This is a poem about a memory. The poem describes the writer’s grandmother and the grandmother’s love for antiques and how she had previously had a antique shop, before having to give it up due to her age. The writer describes her emotion – guilt of how she wished she had gone out with her grandmother, and not been too afraid.
The poem is descriptive. The first stanza captures the picture of the antique shop which the grandmother kept. We get the impression that the grandmother was rather lonely since antiques is all she seems to have. – perhaps because these antiques remind her of life when she was younger? The way the grandmother watches her own reflection in the brass suggests that she was lonely. (‘She watched her own reflection in the brass Salvers and silver bowls’) I think because she seemed lonely, it created a sensation of solitude and a strong feeling of emptiness.
In the second stanza, the writer describes her guilt. She describes how she refused to go out with her grandmother. It’s like she did not realise how the grandmother must have felt at the time – but as she looks back – she realises and feels the guilt. As a child – you don’t realise how she might have been hurt by it, which makes the reader feel quite sad for the writer.
In the Third Stanza, the atmosphere of old-loneliness is brought alive – by the writer talking about the smell of the place. (The place smelt old, of things being kept to shut’) Also, the writer describes the smell of absences – which again creates the lonely feeling. The idea of things being kept shut, may describe the Grandmother, due to her loneliness, she may have felt she was kept shut. (‘The smell of absences where shadows come that can’t be polished’) I get the feeling that the grandmother is perhaps more lonely by the third stanza because the reflection that she once used to look at, is not there anymore. (‘There was nothing then to give her own reflection back again.’)
On the last stanza, the writer describes how she felt no grief at all, which gives us the impression that she wasn’t very close to her grandmother. (‘An when she died I felt no grief at all.’). It shows that the only emotion she had was guilt, which is sad for the reader. When the writer speaks about the antiques, (‘Sideboards and cupboards – things she had never used’) she compares it to the relationship she had with her grandmother.
I think that the writer wanted us to think about how when she was a child, she did not realise the loneliness of her grandmother and did not realise how much it would have hurt her, which applies to most children. I think the writer took interest in her grandmother more after she had died, which makes us, as a reader think about spending time with our elders before they die and not to end up like the writer did (‘A wish not to be used’)
Essay on My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings
936 Words4 Pages
My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings
In many of Elizabeth Jennings poems she reflects the difficult personal experiences of her life. Many of her poems deal with themes of family, friendship, suffering, loneliness and religious experiences, without them being too sentimental. In this poem Elizabeth Jennings has set it out in four stanzas. Where each stanza tells a part to her story. Elizabeth Jennings is talking about her own experiences with her grandmother. The poem is a memory of her childhood and she is looking back at it.
People have lots of different opinions about what a Grandmother is supposed to be like. Some people think that they should be caring to others, loving to their…show more content…
She kept lots of antiques. She kept so many of them that they became to dictate your life. She has a great relationship and a passion with her possessions. This can be found in Line 1.
'She kept an antique shop - or it kept her.
Among Apostle spoons and Bristol glass,
The faded silks, the heavy furnitureâ€¦'
In the antique shop there was heavy furniture, which had been faded over the years. There was a good atmosphere in the shop. She polished the objects and antiques very well. It was a well-run shop. When she looks in the brass she sees her own reflection. She has a better relationship with the shop than any of her family, or friends. This can be found in Line 4.
'She watched her own reflection in the brass
Slavers and silver bowls, as if to prove
Polish was all, there was no need for love.'
In the second stanza, Elizabeth is describing a particular incident that happened in her childhood. This can be found in Line 7.
'And I remember how I once refused
To go out with her, since I was afraid.
It was perhaps a wish not to be used
Like antique objectsâ€¦'
Her Grandmother asked her Granddaughter if she would go out with her but she refused and thought her Grandmother would own her but not love her. She felt abstinent, and felt she should have gone with her,