Essay: How Do Poets Use Nature to Express Their Reaction to Mortality?

Poetry is an effective tool for poets to express their reaction to mortality. Through reading various poems, it is clear that poets have different attitudes and reactions toward it, and these are cleverly utilised in the two examples of poems about mortality that I have chosen to describe.
Firstly, The Five Students by Thomas Hardy. By this title, Hardy asks us to question what exactly the five students are studying – as it could depict any subject from a school environment to the study of life.
From the first stanza, Hardy is taking us to the beginning of the student’s journey. It becomes apparent that they are not in a teacher-student atmosphere, but are students in life. The young students are reflected in the first two lines: “The sparrow dips in his wheel-rut bath/The sun grows passionate-eyed”, occurrences of early in the day. The language is warm, and the imagery evokes bright colours – a symbol of new life, where everything is in great clarity, wonderment, and heightened brightness. The students are introduced as striding on in the midst of this, and even the language here shows they are young and innocent: “As strenuously we stride –”. Everything is harder for them to grasp as they are younger, and yet they vigorously continue their journey. It is also the start of the countdown, as the students are named - in a repeated, strict rhythmical line - and the energy of these words reflects the energy in the youth.
Continued throughout the poem is the sense of the journey the students are taking. It seems they do not have a choice, but are carrying on with a dogged sense of purpose nevertheless. In the second stanza, the students are in the summer of life – having passed a fresh spring. It is hot, very hot – the grasses ‘sober’ and the cattle relaxing, while “Shadowless swoons the day”. But, in contrast to this drawn-out, almost lazy, language, the students are “on our urgent way”, hastening to reach their destination, not stopping to rest. Here, Hardy...