???Each poet depicts home as a happy place, what is there in the poems that show this??? you ask Well I am about to answer that. In two poems, ???Piano??™ and ???John Mouldy??™, the poets describe home in their poems which can be happy or an unhappy depending on a point of view taken. Looking at Piano, the poet is talking about a memory he has, of him as a child sitting under a piano. He seems to talk about his mother and fills the poem full of his nostalgic past, compared to John Moudly, the poet uses a man he has dubbed ???John Moudly??? as his subject, he sees John Moudly being content in his cellar as he describes him as ???a-smiling???, while in Piano, he ???weeps like a child??? for his past, contrast being content with one??™s life as it is and showing a melancholic emotion to want to go back to the past, where home can be what it is now or what it was before.
We can see the subject matter in a bland sense from the title, being ???Piano??™, which doesn??™t explain a lot but we are aware a piano is somewhere in this poem, but more so, we can find the subject matter but the language used and by context of the poem. The poet talks about him in the first stanza looking at himself as a child under a piano and sees his mother smiling and singing. The poet mentions a ???vista of years??? and this gives me the image of a beach side house as a vista is view and as it can give an image of say a beach to me, where beaches are usually filled with happiness, we can find this to be a happy moment in this life but reading on we see it mentions ???a vista of years??? meaning his memories, so the question is, what is home to him Looking at this, his home is his memories, his past, going back to when he was a child and he sees his mother smiling. The rhyme of the poem goes by a normal aabb couplet rhyme scheme which adds to a musical sense, backing up the poem??™s title as a piano is used to play music, and adding a sense of child like nostalgia, if we remember nursery rhymes, they have a rhyme scheme of either aabb or abab, the use of enjambments and caesuras, the poem takes a song like quality and music can take someone back to their memories, in their mind. The poem is in three quatrains with two rhyming couplets in each, this can be seen as structured into a song where each section is a verse talking about an overall subject.
The poet mentions in the second stanza ???with winter outside/ and the hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.??? Shows warmth to the parlour, with the piano again. We, as the reader, can find this to be a portrayal of home. Home tends to have warmth, safety and comfort; this contrasts to the winter outside which can have a cold, danger and perhaps discomfort, Where we all find home to be a place of happiness and comfort, the poet mentions this in the quote I have stated and with mention to the piano, it shows that music tends to revolve in his family home, and it seems to strengthen a relationship he has with his mother who in the start was smiling ???as she sings??? and his mother can also be the woman who is singing, taking him back to this memory. The mood of the poem is quite melancholic and nostalgic and this can reflect back that he is now an adult, he ???weeps like a child for the past.??? Showing that his life now, as an adult, is quite depressing and he is nowhere near his home, but looking back at his past, he cries because he sees that as his home and he wants to go back, to a simpler happier time filled with music.
Since music is played on a piano and can take someone??™s back to their memories, we can be led to believe that the image of the piano being his home, his home can have a piano and his past seems to be filled with music which can be brought out from his diction using words such as hymn, piano, boom, tinkling, sings and more. In Piano the poet??™s home is his childhood, like with all of us, we wish to go home and nowhere else. The saying goes ???there is no place like home??? and when he ???weep(s)??¦ for the past.??? We see that he seems to want to go back but he can??™t.
???John Mouldy??™ is about a person who saw a man he has dubbed ???John Moudly??? in a cellar, he seems him sitting there each day, smiling. Now, John Mouldy is seen ???a-smiling??? form the start towards the end. This shows that John Mouldy is very content with his life in his home being his cellar. The atmosphere of the poem is in John Mouldy??™s cellar, from the imagery we get, we see him as being in a mausoleum like area with the line ???deep down twenty steps of stone;??? which gives the poem a unpleasant scene.
