Bayonet Charge – Ted Hughes

Bayonet Charge

Suddenly he awoke and was running – raw
In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy,
Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge
That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing
Bullets smacking the belly out of the air –
He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm;
The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye
Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, –

In bewilderment then he almost stopped –
In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations
Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running
Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs
Listening between his footfalls for the reason
Of his still running, and his foot hung like
Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows

Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame
And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide
Open silent, its eyes standing out.
He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge,
King, honour, human dignity, etcetera
Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm
To get out of that blue crackling air
His terror’s touchy dynamite.



Depending on how you read this poem, it will either be an easy poem to understand and analyse, or a hard one. From the title we get the impression before we read that this is going to be about a man in uniform charging the enemy and is going to share some of his raw emotion at doing so; that is what we expect from simply reading the title.

But we also find that it is one of those poems that is like the good old fashioned onion, in that it has many layers. Its surface meaning reflects the terror and the awe at which this man runs forward, thinking noble and brave thoughts of country and bravery as he does so.

On a deeper level, there is more to be unpicked. This is a man charging with bayonet fixed, a moment of sheer bravado and guts from anyone and to this reader, who has been trained in such things, it is reminiscent of Army training, running at the “green hedge” that could be meant to reflect the enemy or the place you are trying to take.

Beginning with the word “Suddenly” is for me, an interesting beginning. It is like the writer is wanting you to read this at a rush at the beginning, that the necessity to launch into the reading of this poem is subliminally given to the reader. As this is then followed by “he awoke and was running,” the reader is led on a charge of their very own, enabling the reader to share something of this man’s task at hand. It is a “raw” task completed by someone “in raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy,” as it comes down his brow as he makes that desperate run forward. This is an act of desperation.

As the charge continues, itself similar in tone to that of Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, we see a man armed with a rifle, “stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge” that is alive with “rifle fire,” but it is what the soldier is “hearing” that makes the tone more desperate than ever, for he can hear “bullets smacking the belly out of the air.” That single word, “smacking” is a word denoting violence or a violent act. It is one associated with someone inflicting pain and harm on another. It is therefore, an emotionally violent part of this poem.


But then the tone changes again as the soldier “[lugs] a rifle numb as a smashed arm” up to that hedge. The use of the simile here is helpful to the reader as it enables us to see just what a weight a rifle actually would be. When I did my Basic Training in 1977, we were given something that fired 7.62 rounds [left picture] and it was no lightweight piece of kit. Now, the army are given the SA80 [right picture], among others, a much lighter beast to haul anywhere. As this poem is undoubtedly set in former times, when the SLR was prominent, one can only imagine the extra weight trudged up that hill to the hedge in question.

The poem then uses words to bolster pride in the reader because we see that “patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye” as he progresses and we see the sweat, “like molten iron from the centre of his chest” as he runs. Up to this point this is a poem about bravery, a brave man taking part in something equally heroic. It is reminiscent of Colonel H in the Falklands Conflict and of so many before him and since.

But then, we see in the second stanza a different feeling and set of emotions. The soldier now feels a sense of “bewilderment” as he nearly stops and begins to think things through, thinking “in what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations” is he pointing at that very moment. Soldiers are taught not to think of the fear or what might happen when moving forward. They are taught to obey an order, do what they have to do and then when it is all over there is time for thinking to be done. But this soldier is now taking time to think, as he is running. In one sense this could be seen as the normal thing to do. In another, not so. But what is evident in this second stanza is that we now see a man who is able to think logically for himself. The use of the metaphor in “cold clockwork,” as well as being alliterative, allows us to see past the soldier and to the man.

It is as though he has started to run and then stopped for a split second in flight as if to say what am I doing here? This could indicate an opinion in the mind of the poet, who equally thinks that all war and therefore all battles like this, are futile. The conflict of war therefore, is one that is being discussed here as Hughes asks us to consider just what we mean by words like “brave” and “noble.”

All of this then progresses into the third stanza, where we see the man seeing something very odd happening. He sees a “yellow hare” but one is left to consider whether this in itself, is a metaphor for something else. Is it a real animal emerging from the ground he is running and being startled, or does he consider the soldier, or even the reader, in this thinking state, to be that yellow, cowardly hare who begins the run and then thinks about it half way through?

