Explore how Report to Wordsworth (by Boey Kim Cheng) powerfully conveys feelings about human destruction of the natural world.

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10 thoughts on “Explore how Report to Wordsworth (by Boey Kim Cheng) powerfully conveys feelings about human destruction of the natural world.

  1. Carolina & Cesare: Explore how Report to Wordsworth (by Boey Kim Cheng) powerfully conveys feelings about human destruction of the natural world.

    The poem Report to Wordsworth by Boey Kim Cheng is particularly effective in conveying the human destruction and the deterioration of planet Earth. Cheng imagines writing a letter to Wordsworth an English poet, nature sensitive who grew up in a rural area constantly in contact with nature. In fact, most of his themes were related to the relationship man/nature. To make the poem effective, Cheng uses a variety of poetic devices.
    Boey Kim Cheng refers directly to Wordsworth: “You should be here, Nature has need of you”. The “you” could also be referred to the reader. Nature is described with a capital N, this adds importance as only proper noun are written with a capital letter. This creates in the reader’s mind a more humanitarian and spiritual image of nature. It is almost as if nature has been personified and brought to life. The effect is of a creation of a link between the reader and Nature which will develop through the poem; this also gives the possibility of using words normally related to human.
    Immediately, nature is described as oppressed and ruined: “she has been laid waste. Smothered by the smog.” This personification of nature shows the importance of nature for the poet and introduces the harmful actions of man towards the natural environment. Through personification again, Cheng describes the “the flowers are mute and the birds are few in the sky” referring to the loss of beauty and of musicality in the surrounding world meaning something has changed. The deaths of the birds are compared to a dying clock: “slowing like a dying clock”. The clock symbolises how the time that passed can’t be retained. The effect is of a drastic ending to nature and the reader will be more and more concerned because as more time passes, we get closer and closer to the end.
    In lines 5-6 there is a positive-negative contrast, the poet refers to the Greek sea-god Proteus who lost all this hopes “all hopes of Proteus rising from the sea have sunk” because “he is entombed in the waste”. The word “entombed” refers to natural destruction and suggests he is hidden in the waste of the sea by the excess of pollution and contamination. This terrible image adds to the sympathy than the reader has in regards of Nature. Referents to ancient Greek Gods continue with: “Triton’s notes struggle to be free”. Triton, God’s messenger used to play a horn, however the dirt and waste is such dense and thick that the notes can’t get out. This metaphor is effective in creating meaning and tragedy as music is poetically linked to a positive aspect of life; by destroying music, symbol for life, man is destroying everything which is good in our world. In fact, his horns are:”chocked and his eyes dazed”. This shows how he is totally paralyzed by the waste.
    The most significant image of this poem is the one referred to Neptune: “and Neptune lies helpless as a beached whale”. It is significant because Neptune is the King of the Seas and so if he is forced on his knees by human pollution, all hopes vanish. With his death comes the end of a reign. The comparison with a whale accentuates what previously said. A whale is a docile animal and people have huge sympathy for it. The death of a whale brings sadness and this highlights the atrocities caused by pollution. The insatiable hunger of man for killing is showed with “while insatiate man moves in for the kill”. This causes the reader to see man as cruel identity.
    Approaching the end of the poem, Boey Kim Cheng is making clear how all hopes are gone: “poetry and pity have begun to fail”. Poetry and Pity, religion, have been for centuries the only way to educate people and if they fail, all humanity is condemned to self-destruction.
    The Ozone layer is for Cheng a big issue, “O see the wound in the sky”. The image of the Ozone whole like a wound creates in the reader’s mind a sense pity.
    The last phrase refers to the The Great Flood in the Bible. “God is laboring to utter his last cry”. The cry symbolises the Flood. Human destruction reached such a high extension that God is preparing for the ultimate decision to restart a new world. The reader might feel scare but at the same time aware that if he doesn’t start to help humanity, our destiny would be a one path way to destruction.

      1. he did it because wordsworth was a british romanticist – he often wrote about the beauty of nature, which clearly contrasts with cheng’s poem. perhaps it was so to strengthen his ideas on destruction and the relationship between man and nature?

  2. Well structured and exposed and concepts of destruction, hoplessness and despair are clearly explained. The poem has been carefully analised and explained. Through the essay’s words the reader is able to feel the poem’s feelings such as despair, sadness and negativity. However, I believe a conclusive part should be added summing up what the question asked so in which way are the feelings conveyed: thorugh language, structure…
    Silvia

  3. The poem starts with “you” this direct addressing makes us feel as part of the whole problem and builds a sense of guilt and sadness. The use of language conveyes powerfully the idea that “we” as humans are responsible for what is happening to the world, we are the ones who should do something to repair the destruction of nature and animal life, we are responsible for it therefore we should pay.The abstract images such as “dying clock” expresses the idea of death, not only of animals and nature and eventually of humans, but the death of time, of all times so it links to the catastrophic end of the world. With this image, feelings of sadness, terror, panic and despair are expressed. The poet is able to convey such feelings of guilt, hopelessness and despiar through the use of studied language, symbolizing ideas and powerful images.
    The initial part is just a sort of “introduction” to the end, the last sentence is the essential part that I thought the essay should include.

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