We get an impression from John Moudly??™s life from a child who seems to have a life more advanced then that of John Mouldy, we see that John Mouldy??™s life seems depressing and lonely when mentioned ???smiling there alone??? and ???He read no book,??? which seems to weird to us as we have friends and family we have around us so we are never alone, showing our life is different from John Mouldy??™s, we find this to be a sad home being ???bleak and grim??? with even the brightest star, the ???Dog-star??? shining, not lifting the scene and making it happier, it is more depressing as this is an impression given from the child, where if John Moudly were to describe his life to us, I doubt it would be depressing and in a obscure tone but more of a happy tone. This can be found as everyone??™s home is different, another saying being ???a house can??™t be a home??? or something along those lines, where your friend??™s home is not like your home. John Mouldy??™s way of life is bleak, grim, dark, depressing and lonely as we see it and this adds a chill to our spine.
The language of ???John Mouldy??™ is a simply, child-like language, with the imagery being deathly throughout the poem. This can easily give us a first impression of his life. A child is ignorant of the concept of sympathy, and ignorant of the knowledge that everyone has different home, we find it that John Mouldy is insane, sitting there alone. The diction used would again contrast if John Mouldy were to tell this to us, words such as cellar, bleak, grim, rats and stone give a sense of loneliness, it is simple, and it is like a horror story to children. With usage of ???the rats ran in, the rats ran out;??? can be seen as related to child nursery rhymes such as ???hickory dickory dock, the mice ran up the clock??? or even ???three blind mice??? but, instead of using mice, he uses rats which give a different image to the reader compared to mice. An image of sick and disease, and decay, while mice, compared to those nursery rhymes can give an image of ???Aw, they??™re so cute.??? Where as we see a rat, we immediately go towards disgust. When mentioning, ???He read no book, he snuffed no candle;??? shows his lack of activity and less of a home-like atmosphere, since John Mouldy doesn??™t do any of this, we see this as strange and obscure. We feel as if John Mouldy has no home, it adds to an atmosphere of nothing being there for you, looking back at ???Piano??™, he mentions his home as cosy, showing warmth, comfort and safety but a lack of even a home-like atmosphere shows that there is no warmth, comfort or safety to John Mouldy from our point of view.
The rhythm is rather simple, it can be seen as slowly walking down a pathway to go and spy on John Mouldy, and of children skipping, it is like children chanting this on and on. The rhyme scheme follows an abcb rhyme scheme, without a simple rhythm, as in no iambic or trochaic pentameter. The poem is written in a traditional ballad form, it is musical and tells a story, compared to say a folk ballad, we remember this story from a memorable rhythm. This seems to also appear from a musical rhythm of ???I spied John Mouldy.??? Which seems to go back to a child??™s game of ???I spy with my little eye.???
Seeing as this is written for children, we can assume that it is to make children feel happy to see that they have a life different from John Mouldy??™s where they should say something like ???Thank God, my life is not like John Mouldy??™s. I have friends and books.??? The ballad form is supposed to seem to make children remember this word for word and then in the end contrast their life with that of John Mouldy and look back at it, since the rhythm is memorable, and a rhyme scheme of abcb, it is song-like where people memorise songs easily.
As I have mentioned before, there is a slight contrast in the poem, the voice of the poem talks about John Mouldy being alone, in a cellar, with rats, which can carry disease, with no books to read and no candle around, we find this strange but if John Mouldy were to explain it to us, he would describe his home to be very content and happy, as mentioned he was ???smiling there alone.??? He would describe his life as something happy, something he likes. He would enjoy the rats, the lack of books, and no candle. He would enjoy the dark and cold, the bleak and grim.
Looking at both poems we find they both seem to contrast. Piano talks about him lamenting for the past, he wants to go back to the past where he is happy. John Mouldy, instead doesn??™t go to the past, instead seems to compare their life with that of John Mouldy, the voice of the poem does not relent to the past, they do not wish to go back to a happier time but to compare their home with John Mouldy??™s home. Language in both poems are different, in Piano, he uses musical diction which compliments the title of the poem and where his home is shown by music of hymns in a cosy parlour contrasting to winter, where one is warm and safe and the other is cold and dangerous. In John Mouldy, the language is childlike, it is addressed to children showing the life of John Mouldy as being sad and lonely, it is like a child??™s rhyme, with a simple choice of words as compared to piano. In piano we find that the image of the piano is home to the poet but in John Mouldy, the voice??™s home is not like John Mouldy??™s home. Poets tend to show home being a happy place rather than an unhappy one. With a lack of a home bringing unhappiness.