Last updated: July 13, 2019
Topic: ArtMusic
Sample donated:

How do the poems ‘Piano’
and ‘War Photographer’ present memories?


Memories is
important to Lawrence’s ‘Piano’ and Duffy’s ‘War Photographer’. Lawrence
presents memories as negative, sad, delightful and treacherous. However, Duffy
portrays memories as chaotic, guilt, painful and emotional. Both poets use
different language and structure to present their memories.

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Lawrence uses powerful
words throughout the poem ‘Piano’ which create vivid and delightful imagery of
his memories. By using the word ‘vista’ he portrays the images of the reader’s
own childhood in front of his eyes so that the reader experiences the same
thing that he experienced. We see more imagery of memories when he says
‘take me back down’ into the memories of his childhood. The words ‘back down’
creates imagery that growing up is similar to climbing a mountain and that the
top of the mountain is him as an adult and the bottom is him as a child. This indicates
that he wants to remember himself as a child and wants to go back to those
memories. Furthermore, Lawrence unfolds more memoires through the memories of
the piano. We see this when he says ‘the boom of the tingling strings’. The onomatopoeias
‘boom’ and ‘tingling’ gives the reader the impression that the man in the poem
is Lawrence himself, we can tell this as he is describing the piano in such
tiny detail by using the word ‘boom’ which suggests the piano is loud as it
would be to a child which demonstrates that Lawrence is writing from personal


Duffy presents memories through the soldier’s presence at war. We see
this when she says “The blood stained into foreign dust”. The use of the word
“stained” illustrates how the devastating memories of war will be present for a
long time. This is effective because it causes the reader to convey sympathy
for the country at war. We also see this through the word “dust”. “Dust” is
present when something is left alone for an extremely long time and she uses
this to describe the country’s quality. The word juxtaposes to “stain” which is
something that is very difficult to be removed. This creates a big effect on
the reader as they would think that the soldier’s life plays a big part in the
war and also how dust represents how life is short and should be appreciated.
This indicates that the soldier’s memories are going to be with him for a long
time and that although they are upsetting its always going to be part of him.

Duffy presents memories as depressing in
‘War Photographer’. Duffy demonstrates this in the line “spools of suffering
set out in ordered rows”. The words “ordered rows” indicates the imagery of the
graves of hundreds of people from all around the world who fought in the world.
Furthermore, the sibilance “spools of suffering” highlight the soft, sad, soulful
memories of all the people who fought for the country. This implies how
depressing and upsetting the memories from the war are. Similarly, Lawrence
presents memories in “piano” as depressing. We see this when he says “the insidious
mastery of song/Betrays me back”. The word “insidious” highlights the control
that music has over people’s minds and the immense level of sadness, emotional
and depressing memories are being triggered by simply hearing music. In
addition to, the alliteration “Betrays me back” demonstrates that whether he
likes it or not he is going back to those memories. The word “betrays” is
powerful because it suggests that Lawrence doesn’t want to go back to those depressing
and upsetting memories. Both quotations contain alliteration that bring back
vivid memories of the past to the poets.

Fundamentally, both poems portray
memories in different ways but they each share similarities as well. “War
Photographer” is more violent and chaotic compared to “Piano” and “Piano” is
much more gentle. Finally, both poets share share some of the same language to
portray memories.