Category Archives: IGCSE English Literature

Hunting Snake – Judith Wright

Summary The poet and her companion were walking on a pleasant autumn day when they see a black snake that speeds past, intent on catching its prey. The rest of the poem concentrates on the reactions of the poet and her companion. As they stood still taken aback by the sudden appearance of the snake… Read More »

Horses – Edwin Muir

Summary The poet one evening happens to see farm horses, those powerful shaggy animals working the plough and something jolts his memory and he recalls his earlier fear of these animals. As a child, Edwin Muir lived in the Orkney Islands where animals like Shetland ponies were used regularly as farm animals. As a child,… Read More »

Continuum – Allen Curnow

Summary Allen Curnow is a poet from New Zealand who has contributed much to the recognition of poetry from New Zealand. He trained initially to be a priest like his father but later assailed by doubts turned to journalism instead. He says that his poetry deals with “questions that are always private and unanswerable” Continuum… Read More »

Pied Beauty – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Summary The poet says in this poem, that we should be thankful to God for all the multi-coloured things that he has given us – things that are freckled, spotted, dappled and chequered. They make life colourful and are proof of God’s infinite creativity. The blue and white sky, the double coloured cow, the rainbow… Read More »

Summer Farm – Norman McCaig

Summary Summer farm by Norman McCaig is an intensely metaphysical poem. Many of the description are not meant to be taken literally but there are hidden meanings and significance to them. Much of what is in the poem is about himself and his position in the universe. The poet is an intensely contemplative person and… Read More »

The Planners – Boey Kim Cheng

Summary The poem The Planners echoes the sentiments expressed in The City Planners by Margaret Atwood. While Atwood objects to the soulless uniformity, Cheng find the unchecked expansion a source of annoyance. Cheng probably wrote his poem about Singapore, one of the most densely populated cities where every square inch is built up. In the… Read More »

The City Planners – Margaret Atwood

Summary Margaret Atwood finds the identical houses of suburbia offending to the eye. There is nothing to set one house apart from another. The houses look like clones of each other, even the trees are uniform and the roads are so level, they seem to be rebuking the dent on their car. The houses seem… Read More »

The Cockroach – Kevin Halligan

Summary This poem by Kevin Halligan is about the antics of a cockroach that crawls about the flooring in a room. Though on the face of it, the poem describes the aimlessness of the insect, it applies to humans in general and to the narrator in particular. The cockroach, circumspect at first, becomes almost giddy… Read More »

The Woodspurge – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Summary Using simple but forceful language consisting almost entirely of monosyllables, Dante Gabriel Rossetti is able to recreate a moment of intense personal grief and contemplation. Nowhere in the poem is it mentioned why the narrator is grief stricken. He wanders aimlessly, going where the wind leads him. Finally he flops down, it is not… Read More »

A Birthday – Christina Rossetti

Summary   In marked contrast to her other love poems, A Birthday by Christina Rossetti, is an exuberant poem that celebrates a fulfilled love that brings great joy. In a series of brilliant and densely beautiful comparisons, the poet says that her heart is full. It is like a singing bird, an apple bough laden… Read More »