The two poems ‘A Spring Morning’ and ‘Coldness In Love’ both have a common theme of love, but talk about vastly different aspects of that one emotion. An obvious contrast is that in ‘A Spring Morning’, John Clare talks of the positive aspects of love, and how it feels to be in love, while in ‘Coldness In Love’, DH Lawrence talks of the pain that can be experienced by someone who was once in love, but has been cast aside by his lover. Another obvious contrast between the two poems is that they are set in contrasting seasons, as Clare’s poem is set in spring, hence the title ‘A Spring Morning’, while Lawrence’s poem is set in winter.
A clear comparison between the two poems show that they both use pathetic fallacy to reflect the mood, attitude and feelings that they have towards both love, and also what love can do to people. In the poem ‘A Spring Morning’, Clare describes the act of falling into love, and how once in it all appears to be perfect. He does not talk of a specific case of falling into love, but talks of the general feelings that one can experience when they are in love.
As the poem is generalised, it lacks a definitive story-line, which contrasts with ‘Coldness In Love’, which talks of a specific case of someone (most probably Lawrence himself) having difficulties in love, and being cast aside by his lover. ‘A Spring Morning’ is obviously set in spring, and the imagery used in it describes all of the positive aspects of love, without talking about any of the problems that sometimes occur between lovers. An example of the positive imagery Clare uses to describe the feelings of love are shown in the below quotations: ‘Fresh are new opened flowers, untouched and free
From the bold rifling of the amorous bee. ‘ I think that the words ‘untouched and free’ from the above quotation could give a possible motive for why Clare wrote the poem. This motive could be Clare trying to describe the first time that he has fallen in love. This idea is also supported by Clare saying ‘Fresh are new opened flowers’, which could talk about girls reaching puberty, and becoming more womanly. Clare also uses some sexual imagery to describe love, and spring, as he uses the words ‘rifling of the amorous bee’ to describe having sexual intercourse.
He also tries to describe spring as being virginal, as he describes the flowers (possibly referring to young women) as ‘untouched and free’. The fact that Clare only seems to describe the positive aspects of love could dismay some people from enjoying the poem, as they might find the poem to be too one-sided and also too generalised, as Clare never mentions a specific person who is in love. ‘Coldness In Love’ contrasts sharply with this, because it talks of a very specific case of someone being in love, and the troubles that they encountered whilst they were (or maybe still are) in love.
The poem is extremely negative about the feelings one can experience in love, which again may give the poem a minority appeal of other people who have at one time or another been cast aside by their lover. However, this poem is much more realistic than ‘A Spring Morning’, which may appeal to some people as they will appreciate Lawrence’s honesty in the poem, and feel sympathy for him, as he suffered much pain during the relationship that he described.
An example of the negative imagery Lawrence uses to describe how he feels towards love I shown in the quotation below: The sea and the sky went grey, as if they had sunk A flocculent dust on the floor of the world: the festoon Of the sky sagged dusty as spider cloth, And coldness clogged the sea, till it ceased to croon. ‘ Lawrence’s attitude towards love is obviously very negative, as shown by the first line of the above quotation. He talks of how ‘The sea and the sky went grey’, which could be referring to love abandoning him, and taking all of the colour, pleasure and meaning out of his life.
The above quotation also shows Lawrence’s negative attitude towards love, as he says that ‘the sky sagged’, which again could refer to the meaning being taken out of his life, and what life he has left has slowly started to collapse in on him. ‘Coldness In Love’ is set in winter, as the season reflects the feelings that Lawrence describes. The ‘cold’ described in the title is shown by the winter weather, which is always cold. Lawrence describes the feelings that he felt when he parted from his previous lover with a passion, showing that the pain he felt was still very vivid during the writing of the poem.
Throughout the poem Lawrence also describes trying to recover his lost lover, but to no avail. The coldness described throughout the poem could show how much Lawrence missed his lover, and how he was not complete without her. This could be so, because the opposite feeling of warmth is associated with being content, and the lack of that warmth could signify his lack of contention now that he is alone. The following quotation shows this clearly: ‘But still to me all evening long you were cold,
And I was numb with a bitter deathly ache;’ The fact that ‘all evening long’ Lawrence’s lover was ‘cold’ could signify Lawrence now realising that their were signs that his lover was going to leave him before she did, but that he had not spotted them until now. This ‘cold’ that Lawrence uses to describe his lover could also mean that she did not have the same degree of affection for Lawrence as he had for her. Both ‘A Spring Morning’ and ‘Coldness In Love’ can be compared in several ways.