As the reader continues the image of the real hare emerges more colourfully as it is now described as crawling “in a threshing circle, its mouth wide open silent, its eyes standing out.” Clearly, the actions of the man in the poem have disturbed something in the animal kingdom and it is this action by the man that has a similar reality in the human world also. Conflict and warfare are things that bring damage and decay and perhaps, Hughes is trying to make the reader think about how they view warfare and the impact it has on the animal world, the world of agriculture and the creation that we share.

Then we see the man as he proceeds “past with his bayonet” on his journey “toward the green hedge,” thinking once again of the reason he is there, the reason he among all others, has to undertake this charge. In Tennyson’s poem, the soldiers learn the idiom of “ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die,” but here, we see a man who is able to reason more clearly his actions before he does them and as he is doing them. He thinks of “King,” of things like “honour” and “human dignity,” allowing us to see a more modern view on world conflict. His only desire is to “get out of that blue crackling air,” the air whistling with bullets coming the other way, what he calls “his terror’s touchy dynamite.”

That last line is magnificent in its colour and depth. We can inflict terror on each other with dynamite, but to call his situation, or even his actions, “touchy dynamite” is something rather special, almost beautiful if not for the fact that he is speaking about someone with the intent to kill, or at least, maim someone else. The way he uses alliteration, not just here, but also in other parts of the poem, allows us to see a writer playing with the English language to make for a better picture in the mind of the reader.


My students asked, so I provided…here is an analysis based on quotes from the novella that I could find online, showing that it can be done fairly quickly. This took me about 45 minutes to complete. Do not forget, no direct copying of this without saying where you got it from. Plagiarism leads to disqualification. I have had to do that as a teacher before now and it was the saddest day of my career. Enjoy!

How does Steinbeck portray Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men?

Of Mice and Men is a novella set in and around the Californian landscape of Salinas in the 1920s at the time of the Great Depression in American history, a time of great financial and emotional struggle, where concepts of family life and societal hierarchies are stretched to the limit in an attempt to keep society afloat and prosperous. Its title comes from a Robert Burns poem that says “all the best plans of mice and men” …. come to nothing,” meaning that whatever anyone in this story plans, all their best laid plans will come to nothing in the end and the reader who is informed of this expects this to be the case.

Of all the characters in the novella, Curley’s wife is the one that shows this to be the case in the most pointed and poignant way. She enters the action as a vulnerable young married woman and leaves the plot in a manner that does not befit her dreams and aspirations in this life. She wants to be the Hollywood actress, have all the fame and glory that comes with it and ends up in a brutal and utterly hopeless marriage with a man who possesses her and a father in law known for being just as brutal. She is the only female on an otherwise, all male ranch and so, she is the one true victim in this tragic portrayal of life at that time. It is, one can say, a societal comment for the time it was written.

We first see her described as wearing her summer dress and bright red lipstick, asking the men some questions, which is meant to make the reader identify her with a certain type of female, one that is loose with her ways and willing to flirt. Indeed, Candy says “she’s got the eye,” meaning she has an eye for the more handsome man about the ranch. By writing like this, Steinbeck is painting and image in the reader’s mind to ensure that it is remembered as the novella progresses. But this may not have been his intention, for he has stated elsewhere that he sees her in a positive light, as someone who is trying to climb out of the rut she is in, a feisty example of American womanhood at the time. So to blindly read her as the “slut” or worse would be the wrong thing to do. Indeed, it is more than likely that a man reading this novella would see her in a certain light whilst a female reader may see her more considerately. The same might be true of a young reader and one who is middle aged and seen more of the negativity that exists in this life of ours.

Throughout the novella, Curley’s wife is seen to be talking openly with George and the rest of the men. She is the sole lady on a ranch full of men. She is a product of a society that is male led, not working properly because of the Great Depression and is feeling the pressure that such a life brings. So when the reader sees words like she “had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up” the reaction is instant. Lennie even calls her “purty” showing the vernacular of the time, but it is the terse response from George who calls her “poison” and “jail-bait” that really shows the image up well. Steinbeck creates in her the personality of one who is oppressed but always hopes, always wishes for her dreams to come true, always wishes for the freedom that in America, would not come for another thirty or forty years after this is set.

