Both poets, Fanthorpe and Clarke use a slow and serious tone. In spite of this similarity, the impression that we have of their characters is very different. In “Miracle on St. David’s Day” Clarke introduces us to many characters, she describes some briefly other in detail. We are introduced to a “chestnut-haired boy”. The close comparison to nature creates a sweet and appealing image; the chestnut is a sweet treat craved by some members of society. The chestnut is still a nut soon to grow into a chestnut tree, this leads us to interpret that the boy is very young innocent and helpless.
We are introduced to a character that is described as a big ‘dumb’ laboring man. The words that Clarke chooses to describe the man gives the impression that she wants the reader to have a negative perspective: big and dumb. Clarke uses monosyllabic and simple adjectives to describe the man. This represents the simplicity and innocence of Clarke’s character. While describing the laborer Clarke uses a lot of repetition. This signifies that the man is, again, simple however also very powerful. Clarke goes on to describe how the man rocks in his chair: gently and tenderly. The two adjectives are significantly different to Clarke’s original description.
Clarke uses disparity to describe the laborer. The man’s voice is compared to the “slow movement of spring water” as he recites the poem. The stillness of the surrounding, the nurses frozen as the man moves and recites the poem, shows the intensity in the atmosphere. The absence of a rhyme scheme and the lack of humour make us trust our narrator. The poem is serious as if a careful documentary showing carefully epic points. We trust her in whatever feature she grants us. Clarke gives exact details describing the environment diligently- she is very observant. We feel the narrator is caring and compassionate person; the long sentences and use of enjambment makes Clarke sound like a patient person.
In “Old Man, Old Man”, Fanthorpe describe the character carefully, resulting in a very clear image of the old man’s personality. Fanthorpe chooses to leave the relationship between her and the old man “only as a cloud” a very vague and complex affiliation. Fanthorpe makes the old man appear fragile. The old man cannot smoke his “timetabled cigarette” because of his age. Rituals are broken because of the infirmity of age; Fanthorpe makes the reader dread getting older. As the man is already an old man, we feel pity towards him. Fanthorpe uses negative words: “no power” “helplessness” and “shamble” to form the effect that the old man is lonely. As most of us dread being alone we feel pity to those who are alone. However, the poet does hint that the old man deserves to be lonely as he has “disinherited children” creating an illustration that the man is stupid pushing away loved ones.
In “Old Man, Old Man” Fanthorpe uses repetition to show her sincerity. “Let me….Let me” Fanthorpe genuinely wants to help the old man. However, the stubborn attitude of the old man pushes her away. Describing herself “I am only a cloud” leads us to believe that Fanthorpe is someone desperately trying to gain appreciation from the man only to be disappointed. Fanthorpe is a part of the old man’s life but a part, which the man takes advantage of and fails to recognize.