Unseen Poetry - Poetry - 2011 Sample Answer
Section 3 – Unseen Poem
- (a) Comment on one emotion expressed by the poet in this poem. Refer to the text in your answer.
- Choose a line or phrase from the poem that impressed you. Explain your choice.
- Write a personal response to this poem. Your answer should make close reference to the text.
- Comment on one emotion expressed by the poet in this poem. Refer to the text in your answer. (10 marks)
In my opinion, the strongest emotion conveyed by the poet of this poem is that of frustration. This poem seems to be the poet’s response to being unprepared for poetic inspiration when it strikes. “I can never find a pen when you come, when you snap me up on your lizard tongue.” The poet talks about being consumed by her need to capture the idea on paper before it disappears like “feathering clouds”, and says that until she manages to do so, “while you are half born I will never sleep”.
The poet’s frustration is very skilfully captured here, as she writes of inspiration as though it is an animal, telling us that it commands all of her attention (“wrap yourself around me as if I were a spool”)and that it taunts her with its presence (“vague as metaphors you tease”). What makes the frustration of the poet very apparent is her admission that “you will never be perfected”, letting us know that she will never be satisfied in transferring her inspiration to the page.
In the second stanza the poet tells is that the action of capturing the inspiration sours it for her somehow, telling us that “in pickling ink I preserve all your fruits”. It is the way that the poet
describes the vagueness of poetic metaphors, the manner in which she feels poetry teases her, and her admission that she will never perfect her poems, which adds to our sense of the poet’s frustration. The final three lines of the poem announce the poet’s realisation that despite years of attempting “to drain the reddest blood from your throat” that she is st...