The Blossom - Language, tone and structure

Language and tone

The tone of simplicity and childlikeness is developed through the use of repetition and a very narrow range of vocabulary.

However, some read the poem as containing a message about sexual awakening which belies this apparent simplicity. Thus:

Actions occur ‘under' the cover of ‘leaves' (fig leaves / clothing?)

  • The ‘swift' ‘arrow' is phallic
  • The ‘narrow' ‘cradle' is a vagina
  • The repeated ‘bosom' represents focus on erogenous breasts
  • The conjunction of happiness and ‘sobbing' conveys the emotions associated with sexual ecstasy

Such an interpretation alters our perception of the poem's tone.

Investigating language and tone

  • Write your own paragraph on any topic limiting yourself to the repetition of just a few similar words
    • What effect does this create?
    • What kind of speaker does it suggest?
      • How easy was it to do?

Structure and versification

The metre is basically trochaic, echoing many children's rhymes. The repetition of the patterns serves to highlight the contrast between the two birds which the voice of the poem itself does not heed.

Investigating structure and versification

  • Take any familiar children's song or nursery rhyme and compare the structure and versification with this poem
    • What similarities do you find?
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