GCSE 9-1 English Language and Literature here

Xmas Quizzes

Cover Lessons

Blog Archive

Student Room

Useful Materials

Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Natural World

Richard Gent | Friday December 12, 2014

Categories: KS4, EDEXCEL GCSE, Edexcel GCSE English Literature 2015, Component 2: 19th Century Novel and Poetry since 1789

Guide Navigation

  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | How to Use
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Contents of Poems
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Love and Relationships
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Natural World
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Power and Conflict
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Time and Place
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Youth and Age
  • Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unseen Poetry | Glossary

The Natural World

A

In this poem, John Deane describes a basking shark which is seen off Achill Island, off the Irish coast.

Basking Shark- Achill Island
Where bogland hillocks hid a lake
we placed a tom-cat on a raft; our guns
clawed pellets in his flesh until, his back
arched, the pink tongue bitten through, he drowned.
We fished for gulls with hooks we’d hide
in bread and when they swallowed whole we’d pull;
screaming they sheared like kites above a wild
sea; twine broke and we forgot. Until
that day we swam where a great shark
glided past, dark and silent power
half-hidden through swollen water; stunned
we didn’t shy one stone. