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AQA Poetry Anthology - Power and Conflict

An overview.

The Poetry Anthology is a key part of your GCSE.  The Power and Conflict theme contains fifteen poems which can all be linked to power and/or conflict in some way.  However, the theme of power and conflict is broader than you may think.  Not all of the poems are about war and physical conflict (though some indeed are).  

You will be examined on the Poetry Anthology, as well as Unseen Poetry as part of Paper 2 (sections B and C).

On this page we will provide a brief overview of Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology including:

  • A list of all the poems included.
  • A summary of what you’ll need to know for the exam.
  • An overview of the main themes that link the poems including an easy reference grid.

Once you’ve been through each poem this should enable you to quickly and easily identify which poems compare well for which theme.

As part of the Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology you will study the following poems:

  • Ozymandias  by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • London  by William Blake
  • Extract from The Prelude  by William Wordsworth
  • My Last Duchess  by Robert Browning
  • Charge of the Light Brigade  by Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Exposure  by Wilfred Owen
  • Storm on the Island  by Seamus Heaney
  • Bayonet Charge  by Ted Hughes
  • Remains by Simon Armitage
  • Poppies by Jane Weir
  • War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Tissue by Imtiaz Dharker
  • The Emigree by Carol Rumens
  • Checking Out Me History by John Agard
  • Kamikaze by Beatrice Garland

Our site is still growing, but where we have got resources available to help you analyse a specific poem, these are available by clicking the links above.  Clicking on a link will re-direct you to a page dedicated to that poem.  Don’t worry, we’ll have more resources coming soon.  In the meantime we’ve included links for other useful resources at the bottom of this page.

What you need to know about the exam

Paper 2 Section B will contain the question on the Poetry Anthology.

The paper will contain one poem from the poetry anthology, printed in full.  You will then be asked to compare this poem to one other poem from the anthology based on a particular theme.   You will have free choice as to which poem you choose as your comparison poem.  

You will not be told beforehand what poem you will be given in the exam nor will you be told the particular theme they will ask you about.  It will therefore be important for you to have a thorough understanding of all fifteen of the poems before you head into the exam.

Answering the question

The question on the Poetry Anthology is worth 30 marks and should take you around 40-45 minutes to answer. 

To score higher marks in the question you will need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of both the poem presented, as well as the poem you link it to.  It won’t be enough just to discuss the poem presented.

Learning key quotes from each poem is important; for each poem try to record a couple of key quotes for each theme.  The examiner will be looking for quotes that are relevant to your analysis, not a whole raft of quotes with no link to the theme you are asked about. Quality vs quantity is an important point.

Your answer should always start with an introduction which gives a summary of the poem and how the theme from the question is relevant.  You should then introduce your comparative poem, explaining why this poem is also relevant to the theme.

The way you structure the rest of your essay is up to you but there are a couple of options available:

Keeping them separate

Some students prefer to keep their analysis of each poem separate.  Answering the question in this way enables you to think solely about one poem at a time, which means you’re more likely to cover all your points.  Y ou’re likely to need 2-3 solid paragraphs on each poem after your introduction.

The combined approach

Another way of structuring an answer is to split your paragraphs between language, structure and form and write about both poems in each paragraph. 

You may find you use more than one paragraph for each element, so answering in this way is not necessarily going to give you a shorter, more concise answer.  

Again, you could pre-prepare answers in this way by pre-selecting which poems you would compare and ensuring you’re comfortable with the relevant points you would make in each of the key areas.

Don't forget your conclusion

Whichever style you choose you should always aim to include a final conclusion paragraph which summarises the key areas included within your answer; aim to set how effective the two poems are at portraying the given themes and highlight key differences in the approaches the poets take.

The themes covered

The fifteen poems within the poetry anthology all contain links to power and or conflict, in some way.  For some poems, the reference to power and/or conflict will be obvious, but for others you will need to dig a little deeper into the poem to find the reference.  Even for those poems where you think the reference is obvious, you may also find unexpected/hidden themes the more you look.

A synopsis of the main themes you’ll be asked to consider are set out below.

Conflict and war

The references to war in some poems are obvious and cannot be missed.  Examples would include Bayonet Charge and Charge of the Light Brigade.  However, don’t be fooled by the very obvious references about fighting and weapons, as these direct references to conflict are not the only reason why these poems have been included in the poetry anthology. 

As you work your way through the anthology you’ll come across more subtle references to conflict and war which may include:

  • The futility of war.
  • The impact of war on the people that fight it.
  • The impact of war on those that are left behind.
  • Conflict between those with power and those without.
  • How war is decided by those with power, but fought by those without.
  • The level of destruction that war brings.

Inequality and oppression

Conflict often comes about because of inequality and this is a theme that runs through a few of the poems in the anthology.  Within the poems there are references to inequality in numerous way including: 

  • Financial inequality – the inequity that arises between the rich and the poor.
  • Sexual inequality – the inequity between men and women.
  • Inequalities as a result of status – inequities brought about by different social classes.
  • Abuse of power by others – including organisations as well as individuals.
  • Personal abuse – how sometimes our own thoughts and beliefs cause conflict.
  • The belief that power is and always will be everything.

The power of humans

The abuse of power and corruption by humans is a common theme amongst many of the poems in the poetry anthology.  Some examples are:

  • Human desire for power can be destructive.
  • A desire for power can be great, but power itself is not everlasting and other things in life are more important.
  • Power and in particular, abuse of power leads to oppression and abuse.
  • The inequity between social classes can have a marked impact on society.
  • Individuals and institutions have a responsibility to wield their power appropriately, as corruption amongst the powerful means the under-privileged are exploited. 

The power of nature

Many of the poems in the power and conflict poetry anthology contain a strong link to nature, and illustrate how despite some of the best efforts of humans, nature will always be more powerful.  

Some key ideas related to this theme are:

  • Nature holds ultimate power over humans and will always leave them humbled.
  • The power of nature is ever-lasting and it will out-survive any efforts by mankind to tame it.
  • Nature can be a destructive force.

The power of memories and loss

The concept of memory and power is also a key theme in many poems in the anthology:

  • Power may seem important in the moment, but it doesn’t last. Power is fleeting.
  • Those that had power are forgotten with time.
  • The power of memories should not be under-estimated.  Memories with negative connections can impact mental health and wellbeing.
  •  Losing your liberty and things you hold dear.
  • The loss of those around you.

Personal identity

Power and conflict is also linked to identity, and can be a formative part:

  • The loss of ones personal identity can lead to inner conflict.
  • The identity of the lower-classes can be oppressed by those in power.

Comparing poems

The table shown below indicates which of the themes above are relevant to each of the poems in the poetry anthology. 

Use this to help plan which poems you would choose to compare for each theme when preparing for your exam.

Further resources

Listed below is a list of resources we found useful, and we hope you will too.

  • Mr Bruff YouTube Channel
  • Power and Conflict  Poetry Analysis by the Bicester School
  • Physics and Maths Tutor
  • Snap Revision by Collins  (from Amazon)

Table showing themes for the power and conflict poetry anthology

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AQA Power and Conflict Poetry – GCSE English Revision Guide

Aqa power and conflict poetry – what you need to know.

Many of our students are studying the Power and Conflict collection in the AQA Poetry Anthology. There are some challenging, but really interesting poems in this selection. To help you we’ve added our notes and analysis of the poems in this guide.  Keep reading to find everything you need to know about the AQA Power and Conflict Poetry for GCSE English. There is quite a lot of excellent information in this guide, so we’ve added links to each of the poems in the introduction below. You can use these to jump to your favourite poems!

You can also check out the personalised GCSE English support we provide through one-to-one tuition . Lessons can take place online or face-to-face in your home. To start, simply send us a quick message to book your trial lesson.

  • Ozymandias – Percy Shelley
  • London – William Blake
  • Extract from, The Prelude – William Wordsworth
  • My Last Duchess – Robert Browning
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade – Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Exposure – Wilfred Owen
  • Storm on the Island – Seamus Heaney
  • Bayonet Charge – Ted Hughes
  • Remains – Simon Armitage
  • Poppies – Jane Weir
  • War Photographer – Carol Ann Duffy
  • Tissue – Imtiaz Dharker
  • The Emigree – Carol Rumens
  • Checking Out Me History – John Agard
  • Kamikaze – Beatrice Garland

Ozymandias (Percy Shelley)- AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Percy Shelley (1792-1822) is one of the most famous poets of all time. He was part of an influential group of poets known as The Romantics. Shelley had a pretty wild early life. He came from a very wealthy family and was in line to inherit a fortune. However, Oxford University expelled him for writing about atheism and, as a result, his father later disinherited him. At around the same time he married and eloped to the Lake District. A few years later he set off around Europe with a different woman, Mary Shelley (who would go on to write Frankenstein). Percy Shelley later drowned while on a sailing trip to Italy. 

Shelley had quite radical views. One interpretation of Ozymandias is that the poem criticises people or organisations that become too big and powerful and think they can’t be challenged. 

 The speaker tells us that they met a traveller from an ancient land and that they told him the story contained in the poem. The traveller had come across the remains of a big statue in the desert.  This statue was shattered and partly covered by the sand. On the foot of the statue were the words: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!” – showing the huge pride and arrogance of Ozymandias. The words and the arrogance of the king seem meaningless now – to the speaker and the reader – as the statue is a ruin and nothing of Ozymandias’ power remains. 