The first is that the two poems are both quite structured, but are structured in different ways. They both feature rhyme, which is very obvious in ‘A Spring Morning’, but is disguised in ‘Coldness In Love’. ‘A Spring Morning’ is written entirely in heroic couplets, which clearly show the rhyme pattern. The fact that the whole poem is written in this way means that Clare planned to write the poem, which shows that he was not gripped by intense passion/ desperation like Lawrence whose poem is very clumsy.
Lawrence’s poem may be clumsy, as his poem came from a stream of consciousness, where he wrote down what he was thinking, as one thought led onto another. Clare’s controlled poem appears to be a sonnet when initially observed, as it has both fourteen lines, and also follows iambic pentameter, which are two qualities that a poem must have to be a sonnet, but it has a very different rhyme pattern to either a Pentrachan or Shakespearean sonnet.
The clear rhyme pattern that it possesses is shown in the following quotation: The Spring comes in with all her hues and smells, In freshness breathing over hills and dells;’ The clear rhyme pattern combined with the soft alliteration of the letters ‘s’ and ‘l’ give the poem a momentum, and make it very easy to read, which shows Clare’s positive attitude towards love. Also, the momentum generated in ‘A Spring Morning’ could also symbolise the birth of love, as people generally associate movement and motion with creation.
This contrasts markedly with the affect that the rhyme pattern and harsh alliteration have in ‘Coldness In Love’. Coldness In Love’ also has rhyme on the first, third and fifth lines of each stanza, however the other two lines of each stanza do no rhyme. Lawrence’s rhyme pattern is disguised by his combination of heavy punctuation and polysyllabic words that vastly slow the poem down. He also uses words that are difficult to say and also unpleasant to listen to. This combined with harsh alliteration (particularly of the letters ‘s’, ‘c’ and ‘g’) give the poem great cacophony, which allows the reader to relate to the pain that Lawrence was feeling when he wrote the poem.
The result of the poem being so hard to say is that it has a jerky motion, which could relate to Lawrence writing about the death of love, as his lover has abandoned him. An example of the jerky motion that the poem has is shown below: ‘And I slept till dawn at the window blew in like dust, Like a linty, raw cold dust disturbed from the floor Of the unswept sea; a grey pale light like must’ The fact that the poem is so hard to say could have been a deliberate poetic tool used by Lawrence to try to communicate the pain he felt when his relationship ended with his lover.
However, it could just as well be something that accidentally took place through Lawrence’s stream of consciousness. Both of the poems ‘A Spring Morning’ and ‘Coldness In Love’ are different in many ways, however one feature that they both share is the fact that they are both very sensual poems. The sensuality of both poems help to involve the reader into them. In ‘A Spring Morning’, Clare personifies spring as a woman, and gives that woman emotions, clothing, and creates an atmosphere around her to involve the reader.
He describes the sights of spring, as well as incorporating the other senses of smell, hearing and touch into it. In Clare’s poem, everything he describes to make the poem sensual is very positive, which contrasts with the bitterness in sensuality in ‘Coldness In Love’. Lawrence uses very vivid language to involve the reader into the poem, however, the language he uses is vivid in a very unpleasant way. He also describes the things he sees, hears, touches and smells, but does it in a way that almost disgusts the reader, helping him to share his pain.
An example of Lawrence incorporating the various senses into his poem is shown in the quotation below: ‘A dank, sickening scent came up from the grime Of weed that blackened the shore, so that I recoiled’ The alliteration of the words ‘sickening scent’ give a jittery momentum to that part of the poem, which describes the smell of ‘grime’. Language like that previously described combined with words like ‘recoiled’ alert the reader’s senses and incorporate them into the poem, giving it some sincerity.
