1. Starter: what do seeds represent? The Seed-Merchants Son Agnes Grozier Herbertson
2. The Seed-Merchants Son The Seed-Merchant has lost his son, His dear, his loved, his only one. So young he was, even now it seems He was a child with a childs dreams. He would race over the meadow-bed With his bright, bright eyes and his cheeks all red. Fair and healthy and long of limb; It made one young just to look at him. His school books, unto the cupboard thrust, Have scarcely had time to gather dust. Died in the war.And it seems his eyes Must have looked at death with a childs surprise. The Seed-Merchant goes on his way: I saw him out on his land today; Old to have fathered so young a son, And now the last glint of his youth is gone. seed-merchant -- implies the theme of life continuing seeds are a symbol of new life. This poem talks about the effect that the war had on family and society by using the example of a father losing his son. the pronoun (his) and the pattern of 3 highlightsthe strong bond between the two. innocence Died very young; a loss of youth/potential Is the father moving on?
3. What could one say to him in his need? Little there seemed to say indeed. So still he was that the birds flew round The grey of his head without a sound, Careless and tranquil in the air, As if naught human were standing there. On, never a soul could understand Why he looked at the earth, and the seed in his hand, As he had never before seen seed or sod: I heard him murmur: Thank God, thank God! Rhetorical ? effect: makes us feel sympathy as he is grieving Imagery: very still and dull; makes us think of a corpse. the line so still he was that the birds flew round shows that he couldnt continue his day to day life anymore, representing how families were affected during war. He could be relating his son to a seed; with the idea that all nature is renewed, he could be thinking his sons life or soul will also be renewed. He could have accepted that it was fate/his time to die. The line never before seen or sod shows that he is seeing his sons death in a new light. What surprises us about this phrase at the very end?
4. CONTENT AND THEME The poet chose to make the subject of her poem the son of someone who grows and sells seeds. Why do you think she chose this particular occupation? Which facts about the boy and his life emphasise his youth? How has his father reacted to his death?
5. IMAGERY Focus on the imagery and language used to emphasise and convey the boys youth and his fathers sense of loss. How do the following suggest youth? Choose which you think is most powerful and write up into a PEE paragraph answering how the phrase suggests youth. child with a childs dream bright eyes cheeks all red with a childs surprise last glint of his youth is gone the grey of his head
6. LANGUAGE 1. The poet uses repetition and alliteration in the poem. What effect do the following examples have in the poem? His dear, his loved, his only one bright, bright eyes long of limb So still Explain how the words in each phrase have an effect in the audience? What do we think/feel? 4 separatesentences
7. STRUCTURE 1. How does the structure of the poem reflect the themes of youth and age? Look at stanzas and rhyme 2. Why do you think the poet chose a two-line stanza in rhyming couplets? Did you find this effective?
8. PERSONAL RESPONSE The ending of the poem is mysterious. What do you think the Seed-Merchant meant when he said Thank God, thank God!? Consider some of the following possibilities and choose the one you find most convincing. He is glad that he had a son to sacrifice in the war. He is glad that life can still go on by his planting more seeds. He is stunned with grief and doesnt really know what he is saying. He thanks God that he had a son, even for a short time. He thought that life was over but realises that it is not when he looks at the seed. Do you have another interpretation of his words.