O Where Are You Going? This poem Was partially inspired by the traditional English folk song ‘The Catty Wren’, which existed in many versions. It’s about a group of peasants going to the woods to kill a wren (a medieval tradition). ‘ Miss Gee This ballad, written in 1937, is a clear example of Addend’s dark ironic comic tone being used for serious social satire. The poem plays with our own prejudices; we identify with the detached tone of the omniscient narrator. Miss Gee is a character who from the offset is presented as a typical prudish spinster.
Even the rhyme chem. plays into the notion of her as a restricted and limited character, with her identity clearly linked to her house and her church. We are lead to identify with the disparaging views of Miss Gee until the use of direct speech and rhetorical questions in the poem begin to provoke sympathy for the protagonist. ‘Does anyone care That I live on Cleveland Terrace On one hundred pounds a year? However the comedy of the poem again draws the reader back to their mockery with Aden exploring the Freudian elements in Miss Gee’s dream about the vicar: ‘And a lull with the face of the Vicars charging with lowered horn. It is not until the meeting with the Doctor that we realize the sad fate of Miss Gee; although this is again delivered with the sardonic tone so common to Aden: ‘l saw Miss Gee this evening/And she’s a goner, I fear. ‘ The poem continues to offer satirical views of society; exploring the cavalier attitudes of those in the medical profession whilst continuing to mock Miss Gee’s sexual repression up to the last: With her bedclothes right up to her neck.
The poem offers up questions on the individual versus society as well as the subject of unrequited love and the politically and socially pertinent issues of the causes of cancer and the nature of medical care. Ode In this poem Aden adapts the conventional ode, traditionally used to pay homage to a person or institution, to undermine the way in which he saw society glorifying war. The poem begins with the soldiers waiting at the battlefield where they are anticipating an ‘ambush’.
There is a sense that the land where they are fighting was once at peace but the use of classical wording tall white gods’ suggests this peace was long ago and also creates an image of colonialism. The poem has multiple voices with particular emphasis on the voices of the veteran and the young soldier. Aden allows the questions to the young soldier to go unanswered or to be visibly suppressed by the veteran; suggesting the ignorant obedience of those at war. Equally Addend’s religious background comes through to demonstrate the irony of the blemished soldiers being blessed and the contrast of this to the innocence of the horribly.
Aden suggests that the tendency to glorify of war and the portrayal of battle as the epitome of masculinity are elements created in childhood. The young soldier is made to feel like a tiger’ in his leaps around his childhood home and ridiculed for being scared or emotionally affected by war. Aden also explores the reality of the consequences of war ‘back at home’; creating an apocalyptic vision of life post war, where no-one can trust each other and the nationalistic reporting of the ‘bravery of the soldiers seems Aden and Hardy
It is evident that there is a comparison to be made between Hardy and Aden; the influences of Hardy upon Aden may have already become clear to some of you through your reading. Aden was introduced to Hardy’s poetry at school, alongside other traditional British poets such as Wordsmith and Houseman. During his teens the Romantic and Victorian poets were particularly influential to his style of poetry. Yet there are also substantial differences between these poets, with Addend’s status as an adopted American citizen seen as an important reason for this.
There is an influence from Hardy detectable in Addend’s work, and there is a strong sense of place and landscape in his poetry, but there is an alien vein too, an offshore perspective, the voice of a traveler, a visitor. ‘ There is an idea of Aden as a ‘political’ poet; alien from his contemporaries and poetic ancestors because of his ‘serious purpose’ and ‘detached stance’. From the Modernist angle we see Addend’s detachment; his purveying of his circumstances with a coolness which is attributed to his status as an ex-Englishman.