Tag Archives: Poetic Devices

Project 3: Exercise 3 ~ Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

I read the poem Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas a few times before listening to the following readings:

  1. Fern Hill read by Dylan Thomas
  2. Fern Hill read by Richard Burton

I found that reading the poem, even reading it aloud to myself it came across differently when read by different people. Dylan Thomas’s reading of the poem has a lilting melodious quality. At moments during the reading it sounds more like it’s being sung, it reminded me of the sound of chanting or spoken liturgy in catholic churches. However listening to the reading by Richard Burton the poem feels more sombre and dramatic, it takes on a mournful quality.I actually prefer hearing the poem read aloud to reading it and trying to grasp it in my mind.

Notes on the poem:

Annotation of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas p.1

Annotation of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas p.1

Annotation of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas p.2

Annotation of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas p.2











I think the poem is quite wistful, it captures a sense of longing for care-free days, capturing the beauty of rural life and the experience of youth. I think it takes the reader along a journey from the delight of the freedom and carelessness of youth to the sadness of the affect of time or ageing.

The poem is rich with poetic devices, Dylan uses personification so frequently in relation to ‘time’ that it becomes a character within the poem; “time let me hail and climb. Golden in the heyday of his eyes…Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means”. Time becomes this altering force that impedes upon Dylan’s freedom; “Time held me green and dying. Though I sang in my chains like the sea”. The use of frequent assonance and alliteration lends the poem a song like quality, you feel the rise and fall of words like the rising and falling of notes in a tune; “house high hay….simple stars…wander white with…windfall light”.


The use of repetition particularly of the words green and golden add to the theme of time and place. Green being a symbol of youth and fresh life, and golden being a symbol of favour or good times and also the sun, a way that we measure the passing of time; “happy as the grass was green…Golden in the heyday of his eyes….Golden in the mercy of his means…fire green as grass…children green and golden…”. In the final lines that imagery is used as a juxtaposition, “Time held me green and dying”, no longer green and golden, green sat next to the word dying takes on other connotations, I think of mould or decay, and reinforces that idea of the passing of time or ageing.

The poem explores place guiding the reader on a journey through rural life, we ride along with the poet as he “rode to sleep the owls…bearing the night away”. We have this picture of rural life “apple boughs…green grace…the farm was home…”, rural practices/farming, “I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves sang to my horn….the hay fields high as the house”. The inclusion of animals associated with the countryside completes this picture of idyllic rural life; “the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold…the owls were bearing the night away…blessed among the stables the nightjars…lamb white days”.

There is also some religious imagery which seems oddly placed, “And the Sabbath rang slowly, In the pebbles of the holy streams…fields of praise”. But most oddly I find some imagery relating to birth or pregnancy, “it was Adam and maiden, The sky gathered again. And the sun grew round that very day. So it must have been after the birth of the simple light…”. I wonder if the imagery of birth or pregnancy is to enhance the idea of youth, and also to remind us of the inevitability of death.

The ‘speaker’ of the poem seems important, the poem is based around the speakers experience and feelings it seems at the passing of time and of his youth. His views are generally clear and if not plain they are inferred heavily through the use of the poetic devices already mentioned.

Project 3: Exercise 2 – Poetic Devices

I’m waiting for a guide to Post-Modernism to arrive in the post, so currently I don’t feel massively confident about distinguishing different era’s or styles of Poetry. However I’ve done a little research into more contemporary poetry.

I came across Popshot Magazine which combines Poems, Short-Stories & Flash Fiction with Illustration. I thought this was a good place to find some poems to  check their use of poetic devices. I also took a look at the Poetry Foundation website and a chose a poem based on the subject of ‘Autumn’ to find examples of poetic devices.

Popshot Magazine: The Illustrated Magazine of New Writing

Analysis of Poems:

Analysis of Autumn by Joan Mitchell

Analysis of Autumn by Joan Mitchell


Blue Eggshell Moment by J.S.Watts. Illustration by Karolina Burdon, p61. Issue 14 A/W 2015 Popshot Magazine.

Blue Eggshell Moment by J.S.Watts. Illustration by Karolina Burdon, p61. Issue 14 A/W 2015 Popshot Magazine.

analyising poetic devices








I have one book poetry which is a collection of William Blake’s poems. I wanted to look into one of his poems as an example of poetry from a different era, the 1800’s but also of a different feel.