Ozymandias is a sonnet, but it is slightly unusual as it doesn’t have the same rhyme scheme or punctuation that most sonnets use. In Ozymandias there is often an irregular rhyme and punctuation splits some of the lines. The poem is written in iambic pentameter. 

You only hear the speaker’s own words for the first line and a half up to the colon. After that the words are those of the traveller. The poem is one 14-line stanza, split up with plenty of punctuation. 

Although the rhyme scheme isn’t completely regular it is quite powerful in places. For example the final words of line one and three (land / sand) rhyme and so do the first and last words of line three (stand /sand). This use of rhyme adds emphasis and creates a powerful image of the shattered statue.  Similarly the rhyme in lines 12 and 14 (decay / away) end the poem with a sense of emptiness and destruction. 

The core image in this poem is that of the huge statue which now lies in ruins. Shelley creates a really effective image for the reader, with the remains surrounded by desert. This emphasises the fact that the once great power of Ozymadias has completely gone. 

Shelley is most likely using the image and example of Ozymadias and his statue to give a general interpretation of political power and public opinion. The key ideas here are that: 

  • even those who seem to be the most powerful will eventually fall; 
  • time eventually overcomes even the most powerful; and
  • art and literature are where the true, lasting power lies – the statue itself and the words inscribed on it have long outlasted Ozymandias. 

Ozymandias - AQA power and conflict poetry

Check out more of our great free revision guides on our learn online page . Or read on to revise all of your Power and Conflict poems.

London (William Blake) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

London was published in 1794. Blake was appalled by the terrible conditions and poverty he saw in London. The French Revolution is important context for this poem. In 1789 the French people overthrew their monarchy and aristocracy. Many people in England saw the French Revolution as a good example to follow, a way for ordinary people to take power and make society more equal. In this poem Blake implies that the awful conditions for ordinary people in London could trigger a revolution.  Blake also didn’t like established religion in Europe because it failed to help poor people, especially children who had to work in bad conditions. Blake refers to this directly in London,  “ every black’ning church appals” . 


Blake describes a journey through London and describes the awful living conditions that the speaker sees across the city. At the start, the poem criticises the laws around ownership referring to the “charter’d Thames’ and the ‘charter’d street”. Here Blake refers to how the rich and powerful own everything in London. Blake goes on to criticise the church for not doing enough to help the poor. The final stanza discusses the horrors of prostitution and sexually transmitted disease. 

Form and Structure

London is written in a very regular way and resembles a song. Each of the four stanzas offers a snapshot of an aspect of life in the city. 

There is a strict, regular rhyme scheme – ABAB in each of the four stanzas. 

Blake uses repetition to emphasise important points. “Charter’d” is repeated in the first stanza to show how everything in the city is owned by the rich and powerful. The repetition of “Marks” in stanza two shows the physical marks and scars on people due to their living conditions. It also has a double meaning as it could suggest the speaker recording (or ‘marking’) what he saw on the journey through London.  

The tone of the poem is sombre and in some ways almost biblical (reflecting Blake’s interest in religion and how annoyed he is that the church isn’t addressing the conditions). 

Blake uses lots of negative language throughout the poem. See if you can pick out some examples. 

There is some powerful imagery in this poem. In stanza two Blake introduces the idea of “mind-forg’d manacles” (or handcuffs). With this Blake suggests that the structure of the society imprisons ordinary people’s minds. They can’t think freely and escape the terrible poverty they’re in. 

The poem ends with the strong image of a ‘marriage hearse’. This is an oxymoron as marriage is a celebration of love and new life, where as a hearse is associated with funerals. Blake shows how the poverty, prostitution and STDs he has described will bring nothing but death and decay. 

Blake wrote London as a pessimistic poem reflecting his horror at the living conditions of ordinary people in the capital. He reflects on how the powerful institutions – the monarchy, aristocracy and church – have done nothing to alleviate the poverty and poor conditions. 

Extract from The Prelude (William Wordsworth)

This is an extract from a long, autobiographical poem in 14 sections. Wordsworth worked on this poem throughout his life and his wife published it shortly after his death. Wordsworth was born in the Lake District and the geography of the area played a big role in his writing. These influences appear in the vivid images of this poem. As a young adult Wordsworth travelled around Europe at the time of the French Revolution, again this major event informed his writing. Wordsworth was on the “Romantic” poets. 

The poem covers some big themes about “man, nature and society”. Wordsworth is exploring his own spiritual growth as he comes to terms with who he is and what his place is in the world, particularly in relation to the natural world and its power.  At face value the poem describes how Wordsworth went out in a boat on a lake, late at night, alone, and how the awesome sights of natural power (e.g. the mountain peak) affected him. The experience then troubles him and causes him to reflect over the coming days. 

The Prelude  is an epic poem in terms of its length. Epic poems are very long and usually cover heroic events like war, great explorations or slaying mythical beasts. Most of the events in the prelude don’t fall into this category. They are quite ordinary, but they become ‘epic’ because of the effects they have on the speaker’s life and how he views the world. 

The writing is continuous, with no stanzas. Wordsworth uses lots of punctuation to help the reader ‘break up the poem’. Although only an extract from the main poem, this section is a full story in itself. 

The poem is written in blank verse (non-rhyming lines, usually in iambic pentameter).  

The poem uses conversational language and tone – you can imagine Wordsworth actually saying this to you. Look at how Wordswroth repeatedly uses the word “and” to suggest that this story is spoken directly to the reader. 

Wordsworth uses impressive imagery to describe the night. The gentle light of the moon and stars turns to darkness as the narrator becomes more troubled, “there hung a darkness, call it solitude”. The imagery becomes increasingly dark and disturbing. This is like a gothic tale or even a horror story in places. 

Wordsworth also personifies the boat he is in (calling it “her”) and the mountain peak, which comes to life and chases him across the lake. 

Nature  – the power of nature is important. Wordsworth shows how humans can feel insignificant in comparison. 

Loneliness  – Wordsworth is alone. He meets and gains knowledge from nature (the mountain, the lake and the night), but not any other characters.

My Last Duchess (Robert Browning)

Context  .

Robert Browning was a Victorian writer who is famous for dramatic monologues in his poetry. He was very interested in European history and culture, which were the basis of much of his writing. My Last Duchess is based on a sixteenth century Italian Duke – Duke Alfonso II of Ferrara and his wife, the Duchess Lucrezia de Medici (who died at the age of 17). 

The poem is set a few years after the death of the Duchess. We only hear the words of the Duke, but it is clear that this is one side of a conversation. In fact this conversation was with an emissary from the Count of Tyrol, who was the father of the Duke’s next wife. In the poem the Duke suggests the Duchess had been unfaithful to him and he implies that he had her killed as a result. The Duke looks arrogant, insensitive and selfish. Through the comments he makes about his late wife the reader actually learns more about the nasty character of the Duke. 

My Last Duchess is in the form of a dramatic monologue (the extended speech of an individual character). Although a dramatic monologue, it is clear that this is one side of a conversation with an emissary from the family of the Duke’s next wife. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, with rhyming couplets. Rhyming couplets would usually make the lines seem memorable, but the use of punctuation throughout the poem breaks this up and shows us that this is unrehearsed speech. Browning also uses plenty of enjambment (where lines run on), which adds to the use of punctuation in emphasising the narrator’s arrogance. 

Language and imagery

The poem is littered with personal pronouns, which we would expect in this sort of speech. However, they are important because they help to highlight the Duke’s arrogance and selfishness. They also often relate to his love of possessions, including how he treated his late wife (who he saw as a possession).  

The poem lacks any really impressive, or poetic imagery. The Duke himself admits he does not have the “skill in speech”. This helps to show how the Duke only thinks of himself. 

Power – This poem is all about power. The Duke is powerful in society and has a big ego because of that. Browning implies that he demonstrated his own personal power and control in his family life by killing his wife. 

Pride and arrogance – these are shown to be bad and dangerous qualities in someone with power. 

Jealousy and madness – the Duke was clearly jealous of his wife simply smiling at other people. This, combined with his exaggerated sense of power meant he felt he could kill the Duchess. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Tennyson wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade after one of the most famous battles of the Crimean War (1853-56). The Crimean War was fought between Russia on one side and an alliance including Britain and France on the other. The battle was the Battle of Balaclava. During the fighting some one made a mistake, possibly from a misheard order. This mistake led to six hundred British cavalry of the Light Brigade charging into a valley surrounded by Russian cannons. It was essentially a suicide charge! Many of the Light Brigade died or received bad injuries in the battle. 

News of the catastrophe quickly made it back to Britain. It was one of the first times that the public had heard about a military blunder in detail. The Crimean war was the first war where journalists were reporting back from near the front line. The news led to the first serious questioning of decisions made by commanders and the consequences for soldiers. There was anger towards the commanders, contrasting with an appreciation of the bravery and sacrifice of the ordinary soldiers.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Tennyson captured this mood in his poem. He praises the soldiers, while showing his anger towards the commanders whose blunders led to their deaths. The Charge of the Light Brigade tells the story of the battle from the “blunder’d” order which started the charge, through their engagement with the Russian soldiers and guns, to their retreat back from the “mouth of hell”. 

