets 3,7,8 = child's emotion to accept death "cheeks...breaks"
  • Present tense at start, Past in 2nd, Future in 5th = child comes to term with death.
  • Lyrical Poem: personal 1st person emotions
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A Child to his Sick Grandfather Quote Embedding

  • vexed to see you, sit beside you, love my old, why are you ailing, fill with cheer - DAD
  • tell me how good children did
  • say their prayers
  • You love a story dad
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Sonnet 43: Elizabeth Browning


  • Addressed to husband Robert + 43rd/44 Sonnets written
  • Breaks 19th century (1850) normalities and shows that women can declare love too
  • Parents wouldn't allow marriage = autobiographical


  • Capital letters: "Being... Ideal Grace... Right.... Praise..." = devoutly religious to love.
  • Syndetic Listing: "depth and breadth and height" = so much to describe = vast love


  • Repetition of "I love thee" = persistent love and very powerful
  • Punctuation: "how do i love thee?... count the ways!-" "Smiles, tears, of all my life!-" 
  • ABBA rhyme + constant pentameter = perfect love BUT:

Form: Breaks Peterarchan Sonnet rules because she isn't constraining her love esp. w/ punct.

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Sonnet 43 Quote Embedding

  • In my old griefs
  • With my lost saints
  • I shall love thee better after death
  • My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
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A Complaint: William Wordsworth


  • Romanticist (1807) and thought about how he was always challenged
  • Affected by lost: Orphaned, lost 1st wife and 3 children
  • Lost friend Sam Taylor Coleridge who took opium for poems = personality change


  • Extended Metaphor: Water "Comfortless and hidden well" of unreachable water and friendship which is non flowing. Connotation: can't survive without water


  • Cyclical: "there is a change... -such a change" + contrast with past and present tense
  • Punctuation Breaks: "a well of love- it may be deep- i trust that is, - and never dry:"

Form: ABABCC + couplet shows clear negative emotions + rhyme break = relationship break

  • Tetrameter = seriousness of complaint and possibly monotonous = no more relationship
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A Complaint Quote Embedding

  • Not long ago fountain at my fond heart's door... only business was to flow
  • consecrated fount of murmuring, sparkling living love --> comfortless + hidden
  • Waters sleep in silence + obscurity
  • Hath made me poor
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She Walks in Beauty: Lord Byron


  • Writes about a wife of a friend who seems so beautiful; respects that her "love is innocent."
  • 1814 Romanticist that recognised his personal emotion influence and that heart > head


  • alliteration + assonance: "cloudless climes and starry skies" = smooth feeling
  • extended metaphor + simile: "like the night" = woman is one of a kind w/ original desc.
  • antithesis: "one shade the more, one ray the less" = confusion in feelings to admit love


  • 3 sestets with ABABAB and tetrameter = regularity of walk but also faultless perfection BUT:
  • enjambment: so much beauty; there's to much to describe that he can't pause for breath

Form: Lyrical Poem = w/ music + so in love he would want to sing his declaration.

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She Walks in Beauty Quote Embedding

  • So soft, so calm, yet so eloquent
  • A heart who's love is innocent
  • Meet her in aspect and her eyes
  • Smiles that win, tints that glow
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Neutral Tones: Thomas Hardy


  • Famous for pessimistic writing
  • Faced many disappointments with relationships
  • Written 1867 but published 1887 to emphasise theme of memory


  • Negativity Semantic Field: "eyes on me/rove" "smile...deadest thing" 
  • Imagery with seasons: "pond that winter" "few leaves... fallen from an ash, and were gray" 


  • Cyclical: "face, god-curst sun, and a tree" can't come to terms and revisits memory in 1-3
  • Uneven rhythm = uncomfortable relationship BUT even ABBA rhyme = speaker is forcing himself to feel neutral about this break down

Form: 4 quatrains = very controlled w/ couplet BB trapped in A-A = lack of love/hiding emotion

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Neutral Tones Quotes Embedding

  • words played between us to and fro 
  • keen lessons that love deceives
  • alive enough to have strength to die
  • tedious riddles of years ago
  • sun was white, few leaves lay on starving sod
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1st Date He/She: Wendy Cope


  • Deals social conventions of dating
  • Witty humour 


  • Semantic Field of Sight = importance of appearance + them looking @ eachother "glance" "appear" "half-dark"
  • Cliches to show ordinary side "lost in the music" "face, it's a picture"


  • Short lines + tetrameter = speed and nervousness
  • Irony: "trying hard to listen" "quite undistracted by me" = awkwardness


  • ABCB rhyme = it is working but still struggling esp with side by side poems= confusion
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1st Date He/She Quote Embedding

  • She/I said... liked classical music
  • In that dress she's very attractive
  • A picture of rapt concentration
  • Perhaps she's out of my league... impression that my brow was high
  • Where are we? I'll have nothing to say.
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Valentine: Carol Ann Duffy


  • always addresses the overuse of sentimental love images
  • from collection, 'Mean Time,' which explores unconventional forms of love + copies other poets who did the same


  • Onion extended metaphor that has many layers to show depth of love "i give you an onion"
  • simple cliche language + images: "red rose, satin heart, cute card, kissogram" with not so cliche images: "platinum loops... wedding ring" "moon wrapped in brown paper... like the careful ********** of love." "lethal, scent will cling to your knife"


  • Monosyllabic to get straight to point = not normal with love confession "Here." 
  • goes from innocent to "lethal" = reveals her true self and obssession with crush.

Form: Free verse w/ irregular stanzas = not planned + not be restricted to conventions of love

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Valentine Quote Embedding

  • It will blind you with tears
  • Reflection like a wobbling photo of grief
  • Here. I'm trying to be truthful. I give you an onion. Take it... if you like.
  • ...fingers, cling to your knife.
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One Flesh: Elizabeth Jennings


  • Religious person, wrote on loss of faith in 1960s --> shown with loss of love here
  • Biblical reference used with "one flesh" as did Adam and Eve


  • semantic field of distance: "lying apart, separate bed, hardly ever touch" to describe struggling, emotionless relationship
  • Juxtapose many ideas: "he with a book, her dreaming; little feeling- or too much; strangely apart yet close together; fire which i came has now grown cold."


  • rhyme ABCBAA, couplet in 1st two stanzas but not final = finally separated
  • Constant Pentameter = serious subject

Form: - exactly 3 sestets to show very controlling relationship + no excitement.

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One Flesh Quote Embedding

  • Books he holds unread
  • Her eyes fixed on shadows overhead
  • Tossed up like flotasm from former passion
  • Chastity... a destination... whole lives were preparation
  • Time is a feather... do they know they're old
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I wanna be yours: John Cooper Clarke


  • try to reduce complex ideas on love as a punk poet
  • set to music to serenade the loved one 


  • everyday objects like "vacuum, coffee pot, raincoat" to show lack of seriousness in love and immaturity.
  • Colloquialism "i wanna be yours" rushing the poem but also the relationship


  • No punctuation: desperate to show love which could be impulsive of him
  • Irregular rhyme + rhythm = deviate from norms but also show passionate but technically regular to each individual stanza except final + ABABCCCD = lose self control

Form: 2 octaves, one 13line stanza = desperation take over

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i wanna be yours Quote Embedding

  • let me be your raincoat
  • i will not run out, i dont care, i dont wanna be hers
  • let me be your dreamboat, teddybear
  • with deep devotion, deep as the deep atlantic ocean, thats how deep my emotion
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Love's Dog: Jen Hadfield


  • Response poem to Edwin Morgan's : "what i hate about love is its dog" which shows effort of love + deliberation needed


  • Metaphors to show different aspects of love i.e:
  • loves physical display of love : "what i love is its petting zoo and zookeeper- you"
  • hates when its boring and dull: "i loate is its burnt toast and bonemeal"


  • Parallelism: its either "what i love or hate" to convey that there is emotions for both the positives and negatives... breaks when loathe is mentioned = hints her relationship right now
  • Cyclical: stuck in regret "what i love, what i hate" doesn't know what to do with these feelings

Form: - no rhythm + 8 couplet rhyme = confused + unpredictable ideas show reality.

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Love's Dog Quote Embedding

  • diagnosis; prognosis
  • mememe;  eatmedrinkme
  • petting zoo; zookeeper you
  • truth serum; shrink potion
  • doubloons; birdbones
  • boil-wash; spin-cycle
  • burnt toast and bonemeal; bent cigarette
  • pirate; sick parrot
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Nettles: Vernon Scannell


  • Fought + deserted army twice = experience would make him more agressive + lash out
  • son was killed during war too = a very personal topic that could trigger his anger
  • enlisted in 1940 at 18 years old = lost part of his childhood


  • simple vocabulary mixes with semantic words of military: "green spears, regiment of spite, burn the fallen dead, tall recruits." "honing the blade" seems vengeful here.
  • "my son" turns to "my boy" gets the reader to understand his pain
  • "white blisters on skin" to tall recruits = zoom out panning = we see all of the intimacy

Structure + Form

  • One stanza (so much to say) of 4 Quatrains with ABAB (disguises the very serious matter with a mundane situation and simple rhyme) and constant iambic pentameter (constant frustration) except "And went outside and slashed in fury with it" and rhyme with "... then i lit"
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The Manhunt: Simon Armitage

Context + ideas:

  • Based on his documentary "the forgotten heroes" for PTSD of war - could show his pacifism
  • Laura reads for Eddie in Bosnia - still recovering from 3 year war = scary 
  • break off from Yugoslavia in 1990s =how conflict could lead to loss of allies and friendship
  • Soldier doesnt want to show his weakness - difficult to "trace his scares back to the source" 
  • Be patient and still love as wife "explores" his "grazed heart" (literal/figurative) w "foetus of metal" - foetus turns to a baby- changes one's life like how this injury will change theirs.


  • "handle and hold, mind and attend, trace, explore" wife shows concern for him 
  • "blown hinge of broken jaw" -> "climb rungs of his broken ribs" she was able to follow path

Structure+ Form:

  • 13 Rhyme couplets w/ many failing+ no rhythm = fragmented, unstable mental state of man
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My Father Would Not Show Us: Ingrid De Kok


  • Rainer Rilke quote "which way do we face to talk to the dead" who writes about life, death and existence. 
  • Very young when father died = very shocking for her
  • 1948 - 94: apartheid in South Africa. Father could have been involved in political problems


  • "fathers face, 5 days dead" "Inverted face" "wry smile, his half turned face" - still w/ her. Half turned = hiding secret like illness till he finally "turns away" showing death
  • morgue is "cold in here" could be due to there being no life or world has become emotionless

Structure + form:

  • Free verse to express deep sadness
  • repetition of the title shows anger or frustration but turns into "could" = understand that his lack of emotions OR doesnt want to ruin last moments 
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