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The River’s Story by Brian Patten 1. As we study this poem you will learn: The story of the poem More about the terms, Metaphor: Personification: Tone.

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Presentation on theme: "The River’s Story by Brian Patten 1. As we study this poem you will learn: The story of the poem More about the terms, Metaphor: Personification: Tone."— Presentation transcript:

1 The River’s Story by Brian Patten 1

2 As we study this poem you will learn: The story of the poem More about the terms, Metaphor: Personification: Tone & Imagery. You will also complete some mini tasks an assignment and a test on the poem. 2 Learning Objectives

3 The River’s Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains, I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars

4 The River’s Story ~ Brian Patten Mini Task 1 In look at the poem again and decide : a)What type of poem this is. b)What you think its Key Feature is. c)What the poet is trying to say. d)What poetic technique is being used in line 1

5 The River’s Story ~ Brian Patten a)This is a narrative poem because it tells us this is the “River’s Story”. b)The poem relies on personification as a device to tell the story. c)But the ‘story’ is not literal, it is an extended metaphor which describes the destruction of the environment/planet because of pollution.

6 The River’s Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. A river has no memory so the whole poem then becomes an exercise in personification. As ‘life’ was good some time in the past it implies that ‘life’ is not good now. But a river is not a living entity so cannot have a memory or feelings, so the poet is saying that the condition of the river is not as good now as it once was. Because the ‘remembrance’ of the past was ‘good’ but life is not now, the tone of the opening line is sombre. Tumbled down mountains, I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending.

7 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Mini Task 2 a)What is the mood in these three lines? b)What are the key words that help create the mood? I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending.

8 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Mini Task 2 a)What is the mood in these three lines? Happy & childish. b)What are the key words that help create the mood? shilly-shallied: Tumbled : laughed and gurgled I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending.

9 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, ‘shilly-shallied’ is alliteration’ and has a childish bouncy rhythm which lightens the tone of the opening line. Tumbling down mountains, laughing and gurgling are also all childish, happy activities that help maintain the light and happy tone. There is also some imagery here as you can imagine the river flowing over rocks as it goes down a mountainside. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending.

10 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. Stretching and yawning indicate relaxation and help maintain the tone established in Line 2. ‘Insects, weightless as’ is a simile. With this line we also get the first clear use of imagery as you can imagine insects landing on the surface of the river ~ its ‘skin’ ~ more personification. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Note the chime on ‘woods’ and ‘floods’.

11 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Mini Task 3 Describe the imagery used in these lines.

12 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Mini Task 3 Describe the imagery used in these lines. ‘lily-pads like medals’ is another simile and moves us from the image of round lily pads floating on the river, to war. Medals are awarded for bravery and this idea leads on to…. …..the ‘battle scarred’ fish, perhaps salmon, who have fought their way upstream to their breeding grounds. The gossiping fish is another example of personification and gossiping is a lively, friendly, happy activity. It relies on imagery and creates a picture of fish swimming around each other in the river as if they were communicating, even gossiping.

13 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Again this is imagery as the poet describes the random movement of dozens of insects like an aerial ballet. But this moves us on to another idea; only cultured, organized civilizations have arts such as ballet and the notion of the development of civilization is a theme that Brian Pattern wishes to explore in more detail later in the poem. In this line then, the River’s ‘civilization’ would seem to be cultured and peaceful, but....

14 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending.....Civilizations at peace don’t need secret agents. Those on the verge or war do. So there is the beginning of a change in tone in these lines. The childish happiness described above has gone and who is the river at war with..... Fish dying in rivers is a sure sign of pollution and in this way the fish are the River's ambassadors telling humanity they are destroying the environment with their pollution. Note the Kingfisher colour imagery.

15 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Mini Task 4 Write down : A.How has the mood changed in these lines ? B.What are the key words the poet uses to change the mood?

16 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Mini Task 4 Write down : A.How has the mood changed in these lines ? Become sad, somber, even angry by the end. B.What are the key words the poet uses to change the mood? gone-time : factories grew : greedy.

