The poem from last Thursday’s exam, ‘Bereavement of the Lion-Keeper’, was quite like the end-of-year English exam in Year 9 on Romeo and Juliet. However, the context of the exams are drastically different. Both exams asked us for our thoughts and feelings on the pieces of text, but what I had written in the two exams contrasted greatly.
In a comparison between the two exams, the latter exam with the poem seems much more compelling to write about than the one with phrases in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The poem, for one, delves deeper to reach for inner sentient emotions within the reader rather than the lousy everyday surface images. You might think that a poem as uneventful as one about lions and their retired masters quite bland and colorless, but the poet completely surprises us. For example, when I had first read the title as I prepared to write about the poem, I was thinking, ‘Ah man, another boring poem to write about, and who really wants to know why a lion-keeper is sad?’ Instead, I was confronted with a masterpiece of literature, something that brought to life the only thing that is really useful in a poem: emotion.
Sheenagh Pugh, as I have found out on Google, is the writer of this poem. She (I think) uses somewhat ordinary and simple words to convey the emotions within the poem to us, the readers. I don’t know how she manages to stir up such strong emotions with elementary adjectives and verbs, but she managed it. Maybe it was because of how sympathetic she sounded towards both the old keeper and his lion, or maybe it was the way she made the lion’s death so matter-of-fact. Both techniques made the poem very melancholy and conveyed extremely strong feelings.
I considered this poem to be the best one to have done an exam on, mainly, because there was lots to write about regarding thoughts and feelings toward the poem, and secondly, because it was pretty short and could be read quickly. In general, I thought that the poet used impressive techniques to make ‘The Bereavement of the Lion-Keeper’ a poetic masterpiece and worthy exam focus.