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GCSE Poem Comparison - 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' and 'an Unknown Girl' watch

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    Hi for my English assesment we are going to write an essay comparing these poems and I need some help in my plan, I need to talk about similarities and differences between them

    Presents from my aunts
    They sent me a salwar kameez
    and another
    glistening like an orange split open,
    embossed slippers, gold and black
    points curling.
    Candy-striped glass bangles
    snapped, drew blood.
    Like at school, fashions changed
    in Pakistan -
    the salwar bottoms were broad and stiff,
    then narrow.
    My aunts chose an apple-green sari,
    for my teens.

    I tried each satin-silken top -
    was alien in the sitting-room.
    I could never be as lovely
    as those clothes -
    I longed
    for denim and corduroy.
    My costume clung to me
    and I was aflame,
    I couldn't rise up out of its fire,
    unlike Aunt Jamila.

    I wanted my parents' camel-skin lamp -
    switching it on in my bedroom,
    to consider the cruelty
    and the transformation
    from camel to shade,
    marvel at the colours
    like stained glass.

    My mother cherished her jewellery -
    Indian gold, dangling, filigree,
    But it was stolen from our car.
    The presents were radiant in my wardrobe.
    My aunts requested cardigans
    from Marks and Spencers.

    My salwar kameez
    didn't impress the schoolfriend
    who sat on my bed, asked to see
    my weekend clothes.
    But often I admired the mirror-work,
    tried to glimpse myself
    in the miniature
    glass circles, recall the story
    how the three of us
    sailed to England.
    Prickly heat had me screaming on the way.
    I ended up in a cot
    In my English grandmother's dining-room,
    found myself alone,
    playing with a tin-boat.

    I pictured my birthplace
    from fifties' photographs.
    When I was older
    there was conflict, a fractured land
    throbbing through newsprint.
    Sometimes I saw Lahore -
    my aunts in shaded rooms,
    screened from male visitors,
    sorting presents,
    wrapping them in tissue.

    Or there were beggars, sweeper-girls
    and I was there -
    of no fixed nationality,
    staring through fretwork
    at the Shalimar Gardens.

    An Unknown Girl
    In the evening bazaar
    Studded with neon
    An unknown girl
    Is hennaing my hand
    She squeezes a wet brown line
    Form a nozzle
    She is icing my hand,
    Which she steadies with her
    On her satin peach knee.
    In the evening bazaar
    For a few rupees
    An unknown girl is hennaing my hand
    As a little air catches
    My shadow stitched kameez
    A peacock spreads its lines
    Across my palm.
    Colours leave the street
    Float up in balloons.
    Dummies in shop-fronts
    Tilt and stare
    With their western perms.
    Banners for Miss India 1993
    For curtain cloth
    And sofa cloth
    Canopy me.
    I have new brown veins.
    In the evening bazaar
    Very deftly
    An unknown girl
    is hennaing my hand
    I am clinging
    To these firm peacock lines
    Like people who cling
    to sides of a train.
    Now the furious streets
    Are hushed.
    I’ll scrape off
    The dry brown lines
    Before I sleep,
    Reveal soft as a snail trail
    The amber bird beneath.
    It will fade in a week.
    When India appears and reappears
    I’ll lean across a country
    With my hands outstretched
    Longing for the unknown girl
    In the neon bazaar.

    Please Help!
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Updated: November 8, 2017
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