Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

H Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke. H Gillian Clarke Born in Cardiff, 1937 Speaks both English and Welsh Has three children, a girl and two boys Writes.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "H Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke. H Gillian Clarke Born in Cardiff, 1937 Speaks both English and Welsh Has three children, a girl and two boys Writes."— Presentation transcript:

1 H Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke

2 H Gillian Clarke Born in Cardiff, 1937 Speaks both English and Welsh Has three children, a girl and two boys Writes about nature/uses natural imagery Usually writes in her own voice (i.e. doesn’t invent characters for monologues as seen in Song of the Old Mother) You can find more information at

3 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. Cold Knap Lake is a man- made lake in a town in Wales The poem is a vivid memory from the poet’s childhood The poet recalls seeing a child drowning and thought she was dead Her mother gives the child the kiss of life and she comes round again When the child is taken home the child is beaten Finally, the poet questions the veracity of her memory. Was she really there to see the beating? Clarke describes this poem as being “as true as I and my memory can make it” emphasising the ‘cloudy’ nature of memory Cold Knap Lake: given the subject of the poem what are the implications of the word ‘Cold’

4 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. Grabs the reader’s attention with the serious, hopeless situation ‘for’ meaning as if dead gives the reader some hope In this first stanza the reader is made to share the perceptions of the people at the time of the incident Metaphor creates a strong visual image of what the poet remembers. What is the ‘long green silk’? The beautiful image contrasts with the horror of the reality ‘blue-lipped’ is in direct contrast to the mother’s ‘red head’ What are the connotations of red? Where in the poem is this image referred to again?

5 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. Clarke gives a vivid description of her mother as this is the event she remembers the best. It also stresses the importance of her mother both to her and to the girl she saved. May suggest connection to nature or the natural action of a mother bringing life The poet’s view of her mother and possibly the suggests the view of the crowd We are invited to picture her ‘wartime’ frock ‘breath’ refers to life and mirrors the creation of Adam in the Bible. As if in prayer?

6 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. Why are they silent? What might this suggest? Alliteration stresses the way people are often drawn to watching tragic events The third stanza starts positively with the resuscitation of the child. What effect does the word ‘bleating’ have? ‘rosy’ as life returns to her cheeks. Have you ever heard the term ‘everything’s rosy’? In what sense is this meant? Why has the child been ‘thrashed’? What is the effect of the word ‘thrashed’?

7 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. The poet questions her own memories. The short line allows the reader time to dwell on the question. What are the two meanings of ‘troubled surface’? "When you recapture a memory from early childhood, you're sometimes not sure if you were really there, if someone told you about it, or if you read it in a story. I'd read fairy stories and legends about people drowning in mysterious lakes. I'd seen a famous painting of a drowned girl floating in a brook.." How is Clarke’s view of memory reflected in the penultimate stanza? The poem uses half- rhyme until the final rhyming couplet. This gives the poem a ‘fairytale’ feel at the end Pleasant images contrasts with the mud and cloudiness. Why? Alliteration and assonance stress the threatening nature of the swans

8 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. Personified trees maintain this notion of the fairytale. Could this also suggest reaching back through memories into the past? One long, flowing sentence in which the meaning is unclear. Could this lend a dream-like quality to the poem and suggest the unreliable nature of memory?

9 H We once watched a crowd pull a drowned child from the lake. Blue-lipped and dressed in water's long green silk she lay for dead. Then kneeling on the earth, a heroine, her red head bowed, her wartime cotton frock soaked, my mother gave a stranger's child her breath. The crowd stood silent, drawn by the dread of it. The child breathed, bleating and rosy in my mother's hands. My father took her home to a poor house and watched her thrashed for almost drowning. Was I there? Or is that troubled surface something else shadowy under the dipped fingers of willows where satiny mud blooms in cloudiness after the treading, heavy webs of swans as their wings beat and whistle on the air? All lost things lie under closing water in that lake with the poor man's daughter. What are the ‘lost things’? Memories? Child-hood? Why is the water closing? What is suggested by this? In what sense is the daughter still there?

10 H Summary This poem seems to be about the nature of memory, especially of child-hood memories. The speaker's recollection of the event is apparently quite clear at the start of the poem - yet it gradually becomes clear that she is not really sure whether all of it really happened, and the description gradually comes to seem more and more suggestive of a fairy tale or dream.

11 H Comparisons Heaney: Storm on the Island Both poems explore the more dangerous aspects of water Clarke focusing on its power to suck us in and drown us, Heaney on its potential for violent destructiveness during a storm. Clarke's poem uses the lake to symbolise the shifting quality of memory, while Heaney's poem is more purely descriptive. Patroling Barnegat: Whitman Again, both poems deal with the threatening aspects of water; both from the writer's personal experience. And both poems contain a hint of the supernatural - Clarke using fairy story references, Whitman using more religious imagery (savage trinity, demoniac laughter to describe his storm.

12 H Comparisons Sonnet: Clare Both poems contain descriptions of water, but for Clare the water is beautiful and clear with none of the threat or murkiness of Clarke's lake. Is this difference reflected in the differing structures of the poems - the regular form and rhyme scheme of Sonnet expressing Clare's clarity and simplicity, while Clarke's uncertainty comes through in the half-rhymes and loose stanza structure of her poem?

13 H Review 1.How does Gillian Clarke present memory in this poem? 2.What do you think of the motif (thematic image) of water in Cold Knap Lake? 3.How does the poet use images of things that were literally present and metaphors (there are very few) in this poem? 4.In your own words, explain what you think the poet is saying in the last six-line stanza and the rhyming couplet that follows it.


Download ppt "H Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke. H Gillian Clarke Born in Cardiff, 1937 Speaks both English and Welsh Has three children, a girl and two boys Writes."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google