But she is equally negative towards others as well, for later, in chapter three, the reader sees that she has attitudes towards certain members of the ranch staff. She knows her position. She is the wife of the boss’ son, so she should get some respect from the enlisted men, but her attitude to them leaves a lot to be desired. For example, she says to the Blacksmith Crooks that she could get him “strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’ She clearly has the typical disdain for the black man at that time and in that area. Crooks’ position is a lowly one, but instead of having and showing compassion towards him, she shows a certain  level of disdain and malice. It is a malice that is not just levelled at the lower ranged men on the ranch either for she has a similar dislike of her husband, for she says “he got it comin’ to him’ referring to when Lennie crushes Curly’s hand in the fight. She knows her husband well, possibly has been on the receiving end of that anger and frustration, although that is never explicitly said by the author, and sees his current position, with mangled hand, as being something he rightly deserves for being the bully he is.

In chapter five we see a further side to her character when she says “I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.” This alone shows her real plight on this ranch, surrounded by men who do not want to have anything to do with her for fear of incensing Curly, unable to have a real conversation about things she wants to and unable to work through issues like her future. She adds “I could made somethin’ of myself…Maybe I will yet,” reflecting her dreams and that of the American people, who are trying to live their American Dream in their own way. She says that she believes she “coulda been in the movies.’ Again, this indicates that she is a woman full of emotions, full of dreams and one that is yearning to get away from the ranch and be the person she wants to be, but instead, she finds herself unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to think about anything positive. She is a product of the system, her relationship to Curly and her father in law and the failure of the American Dream at that time.

Eventually, through no fault of her own but by sheer vulnerability and naivete she ends up being the victim in this tragedy, a victim who shows the reader that in this dream, there is no winner. Just as much as Lennie and George might be the caricature of the downtrodden worker, with the boss and Curley being the corporate owners and their managers, so too is Curley’s wife, with Lennie, the innocent victims of a system that has let them down. They are both victims of a society that is failing, a society that believes that anyone with a disability is not normal and must be treated harshly and a system of belief in what a woman can and cannot do; they are victims of the possessive male fixation on dominating the female in their midst. She, in the end, is symbolic of the sadness and the bitterness that exists even to this day in the society in which we live showing that very little has changed in some parts of the world.

Thinking and Writing: At The Same Time

Developing The Skill Set

I was recently told by someone that he wanted to have the ability to think quickly and write down things in a clear and meaningful way. That is the life skill he wanted to develop. I was asked for help and guidance in how to develop this.

There are a number of ways but the one trick I have learnt over the years is simple; make it so that your brain and your hand are working in unity with each other.

The first thing you need to consider is that how you speak something, assuming you speak clearly and reasonably well, is usually the way it is best to write the thing down. Imagine being asked to write a letter to the Prime Minister in the exam asking him to make some positive changes in your area. What would you put? Would you be the one sitting there on the day thinking “well I know what I would say to him in person, but have not got a clue how to write it down?”

If this is the case then I think you have missed the point.

Try this task in your own time. Get from somewhere, a recording device, an ipod, or tape player, anything that can record, even a phone nowadays can do that. Then begin with “Dear Prime Minister” and carry on as if you was speaking to him in person. Then save it to the device.

Then, word for word, write it out, but before you do, add underneath the comma at the end of “Dear Prime Minister,” these words: “I am writing to you to ask your permission to make a change in my area.” Then word for word, add your words.

Does this make sense yet?

When done, re-record the whole letter and you will see that apart from the beginning bit, which needs to be formal, the rest is you being you. End it with a “Yours sincerely”, leave a 6 line gap and then add, in capital letters, your name [which should not be at the top of the letter]. There, one letter written.

When you read it back, if it is done correctly, you will see that the words you say are the words you write. That is the one secret I can think of, but then there is the added pressure of the exam and that awful moment when you run out of words.

I can hear you shouting “Help!!!”

Try to remember that the words coming from your mind have to be the words you have written down. There is no point in thinking “Heaney’s poem is a tour de force of human emotion” and then not writing it. That would be silly. Write the thing using exactly the words flowing from your mind.

