Choose a poem which explores the theme of love.
Show how the poet’s exploration of the subject appeals to you emotionally and/or intellectually and helps you gain a deeper understanding.
An example of a poem which explores the subject of tenderness is “Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy. In it the Speaker gives their lover “an onion” as a Valentine’s gift. The poet uses the onion as a symbol to describe love and shows us, through this extended metaphor, how it is a more appropriate and honest representation than traditional Valentine ’s Day gifts. This poem appeals to the reader intellectually and emotionally in several ways. The poet uses specific language structures to emphasise her disapproval of the usual Valentine’s gifts people send; she also makes use of an extended to reveal her view of both the positive and negative aspects of love.
The poet uses language structures in the poem to show her disapproval of traditional, clichéd Valentine gifts:
“Not a red rose or a satin heart” and “Not a cute card or a kissogram”
In both cases the word “not” is stressed because it comes first in the line. “Not” is actually the first word in the poem. This negative assertion immediately makes it clear to the reader the poet’s dismissive attitude towards the trappings we fall into on Valentine’s Day. Duffy adds to the impact of her refreshing attitude by repeating the structure of these lines and by having them as stand alone verses. The use of these techniques appeal to the reader intellectually because it clearly emphasises her point that traditional Valentine gifts have become meaningless.
Through the use of the onion as an extended metaphor, Duffy is able to include both the positive and negative aspects of love and relationships. She uses the phrase “it promises light” to describe both the onion and love. The onion and love are being compared: when the outer brown skin of the onion is peeled it reveals the white “light” colour of the onion...