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Junior Certificate Poetry 2013-2014

Mrs Shannon

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The Thickness of Ice by Liz Loxley

At first well meet as friends (Though secretly Ill be hoping well become much more and hoping that youre hoping that too) At first well be like skaters testing the thickness of ice (with each meeting well skate nearer the centre of the lake) Later we will become less anxious to impress less eager than the skater going for gold. (The triple jumps and spins will become an old routine: we will become content with simple movements). Later we will not notice the steady thaw, the creeping cracks will be ignored. (And one day when the ice gives way we will scramble to save ourselves and not each other.) Last of all well meet as acquaintances (though secretly well be enemies, hurt by missing out on a medal, jealous of new partners). Last of all well be like children Having learnt the thinness of ice, (Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping, to break the ice between us and maybe meet again as friends.)

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The Thickness of Ice

Liz Loxley

The theme of the poem is love. This poem is a metaphor comparing a relationship to the thickness of ice. The poet is hoping in the first verse that their friendship will develop into a relationship. We know that they are a little bit scared because the poet says that they will test the thickness of the ice and as they become more comfortable with each other, they will skate nearer to the centre of the lake. We know that the couple are becoming more comfortable with each other when the poet says later we will become less anxious to impress and we will be content with simple movements. The lines and words we will scramble to save ourselves and not each other and well meet as acquaintances suggests that they are neither friends nor partners. They only meet out of obligation. Secretly they are jealous of new partners and are both hoping that the coldness and distance that exists between them will break. There is abundance of images in this poem. The triple jumps and spins demonstrating the couples attempt to impress each other. This is a clever metaphor showing their new and exciting relationship. In the fourth verse, the poet uses another clever metaphor as she describes the creeping cracks which represent the difficulties in their relationship. The skaters miss out on gold which suggests that they have missed out on a successful marriage. By the end of the poem, the thickness of ice is not strong enough; it does not support their unsteady relationship. The couple realise the thinness of ice, the fragility of their relationship.

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After studying the notes above, complete this cloze test. The theme of the poem is ____________. This poem is a ___________ comparing a ____________ to the __________________ The poet is hoping in the first verse that their ___________ will develop into a _______________. We know that they are a little bit scared because the poet says that they will ________ the thickness of the ice and as they become more _______________ with each other, they will skate nearer to the ___________ of the ___________. We know that the couple are becoming ________ comfortable with each other when the poet says later we will become _______________________ and we will be content _____________________. The lines and words we will scramble to save ourselves and not each other and well meet as acquaintances suggests that they are neither friends nor partners. They only meet out of ______________. Secretly they are ____________ of new partners and are both hoping that the coldness and distance that exists between them will break. There is abundance of ____________ in this poem. The triple jumps and spins demonstrating the couples attempt to _____________ each other. This is a ____________ metaphor showing their ______ and __________ relationship. In the fourth verse, the poet uses another clever metaphor as she describes the creeping cracks which represent the _______________ in their relationship. The skaters miss out on gold which suggests that they have missed out on a successful ______________. By the end of the poem, the thickness of ice is ________ __________ enough; it does not support their _____________ relationship. The couple realise the thinness of ice, the ______________ of their relationship.

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Write each word in the spaces provided The Thickness of Ice Liz Loxley Theme Relationships Fragile Metaphor Comparing Creeping Cracks Vivid Acquaintances Medals Relate Poet Poetry Marriage Friends

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Sample Answer
Name a poem you have studied which makes you happy or sad. Give reasons why you liked or disliked this poem. The poem I have studied is called The Thickness of Ice by Liz Loxley. This poem makes me sad because it is describing a failed relationship. The overall theme of the poem is love but also loss. The poem is a metaphor where a relationship is being compared to the thickness of ice. This poem tells a story of two people who like each other. Their friendship turns into a relationship and they become close and begin to skate towards the centre of the lake. As they skate towards the centre, unity and commitment are evident. They are now more comfortable with each others company. Later, we learn that they become less anxious to impress as they both become content with simple movements. This highlights they are now at ease in each others company. There is no need to constantly try and impress the other. The next line of the poem makes me sad because as time goes on, the poet tells us that they will scramble to save ourselves and not each other. Immediately, this creates distance between the pair as they no longer do triple jumps and spins in an attempt to impress each other. Another reason the poem makes me sad is because creeping cracks begin to appear in their relationship and this shows the difficulties they have. By the end of the poem, we know that the ice is not thick enough to support their fragile relationship. The poem has an unhappy ending and I also think that everyone can relate to a failed relationship at some stage in their lives.