Tennyson ends with a stanza praising the undying glory and honour of the six hundred soldiers of the Light Brigade. 

The poem has 6 stanzas – one for each hundred soldiers of the Light Brigade. The form, rhythm and structure of the poem reflect the charge of the horses, and the vicious fighting. The first stanza is 8 lines long, followed by two 9 line stanzas mirroring the increasing pace of the charge. The fourth and fifth stanzas are particularly long (12 and 11 lines respectively) as Tennyson depicts the frenzied slog of the hand-to-hand fighting and dangerous retreat. The final short stanza reflects the loss of life. It leaves the reader pondering the message of the poem – “honour the charge they made”. 

The initial rhythm makes it hard to read the poem without sounding like you’re riding on a charging horse. As with the stanza length, this then breaks down in stanzas 4 and 5 as the fighting dominates the action. 

Tennyson uses some interesting language and techniques to reflect the story of the charge and the honour of the soldiers. Notably the first three stanzas contain examples of repetition “half a league, half a league, half a league onward”; “Rode the six hundred”; and “cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them”. This combines with the rhythm to enhance the feeling of galloping horses. The direct speech of “Forward the Light Brigade! Charge the guns… Forward the Light Brigade!” emphasises their bravery and places the reader in amongst the charging soldiers. 

The famous lines: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.” highlight the bravery of the soldiers. It contrast with the confusion of their commander’s orders. 

As the hand-to-hand fighting commences in stanza 4, Tennyson emphasises the glimmering and slashing “sabres”. He repeats the verb “flash’d” and includes sibilance to highlight the brutal fighting – “Reel’d from the sabre-stroke shatter’d and sunder’d”. Then, in stanza 5, there is even more repetition – “cannon to the left of them… cannon to the right of them” as the remaining soldiers begin their retreat. 

Finally, in stanza 6 Tennyson ends with a rhetorical question “When can their glory fade?” and repetition of the word “honour” to hammer home his praise of the soldiers’ bravery. 

There is some strong biblical imagery throughout this poem. This imagery highlights the deadly nature of the charge and the bravery of the soldiers. “Into the valley of Death” comes directly from a biblical psalm. The image extends with “into the jaws of Death and into the mouth of Hell”. Tennyson essentially says the soldiers rode to hell and back as they “came thro’ the jaws of Death back from the mouth of Hell”. 

Tennyson’s main message is to praise the courage of the the men of the Light Brigade. He shows his anger at the poor leadership – “some had blunder’d”. He still, however, suggests it is honourable to die for your country, “theirs was not to reason why, theirs was but to do and die”. The command at the end of the poem for the reader to “honour the charge they made” leaves us in little doubt what Tennyson wants us to take away from the poem. 

Exposure  (Wilfred Owen) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Wilfred Owen is one of the most famous war poets. He fought in the First World War and his poems reflect his experiences of war and the reality of conflict. During the war people back in Britain did not get the sort of information we get today about war. There was heavy censorship from the government and obviously no TV to show the reality of the front line. As a result many soldiers felt people back home did not understand how horrific war was. For poets like Owen their writing was a way of conveying the reality and expressing their horror at modern warfare. 

During the First World War (1914-1918) a network of trenches were dug by both sides across France and Belgium. Both armies were locked in a stalemate along these lines for much of the war.   There were huge battles with massive losses of life, but in-between the battles soldiers had to wait in their trenches exposed to the elements. The winter of 1917 was particularly cold and caused many soldiers to suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. It is in this context that Owen wrote Exposure. 

Owen himself joined the army in 1915. He suffered severe ‘shell shock’ in 1917 and went to a military hospital. While in hospital Owen met the already famous war poet Siegfried Sassoon who recognised and encouraged Owen’s talent. Owen then returned to the front line and died just a few days before the end of the war. He was just 26 years old. 

Exposure focuses on the long, dull, grim days in-between battles. Here the weather and modern weaponry took its toll on soldiers physically and psychologically. There is no glory or honour for soldiers here. Only boredom, illness, fear, injury and death. 

The poem has 8 stanzas, each with 5 lines. The final line of each stanza is very short to add emphasis to its message. The final lines are either the repeated phrase, “But nothing happens”, or a rhetorical question. Both show the despair of the soldiers and the pointlessness of their situation. The rhythm adds to this message. It breaks down at various points, particularly in the final short lines of each stanza. 

The first four lines of each stanza have a regular ‘abba’ rhyme to convey the consistency of the soldiers’ experience. The difficulties they are facing go on and on without change. However, some of the rhymes are  half-rhymes, “knive us/ nervous”, “wire/ war” and “brambles/ rumbles”. This adds to the sense of unease. The men fear the effects of the weather and the constant threat of death. 

Exposure contains lots of emotive language, a tortured tone and clever techniques. These draw the reader in and make us feel the horror and desperation of Owen and his comrades. It all starts with the title, “Exposure”. Att face value this is referring to the soldiers’ exposure to the elements and weather. However, it also refers to the soldiers’ exposure to the horrors of war. The word “exposure” also emphasises how the public in Britain are “exposed” to the realities of war. 

Owen uses inclusive pronouns throughout the poem, “our”, “us”, “we”. This shows the collective experience of all soldiers in the First World War. It also invites us to imagine that we are part of this group of soldiers, creating a sense of solidarity. 

Owen includes alliteration and assonance to great effect in the poem. For example the repeated ’s’ sound in, “Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence”, reflects the sound of bullets whizzing past the soldiers. Assonance appears in the third stanza with the repeated ‘o’ sound, “soak… know… grow”. The length of the ‘o’ sounds could be interpreted to emphasise the monotonous nature of life in the trenches. 

The repetition of “But nothing happens” is very important. Owen uses this to show the boring monotony of life in the trenches. Full battles were relatively rare. Soldiers often faced long periods of time sat in their trench exposed to horrible conditions. This was not the glorified version of battle that many people back home imagined. Owen is emphasising the reality of war again. 

Owen uses lists of emotive words to describe the soldiers’ feelings and fears: “worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous”. This exposes the reader to the reality of war even further. Owen further compliments this with the use of rhetorical questions: “what are we doing here?” and “is it that we are dying?” to show the futility of war and the certainty of death felt by soldiers. For them life and death are inextricably linked. It’s difficult for them to tell if they are alive or dead. 

Owen creates a number of important images for the reader, showing us in vivid detail the horrific nature of his experience. In the second stanza Owen describes the “mad gusts tugging on the wire, like twitching agonies of men among the brambles”. Here he personifies the gusts of wind. He uses a simile to liken the sound of the wind on barbed wire to soldiers in agony. This is very emotive and even upsetting for the reader, transporting us onto the front line. 

Later, natural elements are again personified to show how the elements are as deadly as the German soldiers, “Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army attacks once more in shivering ranks of grey”. Here the dawn is directly portrayed as an army – emphasising the idea that exposure to nature as the real enemy. 

This idea develops further in stanza 4 as the weather seems as more deadly than enemy bullets, “sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence“. Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow”. 

Then, by the final stanza, death and the weather come together, “The burying party, picks and shovels in the shaking grasp, pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice”. By this point the soldiers are completely accustomed to death and even see their own death as inevitable. 

Owen’s main theme is about the reality of warfare in the First World War. He describes the crippling monotony of life in the trenches and the debilitating effects of the weather on the soldiers. The weather is the real enemy to Owen and his comrades, not necessarily the Germans. Owen wants to get this message across to people back home in Britain. 

Despair and the loss of faith are also considered. The soldiers despair, as they essentially give up on life due to the conditions they endure. They have even lost any of the faith they had in God, “For love of God seems dying”.

Storm on the Island (Seamus Heaney) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Seamus Heaney is from a rural part of County Derry in Northern Ireland. He grew up on his family’s farm, which influenced a lot of his poetry to focus on the countryside and nature. He also grew up witnessing much of the disruption and violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Heaney is one of the most famous Irish poets of the twentieth century and has taught literature at Oxford and Harvard Universities. 

Storm on the Island is about exactly that. Heaney describes being in an isolated cottage on the cliffs of an island off the coast of Ireland while a terrible storm rages around him. Heaney describes the power of the weather and nature. He suggests that the people on the island can do nothing in the face of this natural power. The poem also has a metaphorical meaning. The storm and the disruption caused to the island could reflect the very human atrocities of the conflict in Ireland in the Twentieth Century.

Storm on the Island - AQA Power and Conflict poetry GCSE

The poem has one 19 line stanza all in blank verse (lines that do not rhyme and have 5 beats per line). Blank verse makes poetry follow the style of natural spoken English, so it is as if the poet is talking directly to us. 

The first part of the poem describes how the islanders have prepared for the storm. The tone is relatively confident, “We are prepared: we build our houses squat, sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate”. The verbs “build”, “sink” and “roof” show the actions the islanders have taken to prepare to face the power of nature. Heaney then adds to the feel of a story teller with the line “you know what I mean”, as if he is talking directly to us. 

Then the storm hits and Heaney uses some really powerful language to show the strength of its force, “pummels”, “exploding”, “flung”, “savage” and “bombarded”. The tone has changed to one of fear and respect for the awesome power of nature. The focus on the lack of defence and help provided by the natural features on the island also helps to emphasise the isolation, “But there are no trees, no natural shelter… But no”. Here the repetition of “but” and “no” show the lack of any natural barriers to the power of the storm. Nothing can stop it.  

