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On my First Sonne. The Man He Killed. About a father who mourns the death of his son. He believes he has loved his son more than God and God has taken him back. The poet believes that his son always belonged to God and he has now paid his debt through his death.

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On my first sonne

On my First Sonne

The Man He Killed

About a father who mourns the death of his son. He believes he has loved his son more than God and God has taken him back.

The poet believes that his son always belonged to God and he has now paid his debt through his death.

A soldier speaks about a man he killed in battle and how he believes he was just like him. He empathises with his victim and implies we would have done just the same, in battle.

In civilian life, he believes they would have been friends.

Relationships, Death, Love.

Death, Conscience, Violence.

Factual Language ‘ I shot at him’ unemotional act of war . Detached air implies he’s bitter about the event.

Metaphor – debt & money – repaid to God by son dying. ‘just day’ ‘lent’ ‘pay’

Poem is spoken & informal to imply a confession, or give conversational tone to the poem.

Pride & Affection – ‘and joy’ ‘too much hope’ ‘best piece of poetrie’

Informal Vocabvs Description of war implies internal conflict in a soldier’s mind when killing/murdering.

Wants to stop feelings: ‘Oh could I loose... Now’ If he stops feeling like a father he will stop the grief/pain to give a conversational tone

Regular rhyme/structure: reflects the constant death and waste of life. Also makes it seem ‘sing songy’ like soldiers whistle/sing when going into battle.

Death can be a blessing – ‘scap’d the worlds, ... miserie yet age – don’t have to suffer pain of old age.

Matches: Salome/Hitcher/Laboratory/

Matches: Before You/My father/Mother any distance

On my first sonne

The Laboratory

Song of the Old Mother

A woman goes to a drug shop to purchase a poison to kill several of her lover’s mistresses. She wants the drug to be beautiful and becomes highly excited at the thought of what it can do.

An old woman describes the chores she has to do. She thinks the younger generation are lazy and have an easy life.

Murder, revenge, passion.

Bitterness, Generations.

Punctuation: ‘!’ creates erotic effect, mimicking her pleasure & lover’s actions. ‘,’ creates long lingering read, as she wants to delight in each moment of murder.

Regular rhythm stresses repetitiveness and unending nature of her physical work.

‘Now’... Creates sense of immediacy about speaker’s intentions.

Rhyming couplets are traditional, reflecting simplicity of her life but also creates a rigid and inflexible structure, as her life was limited in terms of experience.

V3: ‘grind’ ‘moisten’ ‘mash’: emphasise her violent thoughts.

‘brave tree’ personification of gum tree implies the tree is a sacrifice for a noble cause, justifying her actions.

Alliteration ‘lie long’ creates lazy sound to reflect her opinion of the lazy generation.

‘brush this duct off me’: metaphor for lack of attention from her husband.

‘matching of ribbons...’ youth are only concerned with their appearance.

‘delicate droplet’: makes the poison seem fragile, paradox against the destruction of life is causes.

Metaphor ‘seed of the fire’: her fire is dying out as she ages.

Matches: ‘My father thought it.../Mother any distance

Matches: Havisham / Salome / Kid / Last Duchess

On my first sonne

Sonnet 130

My Last Duchess

A Duke talks about a portrait of his deceased wife. She smiled & laughed a lot which irritated him. He was suspicious of her behaviour and implies at one point that she was murdered by him. He doesn’t seem that bothered though.

Shakespeare describes many imperfections of his lover but then informs us he loves her despite this. It is a parody of love poems which describe perfectly beautiful women.

Jealousy, Power, Relationships .

Love & relationships

Metaphor: ‘the curtain... (10) only he knew what she was really like. He can control who can see her unlike when she was alive.

Metaphysical Poem – images of Nature used

‘I never saw...’ criticises traditional poems for unrealistic compliments & worshipping of women

‘her looks went everywhere’: appears jealous of her friendships and behaviour with other men.

Structure – perfect sonnet form = reinforces idea of true & honest love

‘Nine hundred years old name’: implies she has no respect for his heritage & family name.

