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Sheenagh Pugh is for me, a passionate and powerful poet; the majority of her poetry has contained the themes of the earth and how it will be ruined if we are not careful. Even within her children’s poetry, these themes are prominent. The other major theme within the poetry of Sheenagh Pugh is ‘the bible’ this theme is quite often in association with divine love for earth. She deals with this in a startlingly refreshing and compassionate way, often with the sense of melancholy but never with depression. Sheenagh Pugh refers in the title of ‘The craft I left in was called Esau’ that the pilots name is Esau and she is suggesting that mankind has made a bad bargain like Esau did in the bible.
The settings of the poems are different from each other; ‘The craft I left in was called Esau’ is set in an spacecraft while ‘Do you think We’ll ever get to see Earth again, Sir?’ is set in a classroom on a different planet evoking memories of home. In ‘Do you think we’ll ever see earth again, sir?’ the setting is in a classroom and the teacher referring about earth. Sheenagh Pugh has set this poem in another world and in a class because she wants to show how it would make us think of home. She is uprooted from her culture or roots and she speaks ‘I can’t fancy a tour through the ruins of my home’ which suggests that she has no intentions of seeing her old traditions and earth.
The theme of Sheenagh Pugh poems are to present us with a sad view of the future and a grim warning of what could be. In the craft I left in was called Esau Sheenagh Pugh mentions ‘People joked nervously; just like a plane flight’ this suggests that people are joking to make themselves feel better to forget the true purpose of this trip, to forget that they’ll never return. ‘I would have you ten years before the flood:’ this image gives the picture of how extreme his eternal love is and to what extent it goes.
This effect of this is dramatic to the reader and builds up tension. The language of the poem becomes more positive as it progresses. The first stanza up to line ten, with its image of a woman in a trip ready to leave and never to return. The questions in the second section of the poem suggest progress towards understanding and the exclamations in the final section give the impression of sadness and remorse. In the second part she mentions ‘No bother, no big deal. I can’t recall feeling sad, not then’ which suggests the mood that the person is in a sad mood. The poet says that she cannot remember being sad at that moment in time but in line 12 ‘not then’ she indicates she did feel sad at some point. We don’t exactly when, but at some stage, she felt remorse and sad.
In do you think we’ll ever see earth again, sir? Sheenagh Pugh has been critical of Earth. The ‘but’ in line 11 signals a change in direction. The speaker changes his/her approach completely and becomes optimistic. Sheenagh Pugh uses alliteration ‘should see something’ to describe some ‘beautiful thing’ like a ‘leaf’. This type of language gives a dramatic effect as we start to feel as we are ruining the earth and how we will remember it in the grim future.
Towards the end of the craft I left in was called Esau, the passengers ‘looked back’ in line 20 as they struggle to look ahead. They are still looking back to what they’re leaving behind. She mentions that earth is ‘quite small really’ compared to the rest of the universe. The poet compares Earth to a ‘guesthouse’ and we are just passing time on it but Earth is our permanent home. This gives us a grim warning of what could happen if we are not to careful.
In do you think we’ll ever get to see earth, sir? The speaker says at the end ‘Look at it with the inside of your head, look at it for later, look at it for ever, and look at it once for me’ which suggests that the speaker wished that he/she looked at these simple things the last time they saw them? The speaker regrets not savoring the little moments and this is what Sheenagh Pugh is trying to get over the message to us to look after the earth as we’ll not see it again once it has gone. The language and structure of Sheenagh Pughs poems are to convey that we have to look after earth. She gets this message thought by using language as alliteration like in do you think line 11 ‘should see some’ and similes in the craft I left line 7 ‘people joked neverously; like a plane flight’ to show us what can happen in the near future.