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The Identification by Roger Mc Gough


So you think its Stephen? Then I'd best make sure Be on the safe side as it were. Ah, theres been a mistake. The hair you see, its black, now Stephens fair ... Whats that? The explosion? Of course, burnt black. Silly of me. I should have known. Then lets get on. The face, is that the face mask? that mask of charred wood blistered scarred could that have been a child's face? The sweater, where intact, looks in fact all too familiar. But one must be sure. The scoutbelt. Yes thats his. I recognise the studs he hammered in not a week ago. At the age when boys get clothes-conscious now you know. Its almost certainly Stephen. But one must be sure. Remove all trace of doubt. Pull out every splinter of hope. Pockets. Empty the pockets. Handkerchief? Could be any schoolboy's. Dirty enough. Cigarettes? Oh this can't be Stephen. I dont allow him to smoke you see. He wouldn't disobey me. Not his father. But that's his penknife. Thats his alright. And thats his key on the keyring Gran gave him just the other night. Then this must be him. I think I know what happened ... ... ... about the cigarettes No doubt he was minding them for one of the older boys. Yes thats it. Thats him. Thats our Stephen.

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The theme of this poem is death and grief. It is the young adolescents father who is speaking in the poem. He has come to identify what is suspected to be the remains of his son. His son has been the victim of an explosion. The poem is punctuated with questions the father is asking. He gropes for any evidence which may suggest that it is not his son Stephen. The first piece of evidence which suggests that it is not his son is the black hair. Stephens hair, we are told is fair. However this is justified by the fact that the explosion may have turned his hair black. The discovery of the cigarettes in Stephens pocket offers his dad another splinter of hope that this boy may not be his son. The father is distraught when he recognises the all too familiar sweater and also the scoutbelt with the studs he hammered in. Finally the father recognises the penknife and the key ring. In the fifth verse, the father has come to the realisation that this young victim of the explosion is his son. He quickly justifies the fact that the cigarettes were not his sons saying that there is no doubt he was minding them for one of the older boys. The atmosphere in the poem is one of utter despair and disbelief that his son is dead. Desperation is shown as the young boys father struggles to accept the death of his son. The poem evokes a sense of sympathy in its readers. The Identification is a very suitable title for the poem because the poem is essentially about a father identifying the remains of his son.

Please answer the following questions in your homework copy: 1. Who do you think is speaking in this poem? 2. How do you know that you are only hearing one side of a conversation? 3. Why does the speaker think that it is not Stephen at first? 4. Is the face of the body recognisable? 5. What age do you think Stephen is? 6. What things in Stephens pocket suggest that it is not him and what things suggest that it is him? 7. Why do you think the speaker makes an excuse for Stephen having cigarettes in his pocket? Does it really make any difference? 8. Do you think that The Identification is a good title for this poem? 9. How does this poem make you feel?

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Write each word in the spaces provided The Identification Roger Mc Gough Charred Blistered Death Grief Distraught Gruesome Imagery Familiar Sweater Scoutbelt Cigarettes

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Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud. I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.

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Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Pretty women wonder where my secret lies Pretty women want to know where her secret lies. They wonder why all men are infatuated with her. Men react to her by falling on their knees or swarming about her fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me. Men wonder why they are so attracted to her, Men themselves have wondered what they see in me. The language used by the poet would not suggest that she is physically attractive but men are still drawn to her. They believe it is a mystery but it is her personality, the beauty within. The poet has tried to make us understand that real beauty is on the inside a good personality, one who is happy, kind and confident. This woman appears to be happy, the curl of my lips and the flash of my teeth .. The sun of my smile. She is also confident The stride of my step. The grace of my style and finally the language used suggests that she is caring, The need of my care. The fire of my eyes suggests that she is passionate and joyful She is content and comfortable with herself. I think that she is probably not conventionally beautiful because this would usually refer to ones physical appearance; a fashion models size which she says she is not. She says Im not built to suit a fashion models size she does not describe her physical characteristics as beautiful but her presence. The poem is laid out in five stanzas and is frequently punctuated which add to its rhythm. The rhythm within the stanzas is fast. However each stanza ends with the same two lines; Im a woman phenomenally, Phenomenal woman, thats me.

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These last two lines are short and emphasise the point. I think the womans inner mystery is her overall outlook on life, her caring and joyful personality. It is also her confidence as a woman. She says When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud. It could also refer to the mystery of being a woman. It is a phenomenon and she is glad to be part of the mystery. The poem should be read in a joyful but serious tone because it contains an important message. I think Mayas message is to be proud as a woman regardless of your physical appearance. To be a woman is to be part of an important phenomenon

Sample Answers on all three poems


Poem 1: The Thickness of Ice by Liz Loxley This poem is a metaphor comparing a relationship to the thickness of ice. The theme of the poem is love but also loss. At first, both people in the poem are friends skating towards the centre of a lake but as time goes by, their friendship becomes more. As they skate towards the centre, they are anxious to impress eachother with triple jumps and spins. Over time, they become comfortable with each other and are content with simple movements. However, the creeping cracks begin to appear and highlight how fragile their relationship has become. I like this poem because in my opinion, it is realistic. Everyone can relate to it because it is a poem about love. The poem cleverly used a metaphor to compare their love to the thickness of ice and she clearly shows us that relationships, like ice, are fragile. Poem 2: The Identification by Roger Mc Gough This poem is about a young boy called Stephen who has been killed in an explosion. His father has come to identify his body. The theme of this poem is death and grief. Stephens father clings to every splinter of hope that it is not