Ironically spends much of poem criticising her and saying how ordinary she is, but at the end describes her beauty and presence as ‘rare’.

‘all smiles stopped together’ poet implies he has killed her. Caesura represents her death.

Reg. Rhythm = “sing songy”: hides the sinister murder

Matches: Before You.../Mother Any Dist.../ Anne H

Matches: Havisham/Salome/Kid

On my first sonne


Elvis’ Twin Sister

The speaker wakes after a one night stand and tells us she needs to stop drinking and being reckless. She has the head of her last man in bed with her and seems proud of her actions. A modern take on the biblical story of Salome & John the Baptist.

Poet imagines Elvis has a twin sister living as a nun. She is happier than her brother, as a simple life brings greater joy than wealth & fame.

Faith , humour, religion

Murder, revenge, passion.

Colloquial Language implies lack of care & blasé attitude to killing ‘ain’t life a bitch’

Links Rock & Roll to religion = sacrilege, Was deemed to be the ‘Devil’s Music’ & overly sexual, corrupting those who listened to it.

Rhyme in poem creates speed emphasising her excitement & maniacal behaviour.

‘tend gardens’ – Happy simple life is more fulfilling than Elvis’.

‘blighter, beater, biter’ – implies possible revenge on men who have abused women. Aggressive alliteration.

‘immortal soul’ – Her faith makes her immortal, his music makes him immortal.

‘Peter, Simon, Andrew, John’, uses names of disciples to imply she has a following. Paints her as a siren like figure.

Ref to Elvis: Blue Suede Shoes / Heartbreak Hotel

Gregorian Chant – contrasts with music of Elvis

Matches: Kid, Laboratory, Hitcher, Havisham.

Matches: Kid, Hitcher Sonnet 130 Song Of...

On my first sonne



A character remembers the act of stealing a snowman. He describes many of his thefts which he committed when he was bored. Shows no empathy towards his victims and has violent and destructive tendencies.

Based on Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Jilted on her wedding day, she relives the same day, going mad with love. Bitter and twisted, she dreams of taking vengeance on a man, any man.

Death, Conscience, Violence.

Murder, revenge, passion, death.

Confessional tone – opens with answer to question posed at poetic voice.

‘Beloved.. Bastard / b-b-b’ Alliteration creates aggressive, angry tone

Alliteration of ‘m’ – passionate about the snowman

‘Dark green pebbles for eyes’ Metaphor for envy & cold, lifeless woman

.’slice of ice’ (assonance) & ‘ghost’ – implies thief is emotionally cold & void

‘cawing Noooooo’ = animalistic, lost ‘human’ self, becomes a scavenger

‘weighed a ton’ – boasts about his achievements in stealing.

‘its mouth in its ear’ – male becomes object, easier to hate

‘Booted him...’ Violent – self destructive?

Matches: Kid/Hitcher/November/Laboratory/ Song of Old Mother

Matches: Hitcher/Kid/Laboratory/Man he killed

On my first sonne


My father thought it

Unnamed speaker takes John’s grandmother to a nursing home to live. They know she won’t come out again & describe their repulsion towards old age and decide that as death is inevitable, they should enjoy the positives of life.

Poet describes how as a teenager, he got his ear pierced and his dad was unimpressed and said he was stupid. Now, as an adult, he hears himself saying the same things as his father did and seems to agree with his father.

Parent/Child, Relationships, Humour

Death, Life, Decay

‘badly parked car’ = metaphor for distress near death

‘mop of hair’ = scruffy & rebellious teenage look

‘Parcel her’ = wrapping up her life / burial shroud

‘nerve’ – pun, painful experience / lack of courage

‘slack breasts, stunned brains = s/b alliteration makes words seem harsh & brutal

‘sore.. Wound...wept’ = hyperbole – inflicting unnecessary pain on himself?

‘November... Twilight... Dusk’ – symbolic of end of life

Structure = imperfect sonnet = twisted love / relationship with father. Hates him as a child but then speaks like him as an adult.

