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Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

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Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

The two poems that I wish to compare are both about relationships,

"Long distance" by Tony Harrison and "My grandmother" by Elizabeth

Jennings. Both are about family and grief which they explore through

the theme of death. The speaker of the poems talks about the loss of a

relationship that had once existed. "Long distance" has a much closer

relationship theme than "My grandmother". Long distance focuses on

love that does not end with death and it continues however "My

grandmother" focuses on the miss of love that could have been there.

Both of the two poems are about the lack of acceptance and memory. In

"Long Distance" the father who kept the dead wife's memory so alive:

'Still went to renew her transport pass. In "My grandmother" the

rejection of the grandchild is also perhaps considered as a memory

however as regret: 'I remember how I once refused'. "Long Distance"

looks at the time and how the poet's father has lack of control of the

time: "mother was already two years dead, Dad kept her slippers'. The

'antiques' from "my Grandmother" can be also be compared to the use of

objects from the past and how it can be kept forever, nevertheless

it's not possible to do so with people, because they die but they

would be kept as a memory.

The tones of the poems are quite different to one another but have one

thing in common which was love that was given to two dissimilar

things. "My Grandmother" shows resentment and guilt, the grandmother

did not invest her time in her grandchild or anyone as she was

preoccupied with her antiques "it kept her". She...

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but not as the role she should have played in the poet's life and the

relationship that should have been there, but which the poet regrets.

"Long distance" is a metaphor that is being used as the title of the

poem. The people who have died are actually gone however it's not the

end and the relationship that is going on is a distant relationship

which they shall never see each of them again. 'the disconnected

number I still call' is ambiguous, the poet either rings the father

not realizing he's dead, or rings to talk but he's not there.

Both poems look at the remembrance deeply "long distance" the memory

of them in his mind 'my new black leather phone book there's your

name' and in "My grandmother" the grief the poet did not have over her

death but the memory of 'things she never used but needed', the

antiques.
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