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English lit- poems > Lament > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lament Deck (21):

Recall the first stanza:

(For the green turtle)

For the green turtle with her pulsing burden,
in search of the breeding ground.
For her eggs laid in their nest of sickness.


Recall the second stanza:

(For the cormorant)

For the cormorant in his funeral silk,
the veil of iridescence on the sand,
the shadow on the sea.


Recall the third stanza:

(For the ocean’s lap)

For the ocean’s lap with its mortal stain.
For Ahmed at the closed border.
For the soldier with his uniform of fire.


Recall the fourth stanza:

(For the gunsmith)

For the gunsmith and the armourer,
the boy fusilier who joined for the company,
the farmer’s sons, in it for the music.


Recall the fifth stanza:

(For the hook-beaked turtles)

For the hook-beaked turtles,
the dugong and the dolphin,
the whale struck dumb by the missile’s thunder.


Recall the sixth stanza:

(For the tern, the gull)

For the tern, the gull and the restless wader,
the long migrations and the slow dying,
the veiled sun and the stink of anger.


Recall the seventh stanza:

(For the burnt earth )

For the burnt earth and the sun put out,
the scalded ocean and the blazing well.
For vengeance, and the ashes of language.


What does the title mean?

Passionate expression of grief/sorrow


What does 'pulsing burden' in the first stanza suggest about the turtle?

Eggs – desperate to lay her eggs – the damage has caused her normal ‘breeding’ ground to be damaged.


What does 'nest of sickness' in the first stanza connote?

It is a metaphor since a nest is supposed to protect the turtle's egg. But here the turtles are suffering as a result of the war.


What does 'funeral silk' in the second stanza mean?

The sea birds at covered in oil. Imagery as it refers to death.


What does 'veil of iridescence' in the second stanza mean?

It shows how the oil has spread over the land and sea. Ironic as while the colours seem attractive it's destroying life


What does 'mortal stain' in the third stanza mean?

It means that the oil will always have an imprint in the ocean.


What does 'soldier with his uniform of fire' in the third stanza mean?

Tank bombed – metaphor. Uniform of fire suggests the uniform of war/military action itself is destructive


What does 'the boy fusilier who joined for the company,
the farmer’s sons, in it for the music.' in the fourth stanza mean?

‘boy’ ‘sons’ – represent innocence. ‘company’ ‘music’ positive BUT it’s a naivety. Shows their naivety and gullibility. War spoils the innocence of children.
The 'famer's sons' have joined the war for the excitement since they have lived a simple life.


What does 'long migrations and the slow dying' in the sixth stanza mean?

After their long journeys they will die – futile life. ‘long’ and ‘slow’ drawn out vowel sounds to make them seem longer.


What does the 'veiled sun' in the sixth stanza represent?

The smoke of the burning oil has casted a shadow over the sun.
Darkening of life – metaphorically. Covers the hope.


What does 'stink of anger' in the sixth stanza mean?

Senses – harsh verb to metaphorically describe the potency of anger (strong/a lot of it).


What does the last stanza mean?

For the burnt earth

Lots of references to destruction of fire. Contrasts the rest of the poem which makes reference to the sea and creatures of the sea. It demonstrates the aggressive and destructive nature of war contrasted to the beauty and innocence of nature and youth.

The ‘tribute’ here is sarcastic (tone) – the ‘ashes of language’ makes reference to death of truth during war.


What is the poem about?

Gulf War (1991) – Iraq invaded Kuwait so USA&UK bombed Iraq. About war in the Middle East and how every aspect of life is damaged through war.


What is the structure of the poem?

Like an elegy – poem of lament for the dead – sometimes spoken at funerals.
List-like – all the lamented things
No rhyme scheme – suggests futility of war