Owen Sheers Border Country Essay

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WHAT DO YOU PERCEIVE TO BE THE MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS AND PRE-OCCUPATIONS OF SHEERS' WRITING? I have chosen to write about Sheers' poem Border Country which is a poem which explores the concept of childhood and the responsibility that comes with adulthood. The poem is about someone returning to a scrap yard reminiscing about the days when he used to play amongst the scrapped cars as a child. The 'border' in the title is a border between innocence and experience, implying how the persona in the poem who played in the scrap yard as a child knew nothing about responsibility and the harsh realities of life and death. At that point death is just a childish game 'playing a war in the barn/ dying again and again'. Whereas adulthood comes suddenly as 'Your father found at dawn/ a poppy sown in the unripe corn' and the reality of mortality strikes. The scrapyard is firstly descibed using childish images: the metaphor 'elephant's graveyard of cars' is a romantic picture of the scene from a child's pespective because when elephants are about to die, they seek their own place of solitude and confinement where they can die alone without being disturbed; Sheers gives a sense that the cars have gone to this quiet place of their own accord; something a child may believe. The tension of this poem is achieved through images associated with death and war: in the first stanza the 'car quarry' is described as 'the hummock of a grave/ a headstone of trees/ wind written epitaphs', possibly linked to the death of his childhood innocence. Sheers also describes his friend's father's death as 'a poppy sown in the unripe corn', this is a semantic link between poppies and the First World War. This links to the manufacturers' badges on the scrapped cars cars being described as 'the names of the dead' as though they are fallen soldiers. This gives a sense of the tension between man and

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