Compare how the poets present strong connections between people in ‘Letters from Yorkshire’ and one other poem of your choosing from the collection.
At first, both ‘Letters from Yorkshire’ and ‘Mother, any Distance’ present characters who both employ unconventional means in order to maintain a healthy, loving relationship. However, whilst ‘Letters from Yorkshire’ presents a gap closing in the relationship as they begin to reconcile, ‘Mother, any Distance’ presents two people growing further apart. Perhaps both poets are suggesting that communication and mutual respect are needed for a stable relationship to maintain and flourish.
In the poems ‘Letters from Yorkshire’ and ‘Mother, any Distance’, both poets use a range of metaphors and natural imagery to show appreciation and desire for their loved ones. In the poem ‘Letters from Yorkshire’, the metaphor of “pouring air and light into an envelope” is used. Both ‘air and light’ are vital for growth and repair, where in the poem, the speaker’s friend is sending nourishing letters to the speaker, just like he would nourish a plant. As seen in the poem, readers infer that her friend is a gardener, working in rural and country-side premises. Plants require lots of time and effort which is clear what the friend is investing into her friend, signalling his love and care for her. The metaphor “pouring air and light into an envelope” can also be inferred to represent how the man’s letters offer the speaker an insight into life in Yorkshire, and the joy that she gains from reading them. The use of active verb ‘pouring’ is clear to associate itself with the idea of watering plants, achieving it to flourish. Combined with the idea that “air and light” are being connected with this, this highlights how the poem uses natural imagery to present the writing of letters, linked with the growth of the relationship to be a normal and natural process which he likes to put a great deal of care into. This poem flickers through rural and urban life, where the relationship between the characters is irrelevant. Dooley herself switched from rural and urban life, suggesting to readers that the vibrancy of both the city and the countryside is powerful, and that the connections gained from both atmospheres are appreciated through the depths of this poem.
Similarly, in ‘Mother, any Distance’, Simon Armitage also uses a variety of metaphors to portray to connection between the speaker and his mother. In the poem, the poet uses the single wording metaphor of “Anchor. Kite” to represent his ,other. These two short, one-word sentences represent the certainty of the mother’s importance within his life and the support she has granted him. However, on the other hand, it can be implied that since the boy has grown, the mother is not needed, and he is ready to excel on his own. An ‘Anchor’ is most known to support an unsteady ship, to grant it stabilisation onto a rock, representing a mother carelessly keeping her son safe and secure. These two single metaphors encapsulate the idea of freedom and acceptance, that the ‘anchor’ prevents a ‘kite’ from soaring away indefinitely, thereby maintaining their bond and ensuring it doesn’t break. The idea that an anchor is used to forbid a ship from leaving a port implies that the mother is unready to let her son go, releasing him to independence and adulthood. It is clear she is restraining him from opportunities; therefore, one can imply that the idea of an ‘Anchor’ replicating the mother’s intentions are ambiguous.
Moreover, both poems present their ending as significant in presenting a specific message as to their loved one. In ‘Letters from Yorkshire’, the poem offers a significant end with the line “our souls tap out messages across the icy miles.” The spiritual word of ‘soul’ can be seen to have quite positive emotions, sounding mystical, whilst suggesting the relationship between the speaker and her friend have this connection to be deep and meaningful, despite some ‘icy miles’ between them. The adjective ‘icy’ suggests that the speaker dislikes the distance between the two and feels for it to be quite terrible. However, through this line, a more uplifting tone is developed and suggests that even though the distance is unbearable, they are able to overcome it, maintaining their strong bond through communication and respect. At the start of the poem, the first three stanza emphasise the contrast between their lives and the significant distance between them, however as the poem progresses, the final two stanzas do link with the overcome of this, and the powerful connection between their ‘souls’.
Likewise, in ‘Mother, any Distance’, the poem also ends with a significant turn in their relationship. As the poem comes to an end, readers find out that the speaker decides to go “towards a hatch that opens on to an endless sky/ to fall or to fly”. This quite ambiguous end suggests that after the painful separation and understanding between the son and his mother, he has gone to seek liberation and freedom. The phrase ‘endless sky’ can be seen as a metaphor, implying he is excited and enthusiastic to the new opportunities opened for him as he looks forward to his new-found independence. During the finale of the poem, the speaker’s tone appears somewhat optimistic, largely contrasting to the phrase of the final line. The line reads “to fall or fly” presenting the struggles yet success of his later life which can suggest how once the son has broken free, he will either succeed or fail outside of his mother’s protection. This sonnet like structure forming the poem end with a final line, symbolising his break away emphasises his ongoing love for his mother, however the irregular rhyme scheme could contrast to this, emphasising his desire to seek independence. Readers could infer the conflict he could be experiencing to follow his life, however, battle the anxiety over loosening their bond.