Love Poems – Marc McIntyre
Montague and Heaney both come from very similar backgrounds; both write about rural Ireland and write from the same era. They are two of the most famous Irish poets and their experiences in Ireland produce very down to earth poems. I am comparing two love poems which both take a different view on love, these being ‘all legendary obstacles’ by john Montague and ‘the skunk’ by Seamus Heaney.
In ‘the skunk’, a theme that has been developed is memory. This theme is shown through the use of ‘it all came back to me last night. The speaker, who we interpret to most likely be Heaney himself, recollects memories of his wife who is on the other side of the world. Heaney develops the idea of the speaker missing his wife and seeing parts of her beauty everywhere in California. He talks about ‘small oranges loomed in the orange tree’ but least likely, he spots his wife in the form of a skunk. A ‘glamorous’ skunk. The poem takes to other themes also. The reader feels amused by Heaney comparison of his wife to a skunk. It seems an unlikely comparison. The juxtaposition of Heaney wife to a street roaming skunk is full of wonder. In contrast, Montague’s love poem ‘all legendary obstacles’ presents the theme of ‘love overcomes all’ the poem points out reasons of why the pair should not be together, such as the legendary obstacles that lay between. Montague rhymes off problems the speaker and his lover are facing. A long imaginary plain, a ruck of mountains and a flood lay between him. But still we see by the end, these ‘legendary obstacles’ were abolished, and love prevailed.
Heaney creates no rhyming pattern in this poem. He incorporates a lyrical feel to the poem. It flows in a conversational manner as the use of enjambment lets the poem flow at a quick pace. The use of imagery through ‘s’ sounds in the first and last stanzas bring the poem together and allow for a more structured poem. The use of six four line stanzas also make the poem more...