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Makers And Creatures

Vernon Scannell

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Makers and Creatures
Added by: Andrew Mayers
The poem begins by describing the experience of a poet when he sees one of his own poems in print. He then widens this experience to include all people who create and wonders if a carpenter for example, feels the same when he or she sees a piece of old work. The final development is that he wonders the same about God. He may well be pleased with most of his creations, but it is less likely that Man fills him with the same sense of achievement.
The poem is effective partly because of its straightforward informality, shown in such lines as, “My God that’s terrible”. There is a similar informality about the manner in which he treats God at the end of the poem. On the other hand, he can be more traditionally ‘poetic’, especially when wishing to emphasise the particular beauty of God’s creations:

“The swelling inhalation of plump hills,
Plumage of poplars on the pale horizon,
Fishleap flashing in pools cool as silver,”

Here the alliteration of ‘l’ and ‘pl’ sounds serve to emphasise the luxury of God’s creation; and in the last line above, with the repetition of the letter ‘f’ and the changing of pace induced by his control of the length of vowel sounds, Scannell underlines the activity of the fish in an otherwise peaceful scene. Similarly, the short simile in the line: “And birds who spray their song like apple juice” is effective because it suggests both the luxury and sweetness of the birds’ song.

Would anyone agree that Scannell is something of a cross between Hardy and Larkin?

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