Treat your body like a vessel. The idea emerges in your brain. You think a sentence. That sentence flows down your arm, through your hand, gets to the tip of your fingers and then you put pressure on the pen nib and hey presto, the word appears creating sentences, just as it was in your mind a fraction of a second before.

The worst thing you can do is think one thing and try to write another. That is a mistake.

This kind of skill that has taken me years to perfect, at the same time perfecting a 2000 word an hour typing speed. My fingers are moving at the same speed as my mind and my thoughts. That is what you need to cultivate in order to “think quickly and write down things in a clear and meaningful way.”

Have a go – you will love it when you get to doing it well. For you, writing will become a joy, just as it has for me.


Of Mice and Men – Lit Exam Question 2013

Here is one of the exam tasks from 2013 from the 4705/9715 syllabii.

Question 21
Read the following passage and then answer Part (a) and Part (b).

Text from Of Mice and Men

A tall man stood in the doorway. He held a crushed Stetson hat under his arm while he combed his long, black, damp hair straight back. Like the others he wore blue jeans and a short denim jacket. When he had finished combing his hair he moved into the room, and he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. He was a jerk line skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the wheeler’s butt with a bull whip without touching the mule. There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke.

His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or
love. This was Slim, the jerk line skinner. His hatchet face was ageless. He might
have been thirty-five or fifty. His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow
speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought. His
hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer.
He smoothed out his crushed hat, creased it in the middle and put it on. He looked
kindly at the two in the bunk house. ‘It’s brighter’n a bitch outside,’ he said gently.
‘Can’t hardly see nothing in here. You the new guys?’
‘Just come,’ said George.
‘Gonna buck barley?’
‘That’s what the boss says.’

Slim sat down on a box across the table from George. He studied the solitaire hand
that was upside down to him. ‘Hope you get on my team,’ he said. His voice was
very gentle. ‘I gotta pair of punks on my team that don’t know a barley bag from a
blue ball. You guys ever bucked any barley?’

Part (a) – In this passage, how does Steinbeck present Slim? Refer closely to the passage in your answer.

Part (b) – In the rest of the novel, how does Steinbeck show that some people on the ranch are considered more important than others? How does this reflect the society in which the novel is set? (30 marks) SPG: (4 marks)

You have to note a few things. Firstly, there are two parts of equal proportion, so your timing has to be as exact as possible. If you have 90 minutes and have to answer on OMAM and another text [Woman in Black?] then each task has 45 minutes attached, so this task would be 45 minutes in length. Do not go over this time. Take off the watch at the beginning and place it in front of you – to time yourself and keep on task.

Secondly, one part is on Slim, as a character and the latter part is on the rest of the novella. If I asked you to write an essay on Slim, I would expect you to use a section of the novella, like this, and then write about how he is presented. Then I would expect you to write about the rest of the novella, how Slim is different to others etc. I would be expecting you to cover both parts of this task in one essay but this exam task asks you to do it in 2 separate sections, so beware of answering part 2 in part 1. This can happen and you get zero marks for the effort.

So, how to answer it….

Again, use the structure showed earlier….Intro, Point 1, Point 2, Point 3 and conclusion. But because it is two short answers rather than one large one, use one quote for each midsection in each one. Ergo, you still have answers with structure. Because there are SPG marks here, if each section is one paragraph, then providing they are written properly, indented beginning and no lines missed, all will be well.

How does Steinbeck present Slim? – Strong, team leader, man of authority, capable man, knows his place…etc – a great quote to use would be “he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen.” This shows the reader the sort of man he is.

How does Steinbeck show that some people on the ranch are considered more important than others? – Curley, the Boss, The blacksmith etc, Each have position, each have some degree of authority in comparison to others [even Lennie is ruled by George].

How does this reflect the society in which the novel is set? – In society, there are hierarchies. There are those in charge [the boss], their deputy managers [Curley], the middle managers [Slim], the workers [George], the mentally deficient [Lennie] and the victims [Curley’s wife] who pay the price for the way society is made up. In the 1920s when there was little work in America due to the Great Depression, this novella becomes what is termed a “Social commentary” on the nature of society and how we seem to have got something wrong.

All of the above and some more of your ideas, are what I would expect to see in your answer, if you wanted an A*.

