Sheena Pugh’s ‘The craft I left in was called Esau’ Poetry Analysis

We have been studying 3 of Sheena Pugh’s poems which all relate to earth and mankind . In poem one titled ‘the craft I left in was called Esau’ , it shows the weary travellers that had to leave earth for one reason or another in a timid and nervous mood , simply searching for a new place to live. The poem makes the reader feel tense almost waiting for something to happen. The fact they had to leave portrays a sense of imminent danger , the fact they scratched the word Esau on the door makes it seem like it was done in haste as if to say they could have been wiped out at any moment.
The name Esau on the door relates to the bible story when Esau sells his heritage to his brother Jacob for a bowl of pottage which is to say that we’ve abused the earth. The second poem we read was called ‘Do you think we’ll ever get to see earth sir? ‘ and it shows our characters taking trips to see earth like sightseers . Our teacher Christie stating the ideas concepts pointlessness as there is hardly anything to see. The third poem was called ‘Geography 1’ and is about an island called Surtsey which was actually a volcano.
This means that in the order of poems it shows the ‘end of the earth’ , ‘returning to earth’ , and ‘a new bit of earth’. In poem 1 the craft is called Esau because it insinuates that mankind threw away it’s inheritance. They say in the text the name Esau was scratched on the door which portrays a sense of immediate danger or emergency which forced them to leave. ‘Incongruous’ is used in the text and means something does not fit the pattern and so while the travellers are ‘joking nervously’ it doesn’t feel quite right somehow.

We know the travellers are on their first journey of this kind because they were joking nervously as if they were just trying to ignore the fact they were travelling into the unknown. I don’t think they are coming back because the reason they are nervous is that they know that if everything goes wrong then they don’t have a safe-house to return to. The poet uses the word ‘still’ twice in succession to emphasise it (the stillness) , a new ocean portrays a new task or challenge waiting to be mapped out.
They say “it seemed natural to look for a horizon” because the word ‘natural’ because it suggests that they’re going purely on instinct while if it were normal then it would be a tried and tested method of tracking position. The ‘charted coastlines’ mentioned in the poem suggest an unstarted map , a blindly followed path in search for a new home. “Our late guesthouse” suggests it’s not the last part of the story , it isn’t the end as if there’s more to come or they are part of a much deeper plot.
This poem has no poem but has simple language however the reader is compelled to continue reading just in case they miss something important that’s about to happen. The second poem we have studied that is written by Sheena Pugh is called ‘Do you think we’ll ever get to see earth sir? ‘. It is about a cynical earth survivor getting quite emotive about the concept of savouring lost memories or in this case , earth.
The poem is written as a brief lecture to a student , which almost instructs the student about what to do if he sees even the smallest image of the past. The writer makes us think about the future by making us think about how we will be remembered by our descendants. While reading you can’t help but think about what fate could lead to the evacuation of earth , the thing that hangs in my mind is the concept of a nuclear war , the reason this ties in with the poem is that we hear the teacher say “they’re still toxic” …… nuclear war could potentially do this.
This poem has a person telling it with a very sharp , sarcastic tone in their voice , this gives the impression that this person just wants the chance to forget. This poem makes me feel insecure because the best thing about earth is the sense of security you get when say… at home in your room because in a way nothing can touch you there. The other thing about this poem is that it has no verses as if all the points that are made are inter-twined and need not be separated.
The word ‘look’ is used very often as if to say be a part of it not just stare and gaze upon it. She says things like “see it with your skin” etc which I think means that you should see it with all your senses and not just sight. If I had to pick one , my favourite word would be ‘damascening’ because it sounds like a very rigorous describing word. The third poem we have studied is called ‘Geography 1’ and the person in the poem is describing the birth of a new part of earth , the island of Surtsey.
Surtsey was a small island that was formed by a volcanic eruption , Surtsey was said to be important because it was like seeing the earth being born again. I think Surtsey was used as a lesson to the pupils because it shows a fresh start which can lead on to better times. Throughout the poem I believe Sheena is trying to say that novelties do eventually turn old and unimportant. The mood of this poem is of a non-caring , ignorant – to – the past mood for example when he says “fancy that , but I hadn’t time to look properly”.
Throughout the poem Pugh makes us feel gripped and embraced until the ironic ending. The language does encourage this mood with powerful describing phrases ie “flood of colours”. I think this poem is written in verses to separate the different points the poet is trying to convey , for example in the 4th paragraph they show the novelty of Surtsey by saying “Surtsey was important” but the 5th paragraph contradicts this by saying that it was forgotten, “even the birds nested in a few years”. Christie is supposed to be teaching a Geography lesson in the poem.
I quite like the phrase “with angry energy , it wanted to shout” because while reading it you do get a rush of energy. I do not like the phrase “Surtsey was important because it was like seeing the earth being born again” because I feel this point is obvious and has already been made. I do like the poem however because it has powerful phrases and has a point (volcanic eruption), which can be easily pictured because unlike the other two poems it is a concept that man can currently experience.
I definitely prefer this poem as it has good describing phrases and high octane adjectives. The first poem made me feel quite tense because you had to imagine being on a ship seeing your life fade into the distance , poem two made me feel quite cynical as the fact it’s a personal poem makes it easier to fal into the very plot of the character Christie and so you do see the point he is making.
The third poem ‘Geography 1’gave you a feeling of having too much energy followed by too little because it’s a transition from “that flood of colours” to “just an offshore island”. I did prefer the third poem because as I said before it has a conceivable concept. These three poems do show ‘the end of earth’, ‘returning to earth’, ‘and a new bit of earth’, this shows devolution but in a way evolution because a new bit of earth implies a new, fresh start.

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