Robert Gray's Poems

Essay by noelckcHigh School, 11th gradeA, June 2007

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Change is the transformation and evaluation of an individual in response to various stimuli. Robert Gray composes numerous poems, mainly concerning the focus topic; changing perspective. His two poems, “Flames and Dangling Wire” and “Meatworks” also concentrate on the concept of changing perspective. Furthermore, the persona’s perspective is effectively reflected and conveyed in these two particular works, by incorporating diverse language forms which include features and structures, and language techniques, which all emphasizes the change in perspective.

In the poem “Flames and Dangling Wire,” language forms are chosen efficiently to detail the changing perspective the main character achieves by observing the waste dump. It is a poem which fluently employs linguistic styles, and creates remarkably contrasting tones and ambiences. In the opening stanza, the poem begins similarly to a tale, written “On a highway over the marshland…” This line is significant as perspectives are primarily challenged by journeys. Thus, this line suggests that the poem explores the idea of changing perspective.

Furthermore, short sentences create an uneasy sense of tension and the descriptive language arouses a tense atmosphere to support the main theme. The following stanzas subsequently present the initial perspective of the “always burning dump.” Descriptive mages regarding workers are ultimately related to hell, including “shadowy figures,” “scavengers”, “car like skulls” “sour smoke”, “… hell the devils” and “…wander, disconsolate, with an eternity.” These phrases consequently establish the initial, dehumanised, repulsive perspective the character has. Ragged lines and broken rhythms also support this horror-filled perception. In the lines “I realise I am in the future. This is how it shall be after men have gone. It will be made of things that worked,” tones and language style dramatically changes; the moment of change in perspective. This directs the tone of the poem away from repulsion to resigned sadness...