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his son. He discovers the back hair, sweater and cigarettes but tries to justify each item telling us why it is not his son. Eventually, after discovering the penknife and key ring, he is distraught and admits Yes, thats him. Thats my son Stephen. I dislike this poem because the poet uses vivid, gruesome imagery especially when describing Stephens face as a mask of charred wood/ blistered and scarred. This poem makes me sad because a young boy has been killed in an explosion. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it illustrates what a ruthless world we live in. Another reason: I dislike this poem because Stephens father is heartbroken and unfortunately, some parents do experience the heartache and anguish of losing a child.

1. Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou This poem is about a woman who is sharing a special secret with the world. She is not beautiful but yet men swarm around her and other women wonder where her secret lies. They believe it is her mystery but I believe it is her confidence, her inner beauty and the important message she is sharing: beauty comes from within. She is a phenomenal woman because she is mysterious and possesses inner beauty. She is happy, the curl of my lips and the flash of my teeth .. The sun of my smile. I like this poem because it contains an important message for young people. This phenomenal woman is telling us to stand up and believe in ourselves. A person who is passionate, kind and caring has a lot more to offer. She is proud even though she is not built to suit a fashion models size.

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Poetic Techniques

Repeating a letter sound.

A comparison using like or as. When a poet treats something as if it were human. Repeating a word or phrase. A section/verse of a poem. This is the voice we can imagine when reading the poem. This is the pace or beat of the poem. The way a poem has been put together. Words that create pictures in the readers head. 14

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A comparison without using like or as. Words that match in sound, usually at the end of a line. The main ideas that a writer explores in a poem.
Can you give two examples of each of the above?
My Examples Alliteration Simile Personification Repetition Tone Rhythm Metaphor Theme

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Using Metaphors and Similes If a writer uses a metaphor its because they want to give a more detailed and vivid image of how they are feeling or what they are describing. Look at the metaphors and similes below and: 1) Circle whether the statement is a metaphor/simile 2) Say what the metaphor/simile makes you think of 1. Metaphor/Simile When Elena won the English prize she felt like the cat that had got the cream. This makes me think that Elena felt...

2. Metaphor/Simile Martins rage was a rampaging bull, charging through the classroom.This makes me think that Martin was...

3. Metaphor/Simile The burglar stalked the building like a cat This makes me think that the burglar was... 4. Metaphor/Simile Lucy was confused until the teacher threw some light on the situation. This makes me think that Lucy felt..

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Poetry Worksheet 2
Decide whether each sentence contains a simile or a metaphor. Write the word SIMILE if the sentence contains a simile. Write the word METAPHOR if the sentence contains a metaphor. 1. The baby was like an octopus, grabbing at all the cans on the grocery store shelves. 2. As the teacher entered the room she muttered under her breath, "This class is like a three-ring circus!" 3. The giants steps were thunder as he ran toward Jack. 4. The pillow was a cloud when I put my head upon it after a long day. 5. I feel like a limp dishrag. 6. Those girls are like two peas in a pod. 7. The fluorescent light was the sun during our test. 8. No one invites Harold to parties because hes a wet blanket. 9. The bar of soap was a slippery eel during the dogs bath. 10. Ted was as nervous as a cat with a long tail in a room full of rocking chairs.

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IMAGERY: COMPARISONS SIMILE: comparison using the words as or like. Example: Her hands were as cold as ice.

METAPHOR: direct comparison but without using the words as or like. Example: Her hands were a block of ice.

PERSONIFICATION: when we compare things or animals to people, giving them human features and traits. Example: The sunflowers talked cheerfully.

IDENTIFY THE SIMILES, METAPHORS AND PERSONIFICATION. Paul was hard as nails. It is raining cats and dogs. Vanessa is a rose amongst thorns. He walked in as quiet as a mouse. The flowers were dancing in the wind. William is as brave as a lion. She was as sly as a fox. John spent the afternoon with a rain cloud over his head. The floor was as slippery as a fish. Carol is the black sheep of the family. The cats were playing cards. The book refused to be read by Gruff. You are the sunshine of my life. Jonathan is as slow as a snail.

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The snail had enough of his house and decided it was time to buy a new one! He sounded like a broken record. He came in like a raging bull. The sun was a light bulb on the sky. Louise was as happy as a dog with a bone. The animals were on strike.

Complete the following in your exam papers 2011 (Pages 33 and 33) All five parts are to be completed 2009 (Pages 63 and 64) All five parts are to be completed 2007 (Pages 93 and 94) All five parts are to be completed This entire booklet is to be studied in detail, all questions and worksheets are to be completed in full for Monday 5th November.

If not

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