The Field Mouse Analysis

Compare and contrast how the poems use language to convey their thoughts and feelings.

In this essay, I am going to compare and contrast how two poems, The Field Mouse by Gillian Clarke and Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen, use language to convey thoughts and feelings. I have chosen these two poems to compare as they are both about the harsh realities of war and man's destructive side.

This poem, inspired by the 1990s Bosnian crisis, emphasised the fragility of all life and man's destructive nature. The title of the poem refers to a field mouse which receives a fatal injury during the spring hay-cutting. Gillian Clarke compares the mouse to children, 'their bones brittle as mouse-ribs' , and throughout the poem, there are echoes of conflict, pain, and death as references to the Bosnian war: 'snare drum', 'jets', 'terrible news', killed flowers', 'agony', 'Summer in Europe, the field’s hurt', and many other examples. The title of the poem is an unlikely title for a poem about war and so the subject matter takes its reader by surprise forcing them to look more deeply for the message of man's destructive nature that is being conveyed though the poem.

In the first stanza, a traditional British summer harvest scene is created. Gillian Clarke uses a lot of assonance and internal rhyming words in this verse: 'summer', 'drum', 'hums', 'end', 'meadow', 'terrible', 'drifting', 'gift', and there are also more hints of the destructive message at work with the 'humming jets' and 'radio's terrible news'.

In the second stanza, the destruction is no longer at the edge of the scene but part of the scene itself: ' the field's hurt', 'children kneel in long grass, staring at what we have crushed' refers literally to the injured field-mouse, but we are reminded of the death-littered streets and towns of Bosnia and its surrounds, as well as the never-to-be-forgotten battlefields of World Wars I and II. The use of the pronoun ' we' in the last line of that stanza...