Enjambment (where lines run on from one to the next) appears quite regularly to show the sudden changes in the weather and the impact on the island, “when it blows full / Blast” and “tame cat / Turned savage”.  Both of these examples add emphasis to the words “blast” and “savage”, showing the power of the storm. The violent language appearing here could also reflect the impact of the political divisions in Northern Ireland.

The final line is really important, “Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear”. Heaney finishes with the paradox that the storm is an adversary they cannot see, but with a huge power they fear. This unknown element of the storm makes it all the more scary.  

The most powerful imagery created by Heaney is the storm as military weaponry attacking the island. “wind dives and strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo. We are bombarded by the empty air”. The use of military words like “strafes”, “salvo” and “bombarded” creates the image of an organised warfare from the storm. This could reflect the idea of the storm as an extended metaphor for the conflict in Ireland.

For the AQA GCSE course in particular, the most important theme of Storm on the Island is the power of nature. In the face of this power the humans on the island are fearful and there is nothing they can do other than to prepare and hope to wait out the storm. The military language used by Heaney shows that this power of nature can be violent and unforgiving. 

Bayonet Charge (Ted Hughes)

Ted Hughes was born in Yorkshire in 1930 and lived until 1998. His upbringing in the countryside influenced a lot of his writing. Hughes is famous for his children’s books as well as his poetry. As a young man, Ted Hughes served in the RAF for two years before going to University.  

Bayonet Charge is about a soldier charging enemy trenches in the First World War (1914-18). This is an unusual topic for a Ted Hughes poem. A bayonet is a long knife that soldiers attach to the end of their rifles and a ‘bayonet charge’ was a common tactic in the First World War for taking over enemy trenches. During the poem the soldier describes his transformation from someone who is thinking  actively about what is going on around him, and someone who believed in “king, honour and human dignity”, into someone desperate just to survive and get out of the “blue crackling air” of the battlefield. 

The poem has three stanzas with a very varied line lengths. The changes in line lengths mirror the changing speed of the soldier as he progresses across the battlefield and occasionally slows due to enemy fire, or ducks into cover. The first stanza in particular includes a lot of dashes, which break up the rhythm and suggest that the soldier’s flow of thought breaks up as he realises the nature of the chaos of battle around him. 

Hughes also uses a lot of enjambment (where lines run on with no full-stop), even between stanzas. This reflects the speed of the attack and the increasingly frantic thoughts of the soldier himself. 

In the first two lines Hughes repeats the word “raw”, “running-raw in raw-seamed hot khaki”.  This immediately gives the reader a sense of the uncomfortable, harsh nature of the charge for the soldier, before we even begin to start thinking about the bullets and bombs coming from the enemy. 

Words associated with movement also appear regularly in the first stanza, “running” and “stumbling”, to show how the soldier is constantly charging over the course of the poem. We see how difficult his progress is because of the “raw-seamed hot khaki” (Khaki was a type of clothing worn by soldiers) and the “field of clods”. The soldier’s effort and increasing terror is further shown by the use of words like “suddenly”, “running”, “sweat heavy”, “lugged” and “sweating”. 

The language of stanza two shifts the focus of the poem to “bewilderment” at the situation the soldier has found himself in. He also questions how this has happened and why he is continuing to run despite his fear and uncertainty. The rhetorical question, “In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations was he the hand pointing that second?”, evokes the idea of fate and questions whether he is destined to survive. The use of the word “cold” shows how uncaring this fate is. The questioning and uncertainty of the soldier develops with the simile, “he was running like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs listening between the footfalls for the reason of his still running”. Basically, the soldier can’t understand how he is still managing to run towards the enemy trenches. 

In the final stanza Hughes lists the things that have become “luxuries” to the soldier, “king, honour, human dignity, etcetera”.  All of these things were important to him before the battle, but during the battle are overtaken by his instinct to survive.

There is a lot of imagery throughout the poem to emphasise the ideas discussed above. In the first stanza Hughes personifies the air with the metaphor, “bullets smacking the belly out of the air”. This gives the reader an idea of the sounds of battle, while also suggesting bullets hit many of this soldier’s comrades. 

Hughes also creates a powerful image with the simile describing the soldier’s rifle, “he lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm”. Not only does this show how heavy and cumbersome the rifle is, which slows the soldier’s progress, but it also again creates an image of the injury and death going on around the soldier without directly describing it – “smashed arm”. The soldier is trying not to focus on the horrors around him, but can’t ignore the terrible injuries. 

In the final stanza we see another image created of the “yellow hare”. As with the earlier descriptions of the “hedge” and the “field of clods”, Hughes is describing the nature around the soldier and contrasting this with the violence of battle. The hare becomes an image of death at the end of the poem as it “rolled like a flame and crawled in a threshing circle”. Again, Hughes uses an image of death rather than directly describing the deaths around the soldier. This shows how the soldier is trying to block out the horror of battle around him. 

Bayonet Charge puts the reader in the mind of a soldier as he charges across no man’s land towards enemy trenches. There is a vivd description of the soldier’s changing thoughts and we see how by the end his only focus is on surviving as his instincts take over. He’s no longer a real person, he just wants to get out of the field. In this way the main theme of the poem is the human response to conflict. 

Remains (Simon Armitage)- AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Simon Armitage is a famous modern poet from Yorkshire. His poetry tends to be approachable and colloquial in style. Armitage’s poetry often focuses on relationships, or personal feelings. 

In 2007 Armitage made a programme for Channel 4 called ‘The Not Dead’. He also wrote a collection of poems (including Remains) under the same title. In preparation Armitage interviewed a number of soldiers who had fought in wars, including the Gulf War.  Remains  seems to relate to the Gulf War as he mentions ‘desert sand’. 

Given Armitage’s colloquial style, the poem is fairly easy for us to follow. The speaker is a soldier who, while out on patrol with some other soldiers, came across a looter and shot him. Although the body gets taken away quickly, the bloodstains on the ground remain. They haunt the soldier as he patrols again in the same area. We then hear how the speaker is affected when he returns home. He can’t stop thinking about the man he killed. The event torments him.

There are eight stanzas. All but the last of the stanzas are fairly regular quatrains (a stanza of four lines) with no real rhyme. The final stanza is only two lines. This abrupt end stands out and emphasises how the soldier cannot stop thinking about killing the man. It also links to the ‘drink and drugs’ in suggesting that the speaker is losing control and is mentally unwell. The poem is split roughly in half. The first four stanzas cover the event, while the last four stanzas describe the effects on the speaker. 

Remains  is a monologue (a speech by one person speaking alone) and the language suggests the soldier is speaking directly to the reader, retelling his story. This sense of ordinary speech is enhanced by the lack of any regular rhythm and the use of enjambment (where a sentence or clause continues over a line break). 

The title, ‘Remains’, has a double meaning for the speaker. It literally refers to the physical remains of the man who was shot, while also relating to the memory of the shooting that remains forever in the speaker’s mind. 

Throughout the poem Armitage uses colloquial language to make it seem as though the speaker is directly telling us his story. Phrases like, ‘On another occasion’, ‘legs it up the road’ and ‘end of story’ suggest the poem is in spoken English. ‘On another occasion’ also suggests the speaker has been through many similarly bad experiences. The phrase ‘probably armed, possibly not’ repeats to show how this guilt haunts him. 

It is also interesting that despite the detailed description of the shooting, we do not know the names or any real details about the speaker and his two comrades. The use of: ‘somebody else and somebody else’ and ‘three of a kind’ shows us how this could be any soldier. They would all have had very similar, horrifying experiences. 

At a few points the language Armitage chooses also alludes to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this poem the speaker talks of his disturbed sleep, which links to Macbeth’s line that ‘Macbeth doth murder sleep’ after he has murdered the King. Furthermore, the poem finishes with the description of his ‘bloody hands’, which links the reader to Lady Macbeth’s madness following the murder. Lady Macbeth’s guilt drives her mad to the extent that she cannot wash the imaginary bloodstains from her hands. 

The image created of the shooting is violent and graphic. We hear how: 

  • each bullet ‘ripped through his life’; 
  • the body was ‘sort of inside out’; and
  • the speaker’s mate ‘tosses his guts back into his body.’

The gory descriptions highlight the trauma of the event and how intensely it has affected the soldier. 

Armitage creates a couple of vivid images to highlight the violence and gore of the soldiers experience and the extent to which he is haunted by the memory. The speaker talks of a ‘blood-shadow’ left on the ground where the dead man fell. At face value this simply describes the bloodstain left on the ground, but think beyond this and the ‘shadow’ becomes a metaphor for the memory of the looter and the shooting, which the speaker cannot shake off. 

Similarly, the military image of the dead man ‘dug in behind enemy lines’ in the speaker’s head emphasises how the horrible experience – and guilt that the speaker feels – has become a constant mental trauma for him. 

Finally the landscape is described further with the use of sibilance (the repetition of soft consonants – in this case an ‘s’). ‘Sun-stunned, sand-smothered land’ emphasises the alien environment for the soldier and the distance from which the event still haunts him. 

Remains  has some important themes running through it: 

  • Conflict –  the speaker is a soldier fighting a war in a distant land. He follows orders with his comrades, but the consequences of violence and death play out in the poem. 
  • Guilt –  guilt haunts   the soldier.   When he returns home he cannot do anything without remembering the killing. The speaker feels particularly guilty because he doesn’t know if the looter had a weapon. He doesn’t know if the shooting was necessary. 

