Unseen Poetry - Initial impressions



Look again at Urban Pastoral and note down your initial impressions. Think about the following:

• What’s the effect of the title?
• What’s happening?
• Who’s speaking?
• What type of poem is it?
• What’s the tone?
• Are there any striking images being used?
• Is there a specific structure/form being used?
• What are some of the ideas considered in the poem?

Click on the suggestions button to compare your ideas.

Urban Pastoral

More domestic than elegant, leaves and pigeons
Hedge the dazzle beyond. Green, dust,
A purple strutting, screen the river's march.
The walks are for pigeons and ladies
Like parched pigeons, avoiding the bench where a tramp
Rustily sleeps. The carriages in the park
Are babies' now; children make all the traffic.
Spring brightly traveling, summer half awake,
Here the afternoon city plays at being
A dream of summer's: gaiety in repose,
Lazily festive as poster holidays,
A dream. Crossed by the tramp, rousing.
On paths where sparrows edge to snatch the bread
Crumbed for the humbled pigeons, the holiday
Is broken and scattered. Yet a strong green still
Throngs the boughs; and the river, preened, goes twinkling
Past all these birds, on to the salt sea.

Babette Deutsch

  • incongruity of the title linking two different ideas: ‘urban’ and ‘pastoral’;
  • strong sense of description;
  • recurring use of birds, particularly pigeons;
  • ideas of spring;
  • use of repetition;
  • mixture of disparaging and complimentary comments.