‘monsters’ – appalled & terrified at old age

Matches: Havisham/Song of Old Mother

Matches: Before you.../On my 1stSonne/Sonnet 130

On my first sonne



Poet uses Robin & Batman to stand for a young person deserted by the adult who brought them up. Now “Robin” is taking revenge showing that “Batman” was far from a superhero and wants him to feel as lonely as he did.

Persona in poem is under the treat of being sacked and gets a hire car to picks up a hitch-hiker who he kills violently. He dumps him out of the moving car and leaves him for dead.

Parent/Child, bitterness, anger, relationships

Death, Conscience, Violence.

‘Batman bigshot’ - sarcasm, angry tone, resentful

‘sun from west to east’ - Romantic ideal, life of Beatnik poets (Link with Ref to Bob Dylan song)

Stressed/unstressed ‘wander/yonder’ gives forceful determined tone to poem.

‘let him have it’ - sudden & brutal violence

‘wild blue yonder’ - life is vast & terrifying with no guidance / positive role model.

‘didn’t even swerve’ – reflects detachment from crime. Seems cold & calculating, almost boasting.

‘Holy Robin redbreast / caper’ – play on Batman/Robin allegory

‘leant across to let him out’ – appears considerate & contrasts with ironic behaviour – emphasises lack of conscience / guilt of murder

‘Blown the cover / caper’ – implies Batman is villain

Matches: My father/Before/Mother/On My 1stSonne

Matches: Stealing/Salome/Man he Killed/Laboratory/Last Duchess

On my first sonne

Ann Hathaway

Before you were mine

Poet talks bout her mother before her birth. She imagines the fun filled carefree life her mother had before she had her child. This was lost when she was a young mother and the poet realises that this person now only exists in the past.

Shakespeare’s wife speak to us about the second best bed he left in the will. She explains this is the best gift as it was were all their love and sensuality occurred and holds many cherished memories of her husband.

Love, grief, relationships

Parent/Child, relationships. time

‘castles, cliff tops’ – fairy tale metaphor. Life with him = fantasy world.

‘shriek at the pavement’ – image of vicarious youth

‘shooting stars’ – rare & magical event, magical love

‘Marilyn’ – iconic female, like her mother.

‘verb... noun... assonance’- admiration of his skill. ‘assonance’ – implies memories of him an echo in her mind, or they are echoed in his writing.

‘fizzy movie tomorrows’ – dreamed of glamorous life – motherhood was far from reality

‘loud possessive yell’ – implies poetic voice was a demanding baby

‘dribbling their prose’ – compares others’ love as inferior.

‘stamping stars.. Pavement’ – Dreams were squashed when she became a mother

Sonnet but no reg rhyme – symbolises loss & grief

Matches:Kid/Mother Any.../Sonnet 130/My Last Duchess

Matches: Homecoming/Mother Any.../My father thought.../On my 1stSonne/Song...Mother

On my first sonne


Mother Any Distance

Poet moves out of his mum’s house but still needs her help to measure for curtains etc. This need becomes a metaphor for how he will always need his mother’s support and he can always turn to her for help as well as being an independent adult.

About memories of childhood and trust. A yellow jacket is used as a metaphor for people changing over time and are not always what you thought they were, because their behaviour changes.

Trust, Time, Parent/Child

Parent/Child, Growing up

‘free fall blind’ – implies lack of control when growing up

‘Acres. Prairies’ – Hyperbole, daunting life as an adult

‘model of a model of a mother’ - sarcastic tone, could be perfect but is far from it in reality

‘Anchor. Kite’ – metaphor. Child is free to fly but mother keeps him grounded.

‘something has to give’ moving on is inevitable.

‘Red, blue murder. Bed’ – aggressive tone, emphasised by internal rhyme. Colours evocative of bruises.

‘Last 100th’ – mother remains in life even if only small amount

‘In silhouette a father figure...’ sinister & mysterious, ‘set things straight’ implies violence

Rhyme @ start but fades – like mother – becomes distant in adulthood but still there.

Matches:Before You.../Anne Hathaway

Matches: Before You/Song... Old Mother/Sonnet 130