'Song' by William Blake, published by Everyman Paperbacks, 1996.

‘Song’ by William Blake, published by Everyman Paperbacks, 1996.










Analysis of an extract from a novel:

p.49 extract from Tender Is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald, reprinted by Penguin Classics, 2000.

p.49 extract from Tender Is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald, reprinted by Penguin Classics, 2000.










In the extract taken from F.Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night , he makes use of personification to add to the emotion or drama of the incidents that happen to the characters. It aids the imagery and reinforces the perspective of the lead character Rosemary.

Spoken Poetry:

Sarah Kay: Ted Talk

Sarah Kay is a poet, or spoken word poet, and teacher from New York. During the Ted talk above she discusses how she approaches teaching poetry, in particular spoken poetry, which involves performance. I think it’s interesting to see the rise in this form of  creative expression, I always found it easier to engage with a story if it were read aloud or visualised in some form.

She also mentioned a technique she used to help people write their own poem’s, she asks them to list 3 – 10 things they know to be true and then explore one of those as a subject area.

Sarah Kay performance poetry:

Here’s a duet piece with Sarah Kay and Peter Kay: Love & Another on Friendship

Listening to their performances I could pick out fairly consistent use of Rhyming couplets, Metaphors, Repetition of phrases or single words, assonance.

Mostly I just enjoy their subject matter, it’s refreshing to hear poetry that isn’t self absorbed or exploring the darkest parts of life, repeatedly.

Using Sarah Kay’s Method – 10 Things I know to be True

  1. Life is better lived in community
  2. Joy is not the same as happiness
  3. Crisps are my favourite snack food
  4. Love has to be maintained
  5. You cannot change the past
  6. My granny is the cheekiest old lady I’ve ever known
  7. Doing the food shop whilst hungry is always a bad idea
  8. Having your heart broken hurts at whatever age it happens
  9. Creativity is healing
  10. It is possible to change.

Kate Tempest:

I first came across Kate Tempest during an episode of Artsnight, which was looking into poetry, particularly how contemporary poetry was breaking the stereotype of poetry being ‘high cultured’ or of a certain class.

Video: Bad Place for a Good Time

For my own personal interest it’s also interesting to see someone exploring Spoken word poetry from a Christian or Discipleship perspective. Using poetry to explore religion is nothing new, I certainly remember reading William Blake poems at A-Level. But I find that this format feels fresher, there’s something different in hearing and seeing the poem play out.

So this is David Bowden performing the poem/piece ‘Chew’

Considering it’s form as a piece is interesting; it is poetry and yet there’s a story told in the visuals alongside it; in this case someone preparing a meal, which reinforces the message which has been spoken. I wonder do we live in a generation which cannot just hear something and understand it, do we always need visuals to connect to the meaning of a piece?

That’s not a criticism of the piece of the visual, I think both tie together more a question or statement about creative expression today.

Writing my own poem’s using Poetic Devices & Sarah Kay’s method:

Granny is the cheekiest old lady I’ve ever known

When my granny was three,

Or so she tells me,

She used to steal vegetables from her father’s garden


When she was sixteen,

She was living the dream.

Being paid to sell bananas,

From a green grocers shop.


At the age of three,

I sat on her knee,

And laughed whilst she farted repeatedly.


When I was sixteen,

I took her out to the zoo,

She got confused and used the men’s loos.


At twenty-one,

I introduced her to someone,

My husband to – be,

To him she took a fancy,

As it came to goodbye,

With a glint in her eye,

She kissed him on the lips and not the cheek!


And that is why,

My granny is the cheekiest old lady I have ever known.


I think I managed to use rhyme, repetition and some consonance, but not much else, so I tried to write another poem using more of the devices…

Joy is not the same as Happiness

Happiness has haste in its DNA,

It waits for no one,

It wants what it wants, now!

Her favourite phrase is ‘me, me, me’.


Joy is different entirely,

She waits out the storm patiently,

Not driven by emotions or circumstances,

She lends her ways to others.


Happiness is hungry even whilst eating a feast,

Joy can withstand the harshest famine,

They have as much in common as night and day.


I think I managed to use; alliteration, assonance, personification, repetition, rhyme, simile. I’m not perfect a poetry so I think that I’ve done well to at least try and make use of the poetic devices for this exercise.