Literature Exam Task

AQA has a separate syllabus that is an English Literature syllabus. One of the things you have to do if taking this course is sit a Literature exam [which is why the 4700 syllabus is so much easier].

Here is a question from last year, from the Higher tier paper…you usually get a choice of two questions where you have to write as much as possible on only one of them [do not try to do both].

Question: How does Hill create tension and suspense in the second chapter, A London Particular? (30 marks with 4 extra marks for SPG – spelling, punctuation and grammar]


Question: How does Hill present children in The Woman in Black? How do you think the children add to the sense of horror in the novel? (30 marks plus 4 marks for SPG]

Looking at it, which would you take? Which do you think is the easier to answer, or write about?

This is how I would choose to answer from this choice, albeit not a good one.

The first question asks ‘How does Hill create tension and suspense in the second chapter, A London Particular?’ It is based on one chapter, so you can if you so choose, write about the single chapter and every now and again, you would add bits in from elsewhere in the novella. It asks you to think of the creation of suspense and terror, which means writing about the use of foreshadowing and pathetic fallacy. In essence, it is not that bad when it comes to an exam question. This is what would make me choose it, because it is centred on one single chapter.

The second question asks ‘How does Hill present children in The Woman in Black? How do you think the children add to the sense of horror in the novel?’ This is an interesting question and one that means you could write quite a lot, especially about how the children are fascinated by this mysterious woman dressed in black, but the answer needs to come from the entire book, which would make this answer the harder of the two. By using the entire novella, you need to know by heart where the sections are that detail the children. The obvious place to start would be the children at the funeral and how they fit into the Gothic nature of the novella and the horror element.

But be careful. If you mention the young boy called Nathaniel appearing from out of the marshes, you are mentioning something that happens in the more recent of the two films. This will get you zero marks. The task is about the written word, not the filmic depiction of the same. It is so easy to drop into that mistake, to use bits from films, because we use films in class to show you the plot line. Your revision for this task [and I type this the day before one of mine takes his Y11 mocks] has to include nothing but the text.

Have you decided which one you would take?

For me it would be the first one as I find writing about one chapter easier than a whole text. Plus, the children question is more difficult to locate and use appropriate quotations in the correct manner [as shown on this blog earlier].

But there is one thing that can happen; you may get half way through the exam answer and then think this is rubbish, I need to do the other task and begin that. Don’t do it! When you have made your choice, stick to it.

So, if I think of that first exam task, which I would choose, how would I set it out to give it structure? In answer to this, I follow a very simple plan, for all my essays, as follows:

Introduction – the details of the second chapter about the Pea Souper in London [look up the definition of Pea Souper] and that this beginning brings tension and suspense to the reader’s mind as they read.

Point 1 – the creation of tension – throughout the chapter, using quotes and PEE chains

Point 2 – the creation of suspense in the chapter – again using quotes and PEE chains

Point 3 – because this is a two part task, this third part would be how they both work together to make the reader want to read on in chapter 3

Conclusion – here I would note the effect of the whole chapter on the reader – reader response theory is something you need to look up.

With this in mind, if I write it as accurately as I can, the answer is one that has structure, quotes, PEE chains used correctly and is one that does what it is asked to do.

But be warned: I always tell my students that answering an exam question [or a CA] is like taking a train journey. You set off at Point A and you arrive at Point B. If the tracks change by mistake, or error, then you arrive at Point C. This is what happens with your writing if you are not careful. Enjoy the exam and the process of testing, but above all, do not panic.

Happy writing! Luck is for the ill prepared.

AO4 Writing Objective AQA

AO4 Writing

One of the things that lets students down is their writing. They can have all the brilliant ideas but when they pen it and put it down on paper, mistakes come in plentiful supply and wallop, a huge set of points is lost and those points can be the difference between an A and a B, or a C and a D.

This is what AQA ask you to do in anything you write. Let’s look at them one by one.

1. • Write to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways that engage the reader.

Clear communication. Hmmm, clear and consistent gets you into the C band. Effectively and imaginatively gets you the B and engagement with the reader gets you the A and the A*. If you are not sure what I mean, ask yourself a question about the last good book you read. Why could you not put it down? Appropriate vocabulary simply means the right words for the right occasions, but the more adventurous words get the higher marks. Every teacher I know hates the word “NICE” when you can use “wonderful” or “fantastically superb” to describe something.

