Poetry Comparison

Topics: Poetry, Death, Fiction Pages: 3 (853 words) Published: June 8, 2013

A poem is an expression of emotion or ideas through literary work, often with a distinctive style and rhythm. Kenneth Slessor’s ‘Beach Burial’ and Bruce Dawe’s ‘Elegy for Drowned Children’ both present ideas on how individuals lament for the passed, through the major theme of death. Beach Burial follows the recurring events of the battle of El Alamein in WW2, whilst The Elegy for Drowned Children questions the fate of those unfortunate souls who have drowned. Although both poems incorporate drownin, they contrast in their interpretation of death and the ‘afterlife’. This idea of death is explored through the use of setting, language techniques and symbolism. The poet’s use these devices to emotionally connect with the reader, and each contribute to the specific meanings they are attempting to convey.

The setting of a poem can range from physical, real-world place, to an allegorical more figurative setting. Not only does setting refer to a specific place, but also a timeframe, which can also be significantly non-sequential or non-existent. Slessor’s ‘Beach Burial’ is based around a distinguished event and a set timeframe, being the 1942 Battle of El Alamein in World War 2. The death and burial of the drowned soldiers, which form the main content of the poem, are likely be fictional, but still based on a historical event. Physical settings, as illustrated in ‘Beach Burial’, aid in creating a particular mood for the poem- loss and sorrow. The reader is likely to subconsciously link a war-ridden battlefield location with death- the main theme the poet is attempting to explore. Contrarily, Dawe’s ‘Elegy for Drowned children’ has a more symbolic setting, encompassing, but not referring to, a range of different events. Instead, Dawe covers the ongoing, recurring issue of the drowning of children by creating a fictional ‘kingdom’, which he implies is where children remain after passing in the water. Through this, he can explore...
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