A Poem Comparison of Donne's "Anniversary" and Jennings' "One Flesh"

2016 Words Apr 26th, 2013 9 Pages
Read the two poems carefully, bearing in mind that they were written at different times by different writers and are open to different interpretations. Write a comparison of these two poems.
In your answer you should consider the ways in which Donne and Jennings use form, structure and language to present their thoughts and ideas. You should make relevant references to your wider reading in the poetry of love (40 marks).
John Donne’s ‘The Anniversary’ is all about the love the theoretical narrator and his object of love share. A year has passed, and everything has grown older, drawing closer to their end. In contrast, the one ageless thing is the unchanging love the poet shares with his lover. Although their bodies will be in separate
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On the other hand, this rhythm in Jennings’ poem may represent the bond that existed all their lives between her parents: they had a traditional early 19th century marriage.
In the second stanza of Jennings’ poem, the poet remarks on how their old bodies are like the waste or leftovers (“flotsam”) from their years of passion. A flotsam is a wreckage from a ship, making it seem like their love has ruined two once great pieces of art. Now that their passion is dead, they have grown physically apart, without visible affection or physical contact. Any slight touching is like “a confession of having little feeling”; to have no feelings towards each other shows the love lost; furthermore to this the fact that her mother dreams of “all men elsewhere” again shows the loss of love between them. The couple face a sexless (“chastity”) future; with “chastity” being a religious state of purity maybe the couple are in waiting of judgement after death. This can be contrasted with Donne’s poem in which the couple are not worried of judgement at all because their “love (will be) increased there above”.
In the second stanza of Donne’s poem, he acknowledges that while their love is timeless, the lovers’ physical bodies are not so fortunate. This can be compared with the idea of Jennings’ parents’ bodies being “tossed up like flotsam from a former passion”. Donne continues explaining that

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