Gunpowder Plot By Vernon Scannell


"Gunpowder Plot" By Vernon Scannell

   Write an account of a poem  which deals with an unusual or unpleasant
aspect of life. Show clearly how the poet uses such elements as effective
words and vivid images to create something memorable.

   The poem "Gunpowder Plot" was interesting as its title holds three
meanings. The author  could  have  meant  an allotment where gunpowder or
fireworks are stored or a  plan  involving  gunpowder  or  just a story
about the usage of gunpowder.

   The poem itself holds a double meaning, the first meaning and most
immediately noticeable  is  of  the  fun  and excitement on Guy Falkes
night with children and  woman running  around shouting  and screaming,
with fireworks exploding and filling the night  sky  with bright coloured
sparks. The second and more sinister meaning  is that if war, when
explosions devastate and the children running around screaming are running
for their lives. That in war time these beautiful fireworks kill and injure

   The man in the poem was in a war and being around the antics on a Guy
Falkes night bring  back  evil, unpleasant memories of war with people
dying. Later in the poem  we learn that the man's brother had dies in the
war as the line reads : "I hear a corpse's sons -- 'Who's scared of
bangers!' 'Uncle, John's afraid!'

   In the story  the  author  uses  a lot of comparisons, the first one we
come across is between fireworks and  "Curious cardboard buds" where he
describes them as flowers that have yet to  blossom and show their beauty.
Again later in the same verse he describes the  fireworks  as  orchids, a
very beautiful flower  that  is  very  expensive,  has  a short life and it
used on special occasions, the same description can be used effectively on

   The  story contains great usage of onomatopoeia and alliteration, using
such words  as  frenzied whizz, fiery, blast which really bring the poem to
life. "Glittering  golden  grain",  "Gulped  by greedy flames" are two of
the main uses of alliteration  in  the  poem,  the first describing when
the firework explodes in the sky,the second describes the Guy that the
children have made to burn in the fire.

   The sound  used in  the poem is mainly that of the fireworks as they
set off into the night sky making whizzing sounds and then the pop when
they explode. The other use of sound is of the woman running around

   The  use  of  colour is reserved for the fireworks, describing them as
magic orchids,  with  their  "fiery petals"  exploding  and  filling  the
air with "glittering golden grain."

   The  smell of  fireworks smell much like that of bombs as the base
chemicals are the same,  when the fireworks are set off they fill the air
around their launch area with  a bitter  smell ,  a bit like rotten eggs,
this one of the main elements that help to flood the man with his memories.

   The  message  the  author is trying to get through to us is that even
if you try  and  lock away evil memories deep in your mind the right
combination of events  sounds ,  smells,  visions  will  bring them
flooding back into your thoughts.  In  the  poem the  night  filled with
noise of explosions, lights shooting through the air,people running around
screaming unlocks the door to the evil  memories of war which so over-power
him that he is brought back to a re-run of  the  war where he hears bombs,
mortars and the voices of people who died.

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