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Big Poppy

Big Poppy


by Ted Hughes

Analysis: Sound Check

Despite all the adjective-piling that we talk about in the "Calling Card" section of this analysis, this poem is actually full of pauses and shorter sentences. A lot of the lines are end-stopped, which means either that a sentence ends at the end of a line, or that the line ends with some other kind of punctuation that indicates that you should pause – a comma, or a hyphen.

So even in the middle of the longer sentences, we find ourselves taking a fair number of breaths. This makes the poem breathy, literally, which adds to its sex appeal (see "Sex Rating" – yipes!), and also slows the poem down just enough to keep it from becoming disorganized and entirely over-the-top. It produces, in other words, a kind of intensity that's somehow both hot as fire (the imagery helps with that one a good bit – see lines 10, 13-15) and quietly frantic. Think of someone whispering juicy gossip; you know, that kind of loud, excited whisper that fairly bubbles over with "get a load of THIS!"

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