AS AND A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE Specimen Assessment Materials 80
Owen Sheers: Skirrid Hill (Seren)
10. Re-read ‘Winter Swans’ on page 7. Explore how Sheers presents the
relationship between the couple in this poem. 
AO1 Informed responses will demonstrate clear understanding of the poem. We
will reward creatively engaged responses for thoughtful and individual rather
than mechanical/literal approaches. Understanding and application of
concepts will be seen in the candidate's awareness of the conventions of
poetry writing. Accuracy and coherence will be seen in the way
understanding is used as well as in the candidate's ability to organise the
response in an appropriate academic style and register. Further credit will
be given for appropriate use of terminology. Band 1 responses are likely to
describe the relationship between the couple with broad and probably
asserted ideas. Band 2 will be more engaged and organised and will show
some grasp of concepts relating to the relationship. Band 3 responses will
show a more consistently relevant focus with clearly expressed ideas. At
Bands 4 and 5 there will be evidence of secure understanding of relevant
concepts combined with increasingly perceptive and fluent discussion.
AO2 Some features which candidates might choose for analysis include:
effect of long opening sentence with emphasis finally falling on 'stopped
contrast of 'silent and apart' and 'tipping in unison'
energy and force of the swans in verbs such as 'rolling', 'righting'
use of rain and water to suggest alienation of couple but togetherness of
swans e.g. 'righting in rough weather'
in terms of structure, the contrast of the two long sentences, at start and
ending, atmosphere brightens, in 'stilling water' and 'afternoon light'
use of swan imagery to bring couple together, in 'swim', 'folded' and
simile of the 'wings'
ambiguity of 'flight', landing but also running away, now over.
Band 1 responses are...