2. • Organise information and ideas into structured and sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts, using a variety of linguistic and structural features to support cohesion and overall coherence.

This one is where the C/D brigade [you know who you are] let themselves down. Think for a moment about paragraphing. When hand writing something, miss no lines and indent each paragraph [see earlier post on here] so that there is uniformity. Neatness is rewarded by the examiner. Think of your day yesterday. You got up and had breakfast. You then went to school or college. You then went home. And so on. If you was to write about your typical day, the start of each paragraph would depend on the new thing happening. New paragraphs always start because of a change in time or subject matter. This brings “coherence,” or a clearness to your writing and makes it of a higher grade. With the right kinds of sentences all mixed in well, expect an A*.

3. • Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.

What does a “range of sentence structures” mean? It is simple. A story might begin with a very short sentence. One I read began with “This was the end.” Post modern nonsense I know, but then the sentences got longer and shorter and varied, before returning to a short one for dramatic effect. Your writing, even when analysing a poem or play or prose, has to do the same thing. If it does and it is accurately written, then it will get the A*. If you are not sure what I mean, pick up Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and read Stave 2 especially looking at how the food; the fruits and the vegetables in the shops are described. Utterly fantastic read! Mesmerizing. By the time I had read it 5 times with 5 different classes one of my pupils asked me “Sir, how many times have you read this?” He was asking because I was hardly looking at the page any more. I knew it by heart. I loved that book when I was teaching High School.

The last line there is so important. Accurate spelling and punctuation. LEARN how to use semi colons and colons. Learn how to spell those simple words [you know the hard ones funnily enough] and get things right. Check out all the HOMOPHONES you can. Get the WRITE/RIGHT and the THERE/THEIR/THEY’RE spot on. If you can master those then you will do well in June.

God bless you all.

Curley’s Wife – Of Mice and Men

One of the popular questions that is asked is based on Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men and it usually asks to discuss the characterization of Curley’s wife, whether it be an exam question or a CA, or Controlled Assessment.

Here is a question, or task title, followed by some notes as to how AQA would want you to answer it.

Title: Heroes and villains: Explore Steinbeck’s portrayal of Curley’s wife. (pages 53-54)

Then AQA say you should use these notes to create your answer. Have a go as practice in your own time. Send it to this blog in a message and I will see if it is good enough to be published.

1. from what she looks like and the ways she acts, what kind of a woman does she seem to be?
2. How do George and Lennie react to her?
3. Explain why you think the writer used the following words to describe her:
‘’heavily made up’. ‘a nasal brittle quality’ ‘she said playfully’
Read pages 122 – 129 in Chapter 5. In this scene Curley’s wife finds Lennie in the barn, talks to him and ends up being killed. Answer the following:
4. What do you find out about Curley’s wife that you did not know in previous sections of the novel? Support your answer with some quotations from the novel
5. Is there anything in these pages that shows the writer wants you to think differently about her? Support you answer with some quotations from the novel
6. Explain why some knowledge of life in 1930s America might help readers understand the significance of Curley’s wife’s dream.

In Honour of Imtiaz – My Own Creation

I am sorry, but I had to…..

The Right Word [in honour of Imtiaz Dharker]

Outside the door,
Lurking in the shadows,
Is a maniacal Moggie.

Is that the right way to describe him?
Outside the door,
taking his shelter in the shadows,
Is a mad puss cat.

I cannot have this right.
Outside, waiting for me to shout,
Is a lonely, shivering cat.

Are the words we use merely a tool
To label and to besmirch?
Outside your door,
Watchfully waiting for you to arrive,
Is a symbol of love personified.

God help me, but I need to say it;
Outside, defying every shadow he can,
Stands a magnificent, feline, fur ball.
I can see his face.

There are no words for me now.
Just outside the door,
Lost in the shadows of your garden,
Is a feline who looks just like mine.

One word for you.
Outside my door,
His paws outstretched in affection,
His eyes twinkling in the moonlight,
Is a companion that will love you.

I open the door.
Come in I say.
Come in and love us.

Gus the Puss steps in
And carefully, at my door,
Washes his paws contentedly.

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