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Brendan Kennelly - Discuss Impact Of Tone And/Or Mood In Kennelly's Poetry

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Discuss the impact of tone and/or mood in Brendan Kennelly’s poetry. 4

Discuss the impact of tone and/or mood in Brendan Kennelly’s poetry.

From my reading and study of the Brendan Kennelly poems on my Leaving Certificate English course, I believe that tone is often very important in the overall mood his poetry creates. Kennelly’s use and creation of tone are typically varied and wide-ranging. Thus, the mood each of his poems creates for the reader often varies greatly, ensuring each poem leaves them with a unique poetic signature.

In my opinion, arguably the purest, most sincere tone of Kennelly’s Leaving Cert poetry is that of ‘Dear Autumn Girl’, a poem that serves as the speaker’s paean to his pregnant wife. In this poem, the speaker describes himself as being lost in wonder and awe at his wife’s radiant beauty and a sense of consuming joy at her impending birth-giving: ‘these helter-skelter days / When mad leaf-argosies drive at my head, / I try but fail to give you proper praise’.

Already, even in the first stanza, the speaker seems resigned to his inability to verbalise the wondrous joy his wife has brought and will continue to bring into his life. The speaker goes on to describe himself as ‘an islander at sea’, ‘a fool’, and ‘a simple king’. In short, he is lost in a world he has never visited before, and has never felt anything like this. He is foolish in his actions and behaviour but aware of the fact and unable to do anything about it, such is h...

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