‘Calendar’ by Owen Sheers: analysis

Overview

  • A Haiku, if ‘wires’ (L2) is read as a one-syllable word.
  • All Haikus should contain a ‘kigo’ – a word or phrase which denotes what season it is.
  • Purpose: to evoke the natural world using quintessentially human imagery.
  • The seasons progress; progression of humanity. Spring: happy time, harmony, bird song -> winter: sad season, the worst of people, death.
  • ‘Perhaps Sheers’ defense of modern humanity. Reminds us that birds change their environment and build nests in trees; humans simply doing what birds do on a bigger scale. Our tendency to manufacture and change things is natural.

 

Spring

  • Positive link between bird song and the human accomplishment in music.
  • A deeper, more intimate link between nature and humanity.
  • ‘Swallows’: link to previous poem.
  • ‘Crotchet (♩) and minim’: actual music notes.

 

Summer

  • ‘Bees’, ‘lips’, ‘a lover’s first time’: oral sex
  • Likening of bees pollinating and act of cunnilingus.
  • Implying the lustful, bacchanalian* side of human nature.

 

Autumn

  • ‘Fingerprint’: a spider web – both unique and beautiful patterns, a further connection between nature and humanity.

 

Winter

  • ‘Nests’: blood clots
  • ‘Nests’: nesting machine guns in Mametz Wood – humanity at its worst.
  • ‘Veins of the trees’: the tree’s branches.
  • ‘Passing infection’: humanity’s effect on the land.

 

*Bacchanalian – Roman festival of Bacchus, including dancing, drink and orgy.

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