17 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, A time before factories grew, Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. A real change in mood on this line from the happy light tone at the start of the poem to one that is more somber and sorrowful. There is also an awful finality at the end of the line with ‘a gone time’. Perhaps the question the poet is asking here is have the ‘good’ times gone forever or can the clock be turned back? Now we start to get to the point of the poem; it is the ‘factories’ and encroachment of man that has destroyed the River’s gurgling joy. ‘Brick by greedy brick’ is in itself a metaphor for mankind’s greed; a greed that places financial gain above environmental damage.

18 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Mini Task 5 Select one Key Word from each of these lines.

19 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Mini Task 5 Select one Key Word from each of these lines. Cowering : monstrous : giants : poisons

20 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. All the confidence and joy has now gone from the River, it is a broken spirit, left ‘cowering’ in the ‘monstrous shadows’ of the buildings that now surround it. Again, very graphic imagery here as you can almost see the huge factories towering over the River. More personification and another simile ‘Like drunken giants,’ and then another graphic metaphor ‘They vomited their poisons into me.’ A reference to the way that factory effluent, often untreated, was discharged into rivers.

21 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten I remember when life was good. I shilly-shallied across meadows, Tumbled down mountains I laughed and gurgled through woods, Stretched and yawned in a myriad of floods. Insects, weightless as sunbeams, Settled upon my skin to drink. I wore lily-pads like medals. Fish, lazy and battle scarred, Gossiped beneath them. The damselflies were my ballerinas, The pike my ambassadors. Kingfishers, disguised as rainbows, Were my secret agents. It was a sweet time, a gone-time, A time before factories grew Brick by greedy brick, And left me cowering, In monstrous shadows. Like drunken giants, They vomited their poisons into me. Tonight a scattering of vagrant bluebells, Dwarfed by those same poisons, Toll my ending. Bluebells are a wild flower that appear in woodlands in spring. They do not grow in urban areas so have survived man’s ‘poisons’. But then they turn into a tolling death knell ~ the River’s end! The combination of the bells from ‘Bluebells and ‘Toll’ is an allusion, a reference to John Done’s poem. For Whom The Bell Tolls.

22 John Done ~ For Whom The Bell Tolls No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manner of thine own Or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. 22

23 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten Mini Task 6 a)Describe the imagery used in these lines b)What are the key words that create these images? I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk.

24 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten Mini Task 6 a)Describe the imagery used in these lines Children finding a polluted and clogged ‘river’ at the back of the run- down and derelict housing estate in which they live. b)What are the key words that create these images? Children : derelict : remnants : Clogged : garbage : junk : sewer : shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk.

25 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten The River now calls to Mankind's children, a symbol of hope for the future as they may be able to change Mankind’s ways ~ but only if ‘they wish’. Another metaphor, but one that gives a stark warning ~ the children will inherit a poisoned world if they do not ‘wish’ to do something about it. Some very clear imagery here as the river is now just a ’remnant’ of the majestic watercourse it once was. It is now a relic, remainder, left over residue of that joyful spring at the start of the poem. And more, the river is now treated like some sort of scrap yard or worse, a ‘sewer’. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. Note the rhyme on ‘junk’ and ‘shrunk’. This adds ‘punch’ to the end of a stanza that has called upon the children of the world to save the River and their future.

26 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten The metaphorical journey of the River is a journey through time as well as geographically from mountain to sea. The middle of this stanza uses imagery to show how the impact of mankind has grown over time. Note the use of repetition here to reinforce the notion of a growing humanity. Another reference to the ‘remnant’ the River had become in the previous stanza and it is now a mere ‘trickle of filth’. Again this is a strong and graphic image. Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth,

27 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten An interesting and enigmatic final line. Perhaps this is a final warning, the stars endure forever, Mankind might not! Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars

28 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten Mini Task 7 Write down what you think the last line means. Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars

29 The River’ Story ~ Brian Patten Mini Task 7 Write down what you think the last line means. It is a warning to mankind. The stars endure forever. Mankind might not, unless mankind changes the way it treats the planet. Children, come and find me if you wish, I am your inheritance. Behind the derelict housing-estates, You will discover my remnants. Clogged with garbage and junk, To an open sewer I’ve shrunk. I, who have flowed through history, Who have seen hamlets become villages, Villages become towns, towns become cities, Am reduced to a trickle of filth, Beneath the still, burning stars

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31 Assignment What elements in The River’s Story make it a poem with a very effective environmental message words by Wed 12 Dec 31


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