Poppies (Jane Weir) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

This poem was written when British soldiers were fighting and dying in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time the Poet Laureate (Carol Ann Duffy) asked a number of writers to write poems to try and reflect the pain caused by deaths in the conflicts. Jane Weir was one of those asked. She wrote this poem, which is set in the present but also reflects on the end of the First World War in 1918 and the beginning of the poppy tradition of remembrance. 

Armistice Sunday began in Britain after the end of the First World War as a way of remembering all those who had died in the war. It has since grown into a national act of remembrance for all those who have fought and died in wars. 

The speaker in this poem is a mother who has lost her son in the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. The poem is her expression of the thoughts and feelings of grief that have overtaken her. She simultaneously talks about the present, her son’s childhood and hints at his death in a far off conflict. 

At first glance the poem is in four fairly regular stanzas, with short 6 line opening and closing stanzas and longer 11 and 12 line middle stanzas. There are, however, a lot of caesuras  (pauses in the middle of lines marked by punctuation) and enjambment (where lines run on) creating an uneven rhythm. It’s clear that Weir has done this to reflect the grief of the speaker and the irregular nature of her memories as she tries to remain calm, while dealing with the raw emotion of loss. 

The narrative structure (order of how the story is told) is also constantly in flux. The sequencing of the speaker’s memories is not in order and changes several times in the poem. We begin with “three days before” then the speaker remembers “before you left” and “when you were little”.  Finally we hear that “’this is where it has led me” – returning us to the present with the speaker. Again this helps to reflect the nature of grief and how the speaker is trying to deal with her emotions. 

Language and Imagery

Weir uses vivid descriptions of the son as a man and as a child to emphasise the mourning of the speaker. ‘Smoothed down your upturned collar’, ‘run my fingers through the gelled blackthorns of your hair’ and ‘play at being Eskimos like we did when you were little’, all provide personal detail to the narrative and show the reader a sense of the speaker’s pain. 

There are numerous uses of violent, military language and references to injury throughout the poem. ‘Blockade’, ‘reinforcements’, and ‘bandaged’ are examples of how Weir creates military images while referring to everyday things. It is clear that the son was wounded and killed in war.  

Enjambment occurs between lines and stanzas to create a sense that the speaker is talking directly to us and to highlight the emotional state she is in, remembering and mourning her son. 

Towards the end of the poem Weir introduces images of the songbird and the dove. The speaker ‘released a song bird from its cage’ as a metaphor for sending her son off to join the army and fight. Later – when the focus has shifted to the mother’s visit to the war memorial – ‘the dove pulled freely against the sky, an ornamental stitch’. This is open to interpretation and you should have a think about what your take on it is. The dove symbolises peace. Weir may be using the dove as a metaphor for the death of the son and the final peace he has found in death.  

  • Conflict – Much of the language used is related to the military and to conflict. The implication is that the son was badly injured before he died in a distant conflict. 
  • Loss (physical and emotional) –  the speaker is in mourning and deeply affected by the loss of her son in war. 
  • Remembrance/ grieving process –  poppies symbolise remembrance and the dove symbolises peace. The reader gets a clear sense of the mother’s pain and loss. 

War Photographer (Carol Ann Duffy) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Duffy wrote this poem to reflect on her thoughts and feelings about a friend of hers who was a war photographer. The photographer traveled to some of the worst conflict zones in the world and recorded the horror in photographs, which would appear in newspapers and news bulletins back at home. 

The poem addresses some of the tensions and challenges that Duffy sees her friend having to face. Most of all Duffy shows the struggle for any war photographer. He witnesses (and records) some of the worst aspects of conflict and is unable to do anything directly stop it. It is so difficult for the photographer to switch between the normal world at home and the horrific conflicts he documents. 

Duffy contrasts the chaos of the war zones with the order the photographer tries to bring into the simple things in his own life, such as lining up his photographs ‘in ordered rows’. 

Form and structure

The poem consists of four regular six-line stanzas. This order mirrors the photographer’s meticulous approach to developing his pictures and juxtaposes the chaos of the war zones. 

Duffy chooses language that vividly creates a number of different settings and images for the reader. In the first stanza words like ‘finally alone’, ‘ordered’ and ‘softly’ create a sense of calm and order in the photographer’s dark room (where he is developing his photographs). This is immediately contrasted with the violence and chaos appearing in the ‘spools of suffering’ in the photographs. In this first stanza the photographer is also likened to a priest ‘preparing to intone a Mass’. This simile emphasises the tranquility of the photographer’s dark room. The final line of the first stanza lists three conflict zones where the photographer has been, ‘Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh’ and then finishes with an interesting metaphor, ‘All flesh is grass’. This metaphor dehumanises the violence. It suggests that the photographer has been desensitised to the horrible violence he documents.

The second stanza highlights the contrasts between the two worlds the war photographer moves between. This disturbs the photographer more than war itself as his hand ‘did not tremble then though seems to now’. ‘Rural England’ with its ‘ordinary pain’ and ‘fields which don’t explode beneath the feet of running children’ now seem unusual.

A memory then flicks through the photographer’s mind and shows how haunted he is by what he has witnessed. ‘A stranger’s features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost’ .  ‘A half-formed ghost’ is a metaphor for the memory, but also literally refers to the victim in a foreign war.

Finally the poem explores the futility of the photographer’s efforts to genuinely help in the conflict areas he photographs. From ‘a hundred agonies’ in photographs, only a few will be published and make the ‘reader’s eyeballs prick with tears’.  Duffy suggests that readers feel sadness for the people photographed, but then quickly revert to their ‘bath and pre-lunch beers’; emphasising the real priorities of people in the developed world, which ensure nothing will change and conflict will continue. This idea culminates in the final two lines. As the photographer flies off, ‘he stares impassively at where he earns his living and they do not care’. The adverb ‘impassively’ emphasises that the photographer has given up on any real change to resolve the conflicts he sees. The final phrase – ‘they do not care’ – sums this up. 

There are two big themes in this poem:

  • the  horrific nature of war ; and
  • people’s indifference to war  and suffering in distant countries. 

Tissue (Imtiaz Dharker) – AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

Imtiaz Dharker is a modern poet and film/ documentary director. She was born in Pakistan and grew up in Scotland. Her poems usually consider ideas about identity; the role of women in society; and finding meaning in life. She often considers multiculturalism in her work. 

Dharker uses tissue paper as an extended metaphor for life. She examines how paper can be shaped and used to change things. There is also a reference to the thin, light paper used in religious books (particularly the Koran in this poem). Dharker also looks at our different uses for paper (receipts, money, maps and religious texts) and how these are closely linked to important things in life. 

The final paper-based metaphor is to link an idea of a building made from paper to human skin. This is a difficult idea to explain fully in an exam and it is open to your interpretation, so have a think about what your own take is on this idea. Dharker might be suggesting that life and the things we think are important are actually very fragile and won’t last forever. She could also be suggesting that our actions in life are more important – and outlast – the things we build or record on paper; or that the memories and changes we record on paper are very powerful. 

This poem consists almost entirely of irregular quatrains (stanzazs with four lines), which only have very limited rhyme. You can think of your own interpretation of this irregular structure, but Dharker may be reflecting the changing nature of life and the fragility of paper. The rhyme and rhythm of the poem are also irregular and very changeable.  Tissue  contains a lot of enjambment (lines running on in and between stanzas). This creates a sense of the delicacy and flowing movement of tissue paper and human life.  

This form holds for nine out of ten stanzas. The final stanza changes quite abruptly though to one line in length. This really emphasises the final line, ‘turned into your skin’, showing the connection between paper and skin (and therefore life). 

Throughout the poem the adjectives used work with the structure to emphasise the delicacy of paper – ‘fine’, ‘thin’ and ‘transparent’. Alongside this, Dharker often refers to light and to its effects on the delicate paper. Repeated ideas like: ‘lets the light shine through’, ‘sun shines through’, ‘luminous’ and ‘daylight’ show how light illuminates the paper and how our uses for paper are dependent on light. 

There are few individual language techniques in this poem (other than a few similes/ metaphors), but there is an extended metaphor linking paper to skin and to life. Dharker consistently refers to the important uses we have for paper, ‘the Koran’, ‘maps’ and ‘slips from grocery shops’ and then introduces the idea of architects building with paper. She ends by suggesting the structures built of paper are actually us – ‘thinned to be transparent, turned into our skin’. 

There are three main themes to  Tissue:

  • Power –  the power of paper in our lives to record events, ideas and memories. The poem even suggests paper has the power to change the course of our lives. 
  • Delicacy/ instability  – paper is thinned and damaged by use, buildings are damaged by the elements, and human life is fragile. 
  • Humanity –  Dharker compares the delicacy of paper to buildings and structures that can easily be destroyed. The poem ends by drawing human life into this comparison, suggesting that human life is fragile like paper, but that the essence of humanity has the power to outlast structures and ideas. 

The Emigree (Carol Rumens)

Carole Rumens was born and raised in London. She has written many poems since the 1970s and has translated a number of other poems from Russian. People analysing her work have suggested that she has a ‘fascination with elsewhere’ – an idea that crops up in much of her writing. This is shown in  The Emigree  because the speaker longs to be ‘elsewhere’.  

