I am going to compare and contrast the poem “Old Man, Old Man” by U A Fanthorpe to the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph. Both were written in the twentieth century and were chosen as their theme, old age, links them together. We learn in the poem “old Man, Old Man” that the old man was a do it yourself type of character, and by the phrase “small recalcitrant things in bottles” we can assume that he needs to take medication and by the word “recalcitrant” we can learn that he has trouble getting them out of the bottle.
In the second stanza we learn that his eyesight is deteriorating “clues he left for himself when he could see better” and his hands a little unsteady ” his hands shamble along” also little things frustrate him like I’ve lost the hammer” He used to be an outdoor man, in the garden and shed “lord once of shed, garage and garden”, we can see this is no longer true as the poem says he was “once” lord of shed etc. He was good at all the things he did “connoisseur of nuts and bolts”, and we lean he did not know much about what girls wanted or did nor good with daughters. He was a dab hand with the Black and Decker as stated in the fifth verse but demoted himself to doing the washing up and yet more evidence that he can not see well.
“Washing up after supper, and missing crusted streaks of food on plates; on the sixth stanza the author U A Fanthorpe possibly also implies that he is losing some of his money. “Have you forgotten the jokes you no longer, as you forget you’ve smoked your timetabled cigarette?” As he cannot see the television as well he has no power to “arouse your surliness”. He might have been one of those people who yell at the T.V. and the talk of “disinherited children” could show that now he has not got much money or possessions to give to his children after he passes away. In the eighth verse it becomes apparent that he cannot find his way round anymore.
In the ninth stanza he seems to know that he is not as capable as he was but is almost reluctant to receive any help “so obdurate in your contracted world”. This is again brought up in verse ten ” you who hate being helpless”. But also deep down he knows he wants the help “when I left, you tried not to cry.” Although, he is not entirely helpless he is less independent than he was. He is not entirely handicapped after all he is ninety and living alone. In verse eleven we see that he also has his daughter to help willingly “let me find your hammer. Let me walk with you to Drury Lane.”
We can see in the poem “warning” that Jenny Joseph, the author, wants to be silly and irresponsible in old age. The first verse says some of the things she will do in old age. “Wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go.” and “spend my pension on brandy, and say we’ve no money for butter.” Amongst many more things In stanza two she continues to say what she could do in her future “you can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat” in the third verse she states all the things she doing now like “pay our rent, and set a good example for the children” all of which she does not want to do when she is older.
This leads her to the last stanza where she starts to think, why should I wait until I get old? “Maybe I ought to practice a little now?” however she stops her line of thought as she realises that this may be acceptable when you are old but definitely not when you are younger! The language and structure of poem one “Old Man, Old Man” are quite simple. There are ten equal length verses plus an eleventh which is shorter. I believe this is because the last verse is the author’s own contribution to the poem and is meant to stand out from the rest. The language is simple as it is a simple theme and does not need complicating. The verses end in a middle of a sentence rather than each verse stats a new sentence. There is a bit of personification in the first line “recalcitrant things in bottles.” The rest of the poem is fairly simple as there is no rhythm or rhyme.