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U A Fanthorpe. Georgie, Paddy & Jade. Context. " Stanton Drew": An ancient stone circle near Bristol, it is considered to have been used by druids for ritualistic purposes, Fanthorpe wants the reader to experience the past by "trying to recreate the ancient landscape and the stone circle“

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U A Fanthorpe

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u a fanthorpe

U A Fanthorpe

Georgie, Paddy & Jade

  • "Stanton Drew": An ancient stone circle near Bristol, it is considered to have been used by druids for ritualistic purposes, Fanthorpe wants the reader to experience the past by "trying to recreate the ancient landscape and the stone circle“
  • "Horticultural show": Persephone goddess of nature and springtime juxtaposed with metaphors of death, story of Persephone and Hades (god of the underworld) and the temptation to eat the fruit, "fine runes" is a reference to the alphabet of the Anglo-Saxons of around 700AD, again historical roots to the poem.
  • "Canal: 1977": perhaps inspired by panama canal treaty of 1977, mainly about deterioration of British canals and their evolution from modes of haulage to things of leisure
stanton drew
Stanton Drew
  • Nostalgia – personification of “the past’s long pulse”, “stripped of its future” implying that the past is all we need? Or making the audience feel bad for ruining the landscape?
  • Ruin – “dismantle”, “stripped”, “unemphatic”, uncertainty caused by humans “archaeologists have rubbed against them”? Questionable because “tree’s must go” (not man-made).
  • Replenish – “Re-create them” implying that we need something in our landscape, it can’t be completely empty, as humans we need something to remember the past by – link to nostalgia.
Form – This poem is written in free verse style with the rhythmic pattern created from the choice of words and sounds. There are a number of ‘st’, ‘l’, and ‘p’ sound throughout the poem as we as the use of alliteration and assonance, all of which help the music of the text.
  • Structure – Poem structured as a single stanza.Reads like prose.No rhyming scheme.
  • Language – The only thing of human making is the stone circle which has ‘tilted into meaning’ an empty earth. Here the poet is examining the relationship between people and landscape and how humans use nature to express their sense of spiritual feeling. They are described as ‘pitted and unemphatic’, giving them a feeling of permanence and the reader is instructed to ‘re-create ’ as they must have looked. Wry humour in the way Fanthorpe lumps together ‘cattle, weather, / archaeologists have rubbed against them’, all contributing to the wearing away of the stones.
  • References to the sun and the moon could be connected to ancient rites which take place in stone circles.
  • Personification in the verbs ‘hold’ and ‘chain’ to suggest the power of the stone circle.
  • Final command to the reader is ‘stand inside the circle. Put / your hand on stone. Listen / to the past’s long pulse.’ (Form– use of enjambment and caesura here emphasises the imperative verbs ‘stand’, ‘put’ and ‘listen’). There are pastoral connotations here in that it gives humans a sense of being at one with the landscape as modern people have lost this feeling.
horticultural show
Horticultural Show

•Greek Mythology - “Persephone's fruits” Zeus' daughter (God of all God's) either a sexual/fertility reference or fruit as a metaphor for death/harvest. “Underyear” Persephone is Queen of the Underworld after being kidnapped but used to be the Greek God for nature.

•Harvest - “onions”, “marrow”, “carrots”, “leeks”, “potatoes”, “beetroots”, “caper”, “coconuts” and back to “fruits” in each stanza. Could be the link to hope and regeneration or the death of the harvest. Represents plentifulness.

•Death - “tomb”, “Holystoned”, “sacrificed”. Personifies the fruit and vegetables as well as representing and implying a Biblical reference through the language. Links the harvest because fruit and vegetables are regenerated like Jesus came back to life.

Form – Most of the poem has a hushed and religious feel whereas the pace of the final 2 stanzas is more rapid, contrasting with the rest. Sense of frantic activity crammed in one stanza. Use of enjambment and caesura is evident throughout.
  • Structure – The poem consists of 10 stanzas, nine of which are tercets and the ninth, the penultimate stanza is a quatrain. 8 out of these 10 stanzas are devoted to vegetables, while the rest of the show is covered in the last 2 stanzas.
  • Language –The ‘fruits’ mentioned by Fanthorpe are mainly those that grow wholly or partly underground, thus their association with Persephone (onions, carrots, potatoes, beetroots, leeks).
  • Furthermore, the word ‘underyear’ is used to signify both the underworld and the winter, which is the part of the year that Persephone is supposed to be in the underworld. Fanthorpe imagined ‘the fruits’ being sent ‘to guide us […] through the slow dream of winter.’ Winter is a time when the earth seems asleep and the short days and long nights make people want to sleep longer.
  • Onions are translucent when skinned which makes the poet’s comparison with lamps appropriate. Rubbing them ‘for strange knowledge’ could be a reference to a magic lamp and a genie; while she once again imagines their ‘light of the tomb’ both as an association with the underworld and the onions’ underground growth.
  • Recurring use of biblical language such as ‘holystone’ and references to ‘sacrifice’, the display of ‘bleeding hearts’; ‘we read the future in these entrails’ could be linked to Jesus.
  • Leeks said to be ‘leaning exhausted in corners’ because their shape makes it impossible for them to stand upright.
  • Final vegetables mentioned are ‘sacrificed beetroots’ which are deep red in colour which could be a reference to blood. The vegetables ‘utter where they have been, where we are going’: a reminder of our mortality as humans, we will die one day… a pastoral acknowledgement that we aren’t immortal.
canal 1977
Canal 1977
  • Nostalgia – through remembrance. Common theme of “remember”. Voice remembers the past and expresses this in a positive manner through language such as “picturesque”. Ends in abrupt death which brings reader back to present day and sadness enhancing the nostalgia.
  • The elements – “water”, “ashes”, “undistinguished” (fire), “grass”, “weather”. The elements enhance the natural scenery putting a positive tone onto the past she remembers, links back to nostalgia.
Form – Use of 1stperson gives an immediacy to the poem as the personal recollections of the writer. Repetition of the sentence ‘I remember this place’ encloses the images of nature regaining her place. Enjambment across stanzas (‘there will be an after to be remembered/ as the pleasurecraft purr their idle way…’) takes the reader immediately into the present where the canal is being used for leisure. It also helps create a conscious contrast between families mentioned in different stanzas.
  • Language– ‘whooping leggers’ and ‘sly lurchers’ is juxtaposed with ‘smooth pink families’ with ‘superior dogs’. Lack of rhyme scheme.
  • Structure – This poem consists of 5 sestets in free verse style and tells the readerFanthorpe’s memories and images of the canal, where past and present, nature and humanity mingle.
  • Language –Deserted buildings along the banks are described as ‘pocky stonework[…] ruining mildly in mottled silence[…] the gutted pub’. The transferred epithet of ‘mottled silence’ evokes the spotted, lichened and pitted walls while appealing also to the sense of hearing, as the silence indicates the lack of life around and along the canal. Trees are ‘conspirational’ as they seem to be close enough to whisper to each other, but there is also an implication of nature’s ‘design’ reflected in their leaves on the ‘uncommitted water’ – almost as if the water itself is remaining neutral in the battle between nature and man.
  • Opening sentence for 2ndstanza ‘and before’ refers back to ‘I remember this place’ and is about the canals before they fell out of use, when barges carried goods along them.