How do you view old age? Two different views are explored “At the Crossroads”. Describe the view of old age as portrayed in “Old Man Old Man” and “Warning” and show how the poets convey their different viewpoints. Show clearly which poem you identify with more and why. You could also refer to any other poems to support your views. I personally think of old age as another step in my life but I feel afraid of what might happen. I straight away think of dying and how scared I am at the thought of it.
Being old to me means loneliness, having no one around to help when I need it, no one to laugh with me or be there when I am feeling down and need cheering up. I can picture myself as being frail walking croaked with a stick down the road. I am determined in myself not to grow old like that. I am actually looking forward to being old, going to Bingo and I won’t be able to wait for Thursday to come. YES!! Pension day. I think that I could relate myself to both of the poems, “Warning” and “Old Man Old Man”. In the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph you the reader are invited into the poem to share the rebellious thoughts of the narrator.
I feel that this poem makes you think a lot about what you want when you are old. I think that the poem’s message is that when you are old you must behave yourself and set an example to others but really you should what ever makes you feel happy not what you ought to do. I feel that the first verse of the poem is like a checklist of things that I must do when I am old and when I have achieved these things I can tick them off one by one. This verse is very ambitious and imaginative. The narrator has so many things that she wishes to do when she is older. “I shall wear purple,”
“Spend pension Money on Brandy,” “Pick the flowers in other people’s gardens. ” “Learn to spit. ” Fiona Trout All this is very typical behaviour you would expect from a sloppy, ignorant teenager. You would think for an older member of the public to act in such a way would be improper. I admire the lady for forgetting her image of what people may think of her and getting on with life, living it to the “max”!! Whether she is old or as young as myself. The poem then moves on to a more serious note and the language changes from “I shall” to “You can”. Now the poet has invited the reader into the poem.
The narrator says that you can do what you like as long as it makes you happy. She says “Eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and butter for a week. ” These lines are I think in good contrast to each other. The narrator is really saying that it doesn’t matter what you do or eat as long as you are happy. In the next verse the language changes to “We must”. We must do what we should be polite and set a good example. It is suggesting we must behave proper. “We must have clothes that keep us dry Pay our rent not swear And set a good example for the children. ”
The last verse goes back to her with “I ought”. This verse is reflecting the beginning. I hope to grow old like this and do what makes me happy. I don’t want to have to care about what others think. In the poem Old Man Old Man it explores the changing relationship between the narrator and an old man (possibly her father). The changes brought about by the old man are of growing older. They are conveyed by U. A. Fanthorpe use of oppositions e. g. the past and the present. I relate to the poem through how I think loneliness will affect my life when growing older. The poem starts with
“A man who did-it-himself. ” Suggesting that his old age has stopped him doing things that he used to be able to do. Fiona Trout His old age is making him forget familiar things such as family faces. “Your wife could replace on the walls those pictures of disinherited children. ” He is beginning to loose his sight and grip, generally loosing all co-ordination “Now his hands shamble among clues He left for himself when he saw better. And small things distress: I’ve lost the hammer. ” In the following verses the poet concentrates on the Old Man’s past and he used to be “Lord once of shed, garage and garden.
” She picks up on all of his good points and tells the reader of everything that he knows a lot of. “World authority on twelve different Sorts of glue, connoisseur of nut And bolts, not good with daughters. ” She then changes the tone to critical and allows the reader to stop and think about this man. At this point I feel this man has let his obsession for bits and bobs over take his life and he has forgotten all about his family and daughters. The poet tells us he is restricted to an area he is only able to do because he is not as fit as what he used to be. “Self-demoted in your nineties to washing-up
After supper. ” She is saying you are now to frail to do the things you used to be able to do and you are now only good enough to do the washing-up but are not even brilliant at doing that as the poet says “Missing crusted streaks of food on plates. ” The narrator begins to talk to the old man asking does he know he has changed. He is still the same person but you have forgotten the past. “Have you forgotten the jokes you no longer tell, as you forget if you’ve smoked your timetabled cigarette. ” The poet changes the tense now as she has been writing mainly in the past but now she is looking to the future.
“Now you ramble in your talk. ” Fiona Trout The narrator is beginning to understand the old man. She knows what he was and what he now is. She feels as though she can look after him and give him her love. “I can see you. ” But the line carries on and changes it around so now it looks though he said it in a blurred vision. “I can see you, You said to me, but only as a cloud. ” The final verse is a conclusion and the narrator is saying she wants to be with the old man to make up for the years he missed out on, seeing his daughter grow up. “Let me find your hammer. Let me Walk with you to Drury Lane. I am only a cloud. ”
She is telling him she doesn’t want him to feel as though he now has to rely on her because she is only a cloud. I found this poem a lot different to “Warning” because in that poem it more about looking forward to old age whereas in this poem it is more about old age and how growing old affects you e. g. memory loss, becoming frail and you are restricted to what you can do. This poem also takes the feelings of others into consideration and not just about what you want. I feel that both poems are made to make the reader think of old age in two perceptions a) what you want from old age and b) what you actually get from old age.