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A GCSE Guide to AQA Unit 2: Poetry Across Time | Mametz Wood

Shane Richardson | Sunday January 13, 2013


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Guide Navigation

1. Introduction
2. Out of the Blue
3. Flag
4. Mametz Wood
5. The Yellow Palm
6. The Right Word
7. At the Border
8. Poppies
9. Exam Technique
10. Sample Exam Questions

AQA Anthology Poems


“Moon on the Tides: Conflict Cluster”

Introduction to the Poem

About the Author

Owen Sheers is one of the most popular contemporary poets. Mametz Wood is taken from a collection called Skirrid Hill, published in 2005.

Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 but lives in Wales and New York. He attended Oxford and East Anglia universities.

He is considered to be one of the most important modern poets by critics and readers alike.

Checking your Understanding

  1. How many different time frames are referred to in the poem?
  2. What does the farmer discover beneath the surface of the ground?
  3. What do we learn, from the arrangement of the bodies, about how these men came to be here?
  4. What details does the poet focus on about the bodies?

Commenting on Language

  1. Identify if, and where, Sheers uses rhyme in the poem – what is its effect on you?
  2. How would use describe Sheers use of stanzas – what effect does it create?
  3. How does Sheers use particular images to convey the horror of the soldiers’ deaths?
  4. How could the final stanza be ambiguous – that is, not to offer a clear straightforward meaning? Poets enjoy playing with meanings in many ways – through the use of metaphors, most often, but creating ambiguity like this is another common technique that helps them engage the reader more deeply into the world of the poem.

Extending your Understanding

What is Sheers’ ‘big idea’?

Sheers’ appears to use the poem to comment on the perpetual nature of war and human violence. The emphasis on the past and present in the poem – the present represented by the farmer; the past by the dead soldiers – is an important aspect of the poem. It allows Sheers to emphasise that the violence of war is not confined to the...

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