The Emigree  is written from the perspective of a displaced person who describes and longs for home. Rumens does not give any names to the speaker of to the places described. This suggests that the poem is about the experiences of many people rather than about a specific person/ place. The speaker has been forced to flee because their homeland is torn apart by war and a tyrannical dictator. Despite the clear presence of conflict in the speaker’s homeland they still remember the perfect place where they grew up. 

Through this poem Rumens is showing the reader the power that places can have over people and how we can feel forever associated with a place. 

The Emigree  takes the form of a first person account, from a general perspective (there are no names given as discussed earlier). The poem is structured in three stanzas. The first two are eight lines in length and the final stanza is nine lines long. Why Rumens has added a line to the final stanza is open to interpretation, but it may be emphasising the lasting impression that this place has had on the speaker’s life. 

The Emigree  does not use any rhyme. There is some rhythm to the lines, but this is a little changeable and isn’t fully established. This could be mirroring the speaker’s mind-set as they have a mix of emotions – positivity for their new home and the freedoms they enjoy, but also a longing to return to their homeland. 

At first glance the language used in this poem looks fairly natural. It’s the sort of language that is used in everyday speech, so it seems as though the speaker is talking to us. Alongside this natural language, however, Rumens uses lots of metaphors and similes to emphasise her message. Metaphors like: ‘the bright, filled paperweight’, ‘branded by an impression of sunlight’ and ‘time rolls its tanks’ create contrasting images of the positive memories of the speaker versus the conflict that has now engulfed the homeland. The city itself could also be considered an extended metaphor for a lost childhood that everyone can relate to. 

Alongside the metaphors, Rumens make use of a number of similes: ‘frontiers rise… like waves’, ‘docile as paper’ and ‘like a hollow doll’. Finally the city itself is personified as a visitor who comes to the speaker, ‘it lies down in front of me… I comb its hair and love its shining eyes.’ There may also be a double meaning in the final stanza when the ‘city comes to me on its own white plane’. As the city is personified, this refers to an aeroplane flying in to visit the speaker; but beneath that the ‘white plane’ could also refer to a sheet of paper, suggesting that the city now only exists in the words of the speaker. It could be an imaginary place or just somewhere that the speaker knows they will never see again. 

Throughout the poem the overall tone is one of fondness for the lost city, but there is also a recurring threatening tone as we hear about the conflict overtaking the speaker’s lost city, ‘it may by now be a lie, banned by the state’ and ‘it may be sick with tyrants’. 

  • Exile  – the speaker is an exile from their homeland. The lost home could also represent a lost past, or childhood. 
  • Conflict  – there is a conflict raging in the speaker’s home city, from which she has fled. There is another conflict within the speaker between their current life of freedom and a longing for their childhood home. 
  • The power of places  – the poem emphasises the power that places can have over us. This has a literal meaning as well as a metaphorical meaning of something lost. 
  • Light vs dark  – there are numerous images of light breaking through darkness. These support the idea of conflict. 

Checking Out Me History (John Agard)

John Agard was born in the Caribbean in 1949 and moved to the UK in the late 1970s. Agard often uses non-standard phonetic spelling (where a word is written as it sounds) to mirror his Caribbean accent. His writing covers issues around being black and challenging racist attitudes. Agard is particularly interested in highlighting unconscious racist attitudes (that people don’t even realise exist). 

The poem focuses on exploring how history is taught in school and throughout life. Agard shows how a biased teaching of history can impact on how people think about their own identity. Agard repeatedly stresses how he was taught a version of history that was biased towards white people and their achievements. He gives numerous examples of important white people from his history lessons (who he struggles to identify with); and contrasts these with some key black figures from history with whom he can identify, but needed to research for himself. Finding out about these historical figures is helping him to discover his own identity. The poem challenges the reader to think more closely about our heritage and identity. 

Checking Out Me History  alternates between two different structures, which are visible through the change in font. The two structures have the following features: 

  • The first structure repeats ‘dem tell me’ and covers the white version of history taught when he was a child. This structure has lots of rhyme – with rhyming couplets, triplets and quatrains throughout. The tone in this structure is angry and rebellious. 
  • The second structure, denoted by an italic font, tells of major black historical figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture and Mary Seacole. This structure has very short lines, uses abbreviations and misses out words. There is some rhyme, but this is very irregular. These features may reflect how the historical figures were removed from history lessons. The tone in this structure is celebratory. 

The key language feature is the non-standard phonetic spelling Agard uses to provide the sound of his Caribbean accent. This language runs throughout the poem, ‘dem tell me dem tell me wha dem want to tell me’. The repetition of ‘dem tell me’ emphasises how he has been repeatedly told about the history of white people. It contrasts with ‘dem never tell me about’ followed by the black historical figures he cites.  

When Agard talks about the white dominated history he learned at school, he tells us about some characters from legends and fairytales. He heard about ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘de cow who jump over de moon’, but he did not hear about important black historical figures. This highlights the biased/ inaccurate nature of the history lessons from his childhood. 

Agard uses lots of natural language and imagery, particularly when describing the black historical figures he is discovering. ‘Thorn’, ‘stream’, ‘river’, ‘mountain’ and ‘fire’ are all used to connect these characters with his natural heritage and identity. This is added to by other images of light, which illuminate his identity: ‘beacon’, ‘fire’, ‘healing star’ and ‘yellow sunrise’. 

The poem contains lots of end rhyme (strong rhyme in the last word or syllable of lines or stanzas). This emphasises the key points and the switch between the two structures.

  • Meaning of history –  Agard challenges us to think carefully about our history. We should research for ourselves and find out about the history most relevant to us. 
  •   Power of identity –  the speaker never identified with the biased version of history he was taught. Only when he examines the past for himself does he start to understand his own identity. He feels stronger for it. 

Kamikaze (Beatriz Garland)

Beatrice Garland has not directly experienced any of the things she talks about in this poem. She has, however, said: “I spend a lot of the day listening to other people’s worlds”. In  Kamikaze  Garland reflects on one of these worlds. Kamikaze pilots flew suicide missions for the Japanese Empire at the end of the Second World War. Their missions were to crash into allied ships. There was a strong social pressure on the pilots and their families to carry out these Kamikaze missions. The poem explores these pressures. This is also relevant in the modern world as terrorists use suicide missions in modern conflicts. 

Kamikaze  is mainly told from the perspective of the daughter of a kamikaze pilot. The pilot turned back from his suicide mission and returned home. This is a narrative poem (telling a story). Garland begins by exploring the moments in which the pilot decides to turn back. She goes on to show the reader the consequences in the rest of his life. His neighbours and family look down on him and shun him. Even his wife and children reject him and refuse to speak to him.  

This is a narrative poem (telling a story). It begins by reporting on events as if someone else had told them. Then, in sections in italics, Garland switches to a first person narrative (where the speaker tells a story directly). This allows the reader to better understand the thoughts and feelings of the speaker. 

Kamikaze  has a fairly simple structure. There are seven stanzas, each with six lines. There is no rhyme and only a very basic rhythm. This simplicity means the reader focuses on the story itself and the tragedy of the events. The poem has only three sentences to give it the feeling of a story told orally. As we move between the sentences the speaker and time setting change as well. You need to think about what your interpretation is of why Garland has made these changes. 

Garland uses relatively natural language that we might use every day. There are still some important literary techniques to highlight the pilot’s experiences and the thoughts of his daughter. 

In the first half of the poem Garland uses impressive metaphors to show us what is influencing the pilot’s thoughts. ‘A tuna, the dark prince’ and ‘the loose silver of whitebait’, suggest the power and value of the sea. The life it holds has forced the pilot to think again about completing his mission. Garland also provides vivid details of the pilot’s experience by describing how his senses react to the setting. ‘Green-blue translucent sea’ and ‘dark shoals’ show what he saw and the ‘salt-sodden’ boat involves touch and taste. 

A developed simile, ‘arcing in swathes like a huge flag waved first one way then the other… the dark shoals of fishes’, compares the ideas created by man to the natural world and what really matters in life. The patriotic (flag waving) Japanese military had persuaded the pilots and their families to believe that kamikaze missions were honourable. The fish, however, show the power of nature and that life is more important.  

  • Social pressure –  the pilot is first pressured into the mission and is then disowned by his family for returning. The social pressure created by propaganda has enabled this. 
  • The power of nature (in particular the sea) – it was the natural sights which persuaded the pilot to turn back. The natural power of life was more potent than the power of the military and social pressure. 

So there you have it – a complete guide to the poems in the AQA Power and Conflict poetry collection. It’s quite a long guide because there is a lot to learn, so well done for reading through everything. Now you just need to learn it all and memorise some key quotations from each of the poems. You should also have a go at plenty of practice exam questions. Check out the AQA website for their past and specimen exam papers.

power and conflict poetry essay questions

How to get top marks in the AQA Power and Conflict Exam Question (by an AQA Examiner)

Below, you’ll find an answer on how to get top marks in the AQA Power and Conflict Exam Question. This question can be a bit tricky! The first thing to do is understand all the themes and ideas of each poem. Then, practise planning and writing until you feel like the essay’s easy to do! Plan at least five essays, and write at least three before you take the exam. Try to get feedback in between each essay that you write.

