The Sense of Sadness and Loss Expressed in the Two Poems, On My First Sonne and Refugee Mother and Child

The Sense of Sadness and Loss Expressed in the Two Poems, On My First Sonne and Refugee Mother and Child

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The two poems successfully bring about the emotions of sadness and loss by conflicting feelings dealing with death. Both the poems are narrated from the parent’s view addressing his or her child that has died or is about to, and this brings about emotions of grief in the reader as well.

The two poems set the mood and atmosphere in the first stanza. In “Refugee mother and child” Chinua Achebe says “for a son she would soon have to forget” brings about sadness and loss because she cannot do anything about it and tells the reader the poem is about a dying son she cannot save. The reader can imagine what she is going through as a mother watching her child knowing he is about to die soon. In the poem “On my first sonne” the first thing the father says is the word “farewell” and from this the reader can tell the poem is about the father bidding farewell to his treasured son. In the same way Chinua Achebe tries to bring about sadness so does Ben Johnson as they both watch what they have lost or are about to loose.

‘On my first sonne’ and ‘Refugee mother and child’ both have many biblical allusions and the first poem refers to the relationship between Jesus and God because the child was Ben Jonson’s first born just like Jesus and God. In the first stanza Chinua Achebe says “no Madonna and Child could touch that picture of a mother’s tenderness” is a metaphor and refers to Mother Mary and Jesus when he was a child, it also is a comparison between a regular “mother and child” and a “helpless mother and child” which brings about sadness.

Both poems show that the parent’s sons meant a lot to them and their death caused a great deal of heartache and pain. In the poem “On my first sonne” Ben Jonson says “my sinne was too much hope of...


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...otions of grief and sorrow for these parents that lost or are about to loose someone very close to them. The parents have a few things in common; they both talk about loosing their sons and it is from the parents view, they are also both on a sad note, the theme of death is vivid throughout both the poems. “Refugee mother and child” does not have much punctuation which is effective because it makes the reader think about the meanings behind these lines.

Even though “Refugee mother and child” is more applicable and easy to understand for me “On my first sonne” was better, it is well written because it has many visual images. What I like best about this poem is that Ben Jonson does not only look at the negativity he also looks at the positive part that his son might be in a better place so the reader gets to feel mixed emotions which I found very interesting.


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