Personally, I feel that ‘Coldness In Love’ is a vastly more effective poem than ‘A Spring Morning’, because it is much more specific. I think that the fact that it is about a particular relationship, and how it went wrong allows the reader to sympathise with the poet (Lawrence) over the pain that he must have been feeling when he wrote the poem. I also think that the reader is able to relate to the poem, because every person experiences relationships gone wrong at some point in their lives, so everyone can at least somewhat understand the pain that Lawrence is going through.
I also think that the poetic devices that Lawrence has used, especially the deliberate clumsiness allow him to communicate his pain and grief with the reader very well, as it allows the reader to understand what frame of mind he must have been in to write such things. I find that ‘A Spring Morning’ is too generalised in its references to love, as it does not talk of the love of a person, or animal or anything like that, but just gives a general overview of what love is. I also find that Clare has a far too one-sided view of love, and what people experience when they are in love.
This seems far too unrealistic, as nobody has the kind of love that he describes – a love that is totally perfect without any compromise or pain. Clare talks about a very traditional love, which could be as he wrote the poem in the early nineteenth century, while ‘Coldness In Love’ was written in the early twentieth century. Also, I find that Clare’s poem is far too controlled, which shows that it must have been thoroughly planned and I feel could not reflect his true mood when he was writing it, which contrasts to the way I feel about Lawrence’s poem.
Lawrence’s poem seems to be very passionate, even though it has some structure to it, such as all of the stanzas being of a certain length (five lines). However, Lawrence’s poem is punctuated very heavily, which severely disrupts the flow of someone reading it, as the punctuation is not regular, such as a poem that has mainly end-stopping (such as ‘A Spring Morning’), but has a combination of punctuation including end-stopping, enjambment and caesuras.
I also feel that ‘Coldness In Love’ is a far more effective poem to read and appreciate, because it has a clear story-line to it, while ‘A Spring Morning’ doesn’t. Clare’s poem talks about a generalised feeling of being loved or being in love, while Lawrence’s poem takes the reader on a journey. ‘Coldness In Love’ talks about how Lawrence immediately felt after losing his lover, and about how he pined to have her back into his life for a period afterwards, before finally being able to move on.
The last couple of lines of the poem show that Lawrence was ready to move on, as shown from the following quotation: ‘With cold, like the shell of the moon; and strange it seems That my love can dawn in warmth again, unafraid. ‘ The very last word, ‘unafraid’ helps to give a finality to the poem that even though Lawrence has experienced torment after the end of a relationship, he has dealt with his emotions, and the fact that he is ready to move on after this gives the reader some hope for the future, especially if they have also experienced traumatic relationships themselves.
I think that ‘Coldness In Love’ involves the reader much more deeply then ‘A Spring Morning’, as Lawrence communicates his feelings in reference to love much more clearly through his use of language, particularly the heavy, uncontrolled punctuation and harsh alliteration, combined with the specificity of the poem. Lawrence’s use of poetic devices convey his pain with the readers, which give him a wider appeal, as everyone experiences some degree of grief in their life with reference to the termination of a n important relationship.
I think that ‘Coldness In Love’ is vastly more realistic in the way it describes love in comparison to ‘A Spring Morning’, which describes an idyllic love where everything is perfect, which does not appeal to me. It also appears that Clare is somewhat detached from the subject matter he describes in his poem, which gives the poem a lack of sincerity, which is the absolute opposite to ‘Coldness In Love’.
In Lawrence’s poem, there is no doubt that the emotions Lawrence describes are what he actually felt when his relationship was terminated, as he describes his feelings in much more detail. The details he gives, and the similes and metaphors that he uses to describe the way he feels give depth to his poem, which make it feel much more sincere. I think that ‘Coldness In Love’ is a vastly more effective poem than ‘A Spring Morning’, as Lawrence communicates more with the reader, due to his detailed descriptions, and clever use of language.
His poem seems far more realistic than Clare’s poem, as it allows the reader to feel real emotions towards the subject matter, while the emotions that Clare describes seem a little too gleeful to allow the reader to involve themselves fully. ‘Coldness In Love’ has a greater deal of individuality as a poem over ‘A Spring Morning’, which describes love in a vague, hazy way, which contrasts with the specificity and detail of ‘Coldness In Love’.