Can anyone help me with this poem? (English Lit AS Level) Watch

Mo_H92
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I've been revising hard for my English Lit. exam and to be honest, I can't make out head or tails of this poem? Can anyone at least help me in making it what it is about such as the subject or themes explored? :/

you cannot do this to them, these are my people;
I am not speaking of poetry, I am speaking of art.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
you cannot hack away the horizon in front of their eyes.

the tomb, articulates, will record your doing;
I will record it also, this is not art.
this is a kind of science, a kind of hobby,
a kind of personal vice like coin collecting

it has something to do with horses
and signet rings and school trophies;
it has something to do with the pride of the loins;
it has something to do with good food and music,
and something to do with power, and dancing.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
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Aack
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Something to do with Charlie Sheen.
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chlobofro
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What's the actual title of the poem? I'm on A2 and I'm stumped.
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EffKayy
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???????
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Mo_H92
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The title of the poem is You Cannot Do this.
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multiplexing-gamer
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I hate English. I'm only doing GCSE.
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EffKayy
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What exam board is this with? Wth?
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Mo_H92
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Exam board is CIE. (Cambridge International Exams)
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Mo_H92
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Anyone?
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DJKL
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(Original post by Mo_H92)
I've been revising hard for my English Lit. exam and to be honest, I can't make out head or tails of this poem? Can anyone at least help me in making it what it is about such as the subject or themes explored? :/

you cannot do this to them, these are my people;
I am not speaking of poetry, I am speaking of art.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
you cannot hack away the horizon in front of their eyes.

the tomb, articulates, will record your doing;
I will record it also, this is not art.
this is a kind of science, a kind of hobby,
a kind of personal vice like coin collecting

it has something to do with horses
and signet rings and school trophies;
it has something to do with the pride of the loins;
it has something to do with good food and music,
and something to do with power, and dancing.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
I am really struggling to see anything cohesive within the above, I get small glimmers of meaning but nothing that creates a complete meaning.

Some individual lines and possible lines of thought.

"You cannot do this to them, these are my people" (repeated throughout) appears to be a form of chant. The possessive "My" must have significance, however no idea what.

"you cannot hack away the horizon in front of their eyes"
Maybe is saying something regarding limiting their future/opportunities, hacking suggests brutal and crude method. Does "hack" connect with the later reference to horses?

"it has something to do with the pride of the loins;" interesting reversal of letters "loins" and "lions", made to stand out using "pride"

The "school trophies" followed by "pride of the loins" (children), suggests some limitation for said children.

The best I can manage is that it maybe is an expression of dismay at a reduction in opportunities for children.

I appreciate not really much help, but maybe it will jog something in your own mind's interpretation.
Last edited by DJKL; 7 years ago
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LeSacMagique
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That looks like one of the awful 'Poetry from Other Cultures' things we were coerced into studying for English GCSE. Who wrote it? It looks vaguely post-colonial. There are many lines competing for the honour, but I think 'the tomb, articulates, will record your doing' is the worst. I don't envy you!
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Gromit94
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(Original post by Mo_H92)
I've been revising hard for my English Lit. exam and to be honest, I can't make out head or tails of this poem? Can anyone at least help me in making it what it is about such as the subject or themes explored? :/

you cannot do this to them, these are my people;
I am not speaking of poetry, I am speaking of art.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
you cannot hack away the horizon in front of their eyes.

the tomb, articulates, will record your doing;
I will record it also, this is not art.
this is a kind of science, a kind of hobby,
a kind of personal vice like coin collecting

it has something to do with horses
and signet rings and school trophies;
it has something to do with the pride of the loins;
it has something to do with good food and music,
and something to do with power, and dancing.
you cannot do this to them, these are my people.
My interpretation is that this is something talking of the pain of the loss of human life, that has been taken away by someone else. Maybe murder/massacre or maybe the slave trade? The line "you cannot hack away the horizon in front of their eyes" suggests to me that the future is now non-existant and
destroyed. The tone of this poem for me sounds like a village elder describing a past event, and the consequence it's had on an African village maybe?
This line: "the tomb, articulates, will record your doing" suggests to me whoever was doing the killings will not get found out in this century and will not get repercussions for it, until later generations find the tomb. Could maybe be refering to Stalin in Russia? People didn't found out about his killings until after he died.
The last stanza suggests the invaders are celebrating their kill, as if they would a deer or stag, on the turf of the people they'd killed?

Of course if all your other poems are on the British aristocracy then my interpretation is probably wrong. Either way, I hope this has helped I'm an AS English student too but we don't do poetry until the A2
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Mo_H92
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LeSacMagique, the poet is Gwendolyn Macewan.

Gromit94, thanks for that. It really helped! =)
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Acerbic
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This reminds me why I dislike poetry. Wilfred Owen is disconcertingly good, when reminded of how poor some of this crap is.
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