For the L7-L9 grades, examiners look for depth and complexity – I should know, I’m an AQA examiner and I must have marked hundreds of answers on this question in my time! Rather than being basic and just thinking about how the poem shows ‘power’ or ‘conflict’, try to go deeper and more precisely into your interpretations. You can use revision guides to help you understand how to do this; if you just react to the poems yourself then you’ll only have very basic ideas.

We made a full course on Power and Conflict poems, check it out here if you need help with them.

Each poem is broken down in great detail, including looking into context, meaning, attitudes, language techniques and speaker/voice. There are also video lessons on the poems, sample essay answers and tips for how to write perfect essays.

How to write the Power and Conflict Essay:

It’s a comparative essay that you have to write, with one given poem and one of your choice. The exam question looks like this:

Compare how poets present the effects of memory on people in Poppies and in one other poem from Power and Conflict.

Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology List – English Literature

You can see that it has a remind to ‘COMPARE’ – this means to write a comparative essay . The best structure to use is this:

  • Intro – a sensitive, thoughtful point of comparison or contrast between the poems
  • PARAGRAPH 1 – one topic to do with the question
  • Poem A: Explore the topic
  • Poem B: Explore and compare back to what you said about Poem A
  • PARAGRAPH 2 – a different topic to do with the question
  • PARAGRAPH 3 – a different topic to do with the question
  • CONCLUSION – summarise your strongest ideas again

Thanks for reading! If you need more help with Power and Conflict poems, take a look at our full course .

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AQA Power and Conflict: Example A* / L9 Grade Paragraph

AQA Power and Conflict: Example A* / L9 Grade Paragraph

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AQA exam style questions: Power and Conflict cluster

AQA exam style questions: Power and Conflict cluster

This useful resource contains 15 practice questions on the 'Power and Conflict' poetry cluster from the AQA GCSE poetry anthology. It’s perfect for responses to exam-style questions and to help students confidently present their ideas about these poems for GCSE English Literature Paper 2.

These helpful AQA GCSE exam-style questions focus on the Power and Conflict poetry cluster and include a range of poems and poets, such as ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Shelley, ‘Storm on the Island’ by Seamus Heaney, ‘Bayonet Charge’ by Wilfred Owen, ‘My Last Duchess’ by Tennyson and ‘Checking Out Me History’ by John Agard.

In addition, the questions can help support students to present ideas in their detailed analytical work, and complements any knowledge organiser students are using. This resource may enable students to explore ideas they have on the power of nature and how this theme is represented in the Power and Conflict poetry cluster.

These questions are not directly related to the unseen poetry section of the exam, but can help students to refine their analytical skills for all poetry, both the AQA Power and Conflict poetry cluster and any unseen poetry they encounter.

Resources  are also available on a wide range of relevant poets, such as William Blake , William Wordsworth , Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage . Alternatively, browse the Teachit A-level poetry collection  for resources to support higher attainers. 

An extract from the resource:

In the exam, you will be asked to compare two of the poems you have studied. One of the poems will be printed on your paper. Here are some possible questions you could be asked, along with suggestions for comparison poems you could use to answer each question.

A sample question on one of the poems, ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen, is:

Compare the ways the poets present ideas about the effects of conflict in ‘Exposure’ and one other poem from the Power and conflict cluster.

Partner poem suggestions include ‘Bayonet Charge’, ‘Remains’ or ‘War Photographer’.

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AQA Power & Conflict Poetry Anthology

AQA Power & Conflict Poetry Anthology

Subject: English

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Assessment and revision

Mr L's Online English Shop

Last updated

22 November 2023

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power and conflict poetry essay questions

This 137-page study guide contains all the poems in the AQA Power & Conflict cluster and are accompanied with notes on poetic devices used by the artist and the effects on the reader; there are explanatory notes on each poem and biographical details on each poet.

There are handouts on the Assessment Objectives with advice on how to maximise point scoring. As well the guide contains practice GCSE exam questions, compare & contrast chart, essay structure advice, mind mapping, essay structure tips and discursive markers advice and tasks for better essay writing results.

In addition, there are handouts on poetic and rhetorical devices and poetry styles to help students identify techniques and comment on effects. This study guide is intended to focus the student on relevance to the exam.

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Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology

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Notes || Additional Reading & Videos

This topic is included in  Paper 2 . You can find notes and guides for it below.

  • A Guide to Structure, Form, Rhythm, Meter
  • Bayonet Charge - Ted Hughes
  • Checking Out Me History - John Agard
  • Exposure - Wilfred Owen
  • Kamikaze - Beatrice Garland
  • London - William Blake
  • My Last Duchess - Robert Browning
  • Ozymandias - Percy Shelley
  • Poppies - Jane Weir
  • Remains - Simon Armitage
  • Storm On The Island - Seamus Heaney
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • The Emigree - Carol Rumens
  • The Man He Killed - Poetry
  • The Prelude - William Wordsworth - Poetry
  • Tissue - Imtiaz Dharker
  • War Photographer - Carol Ann Duffy

Additional Reading & Videos

  • Ozymandias – English Timeline
  • London – Analysis by Clare Crossman
  • London – English Timeline
  • London – in depth analysis
  • The Prelude – The full version
  • The Prelude – Additional notes
  • My Last Duchess – Different readings
  • Storm on the Island – Analysis of the Context, Form and Structure
  • Remains – Simon Armitage’s Official Website
  • Remains – Simon Armitage’s Video on Remains
  • Kamikaze – How Japan’s youth see the Kamikaze pilots of WW2
  • Kamikaze – some supplementary thoughts
  • Kamikaze – two pilots who cheated death
  • Kamikaze – interviews with Kamikaze pilots

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Welcome to Seneca Revision Notes

Short and effective seneca revision notes for a-level & gcse.

1 Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

1.1 Ozymandias Analysis

1.1.1 Summary

1.1.2 Key Ideas

1.1.3 Themes

1.1.4 Irony & Rhythm

1.1.5 Key Quotes & Comparisons

1.1.6 End of Topic Test - Ozymandias

2 London - William Blake (1757-1827)

2.1 London Analysis

2.1.1 Summary

2.1.2 Themes & Structure

2.1.3 Themes & Structure 2

2.1.4 Key Quotes & Comparisons

2.1.5 Exam-Style Questions - London

3 Storm on the Island - Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

3.1 Storm on the Island Analysis

3.1.1 Summary & Structure

3.1.2 Themes

3.1.3 Themes 2

3.1.4 Key Quotes & Comparisons

3.1.5 End of Topic Test - Blake & Heaney

4 Exposure - Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

4.1 Exposure Analysis

4.1.1 Summary

4.1.2 Personification

4.1.3 Themes

4.1.4 Structure, Key Quotes & Comparisons

4.1.5 End of Topic Test - Exposure

5 War Photographer - Carol Ann Duffy (born 1955)

5.1 War Photographer Analysis

5.1.1 Summary

5.1.2 Themes

5.1.3 Imagery

5.1.4 Comparisons & Key Quotes

6 My Last Duchess - Robert Browning (1812-1889)

6.1 My Last Duchess Analysis

6.1.1 Summary

6.1.2 Characterisation & Themes

6.1.3 Structure, Key Quotes & Comparisons

6.1.4 End of Topic Test - Duffy & Browning

7 The Prelude - William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

7.1 Extract from The Prelude Analysis

7.1.1 Summary

7.1.2 Personification & Imagery

7.1.3 Themes

7.1.4 Key Quotes & Comparisons

7.1.5 End of Topic Test - The Prelude

8 Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred Tennyson

8.1 Charge of the Light Brigade Analysis

8.1.1 Summary

8.1.2 Themes

8.1.3 Rhetorical Techniques, Key Quotes & Comparisons

8.1.4 End of Topic Test - Charge of the Light Brigade

8.1.5 Exam-Style Questions - Charge of the Light Brigade

9 Bayonet Charge - Ted Hughes (1930-1998)

9.1 Bayonet Charge Analysis

9.1.1 Summary

9.1.2 Themes

9.1.3 Themes 2

9.1.4 Structure & Key Comparisons

9.1.5 End of Topic Test - Bayonet Charge

10 Poppies - Jane Weir (Born 1963)

10.1 Poppies Analysis

10.1.1 Summary

10.1.2 Theme of Motherhood

10.1.3 Imagery

10.1.4 Form, Structure & Key Comparisons

10.1.5 End of Topic Test - Poppies

11 Tissue - Imtiaz Dharker (Born 1954)

11.1 Tissue Analysis

11.1.1 Summary

11.1.2 Themes & Symbolism

11.1.3 Religion & Conflict

11.1.4 Form, Structure & Key Comparisons

11.1.5 End of Topic Test - Tissue

12 The Emigree - Carol Rumens (Born 1944)

12.1 The Emigree Analysis

12.1.1 Summary & Structure

12.1.2 Themes

12.1.3 Key Quotes & Comparisons

12.1.4 End of Topic Test - The Emigree

13 Kamikaze - Beatrice Garland (Born 1938)

13.1 Kamikaze Analysis

13.1.1 Summary & Structure

13.1.2 Themes

13.1.3 Themes 2

13.1.4 Structure, Quotes & Comparisons

13.1.5 End of Topic Test - Kamikaze

14 Checking Out Me History - John Agard (Born 1949)

14.1 Checking Out Me History Analysis

14.1.1 Summary

14.1.2 Themes

14.1.3 Key Quotes & Comparisons

14.1.4 End of Topic Test - Checking Out Me History

15 Remains - Simon Armitage (Born 1963)

15.1 Remains Analysis

15.1.1 Summary

15.1.2 Themes: Desensitisation &Trauma

15.1.3 Themes: Guilt

15.1.4 Themes: Nature of War

15.1.5 Structure

15.1.6 Key Quotes & Comparisons

15.1.7 End of Topic Test - Remains

16 Grade 9 - Themes & Comparisons

16.1 Grade 9 - Themes & Comparisons

16.1.1 Grade 9 - Themes & Comparisons

Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology

This section delves into the fifteen poems featured in the Power and Conflict GCSE Poetry Anthology. Follow the links below to access the Poems page, where you'll find in-depth analyses and the poems themselves.

The Power and Conflict poems include: Bayonet Charge, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Checking Out Me History, The Emigrée, Exposure, Kamikaze, London, My Last Duchess, Ozymandias, Poppies, The Prelude, Remains, Storm on the Island, Tissue and War Photographer.

Bayonet Charge by Ted Hughes 

The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

Checking Out Me History by John Agard 

The Emigrée by Carol Rumens 

Exposure by Wilfred Owen 

Kamikaze by Beatrice Garland 

London by William Blake 

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning 

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley 

Poppies by Jane Weir 

The Prelude by William Wordsworth 

Remains by Simon Armitage 

Storm on the Island by Seamus Heaney 

Tissue by Imtiaz Dharker 

War Photographer by Carole Ann Duffy 

The video below will help you understand how to analyse poetry.

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  1. AQA English Literature

    power and conflict poetry essay questions


    power and conflict poetry essay questions

  3. AQA English Literature

    power and conflict poetry essay questions

  4. Grade 6 model answer Power and Conflict Poetry Essay

    power and conflict poetry essay questions

  5. Power and Conflict Poetry Revision

    power and conflict poetry essay questions

  6. Thirty Power and Conflict poetry practise questions AQA GCSE

    power and conflict poetry essay questions



  2. These FIVE Poems Fit EVERY Power & Conflict Question

  3. Essay Poetry Profile

  4. Bri Esoteric

  5. 2 Chillphyl

  6. GCSE POETRY: Power + conflict: Remains


  1. PDF Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology

    poem from 'Power and Conflict'. 7. Compare the ways poets present ideas about the power of nature in 'Storm on the Island' and in one other poem from 'Power and Conflict'. 8. Compare the ways poets present the consequences of conflict and war in 'Bayonet Charge' and in one other poem from 'Power and Conflict'. 9.

  2. Power & Conflict

    This page will provide an overview of the Power and Conflict anthology. This cluster of poems is dealt with in Question 26 of Paper 2, Section B. This page includes: A complete list of the poems in the cluster. A brief overview of what is required in the exam. A brief explanation of key themes. A thematic comparison table of all 15 poems.

  3. PDF Power and Conflict Exam Practice Book V2

    3. Compare the ways poets present the power of man in Storm on the Island and in one other poem from Power and Conflict. Storm on the Island We are prepared: we build our houses squat, Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate. This wizened earth has never troubled us With hay, so, as you see, there are no stacks Or stooks that can be lost.

  4. Exemplar AQA Power And Conflict Essays

    AQA June 2018 English Literature Power and Conflict poetry essay response. Both 'Ozymandias' and 'Tissue' present nature as the fundamental and overlooked symbol of power within our world, whilst depicting the efforts of mankind to control or overpower it as futile. 'Ozymandias' centres around one of the most celebrated and powerful ...

  5. London

    London. Download PDF. Each poetry anthology in the GCSE contains 15 poems, and in the poetry question in the exam, you will be given one poem on the paper - printed in full - and asked to compare this given poem to one other from the anthology. As this is a "closed book" exam, you will not have access to the other poems, so you will have to ...

  6. PDF Question paper: Paper 2 Modern texts and poetry

    Instructions. Use black ink or black ball-point pen. Do not use pencil. Write the information required on the front of your answer book. The Paper Reference is 8702/2. Answer one question from Section A, one question from Section B and both questions in. Section C. You must not use a dictionary.

  7. PDF Power and Conflict Poetry Practice Exam Questions

    Power and Conflict Poetry Practice Exam Questions

  8. AQA Poetry Anthology

    An Overview. The Poetry Anthology is a key part of your GCSE. The Power and Conflict theme contains fifteen poems which can all be linked to power and/or conflict in some way. However, the theme of power and conflict is broader than you may think. Not all of the poems are about war and physical conflict (though some indeed are).

  9. Power and Conflict (Poems): Essay Writing Guide for GCSE (9-1

    The essay guide for Power and Conflict poems is an extremely well-written and detailed guide that is filled with useful information. It helps students to be able to structure their answers accurately and with cohesion in order to achieve higher marks in their GCSE exams. In addition to containing helpful information, the study guide gives ...

  10. AQA Power and Conflict Poetry

    Or read on to revise all of your Power and Conflict poems. London (William Blake) - AQA Power and Conflict Poetry Context. London was published in 1794. Blake was appalled by the terrible conditions and poverty he saw in London. The French Revolution is important context for this poem. In 1789 the French people overthrew their monarchy and ...

  11. How to get top marks in the AQA Power and Conflict Exam Question (by an

    How to write the Power and Conflict Essay: It's a comparative essay that you have to write, with one given poem and one of your choice. The exam question looks like this: Compare how poets present the effects of memory on people in Poppies and in one other poem from Power and Conflict. Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology List - English ...

  12. English at St Bernadette

    BBC Bitesize - GCSE English Literature - Poetry GCSE English Literature Poetry learning resources for adults, children, parents and teachers. High Level Comparison Essay Examples: Read and re-annotate your poems using the ideas and think how you could use these ideas yourself. Storm on the Island compared to Ozymandias. Extract from the Prelude ...

  13. Power and Conflict exam questions

    Worksheet. This useful resource contains 15 practice questions on the 'Power and Conflict' poetry cluster from the AQA GCSE poetry anthology. It's perfect for responses to exam-style questions and to help students confidently present their ideas about these poems for GCSE English Literature Paper 2. These helpful AQA GCSE exam-style questions ...

  14. AQA Power and Conflict Exam Questions

    File previews. pdf, 499.23 KB. docx, 52.61 KB. 15 full exam-style questions for AQA Power and Conflict poems. There's one essay for each poem. Word document included so you can edit the questions if desired.

  15. Storm on the Island

    Below is a guide to Storm on the Island by Seamus Heaney, from the Power and Conflict anthology. It includes: Overview: a breakdown of the poem, including its possible meanings and interpretations. Writer's methods: an exploration of the poet's techniques and methods. Context: an exploration of the context of the poem, relevant to its themes.

  16. AQA Power & Conflict Poetry Anthology

    File previews. pdf, 11.01 MB. This 137-page study guide contains all the poems in the AQA Power & Conflict cluster and are accompanied with notes on poetic devices used by the artist and the effects on the reader; there are explanatory notes on each poem and biographical details on each poet. There are handouts on the Assessment Objectives with ...

  17. Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology

    Kamikaze - How Japan's youth see the Kamikaze pilots of WW2. Kamikaze - some supplementary thoughts. Kamikaze - two pilots who cheated death. Kamikaze - interviews with Kamikaze pilots. Summary notes, past papers and poetry guide for AQA English GCSE Section B: Power and Conflict poetry anthology.

  18. Example 'Power and Conflict' Questions

    Sample Question 3 3. Compare the ways in which the effects of conflict are portrayed in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and one other poem. Charge of the Light Brigade Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. "Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!" he said.

  19. English Lit: AQA GCSE Poetry

    English Lit: AQA GCSE Poetry - Power & Conflict - Seneca ... poem

  20. Model Answers

    Below you will find a full-mark, Level 6 model answer for a poetry anthology comparison essay. The commentary below each section of the essay illustrates how and why it would be awarded Level 6. Despite the fact it is an answer to a specific Power and Conflict question, the commentary below is relevant to any poetry anthology question.


    Power and Conflict Cluster from the AQA Anthology and the creator of this booklet claims no credit for any of the textual extracts. ... should do a standard 4-6 paragraph essay with introduction and conclusion. At this point it is also useful to look at the exam ... A Sample of the mark scheme from AQA on the poetry question highlights the ...

  22. Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology

    This section delves into the fifteen poems featured in the Power and Conflict GCSE Poetry Anthology. Follow the links below to access the Poems page, where you'll find in-depth analyses and the poems themselves. The Power and Conflict poems include: Bayonet Charge, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Checking Out Me History, The Emigrée, Exposure, Kamikaze, London, My Last Duchess, Ozymandias ...

  23. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias. Each poetry anthology at GCSE contains 15 poems, and in your exam question you will be given one poem - printed in full - and asked to compare this printed poem to another. As this is a closed-book exam, you will not have access to the second poem, so you will have to know it from memory. Fifteen poems are a lot to revise.

  24. Power and Conflict Poetry

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like How many Power and Conflict poems are there in the anthology?, How many P&C poems will you be expected to write about in your exam?, Will the P&C poems be part of your LANGUAGE or LITERATURE GCSE? and more.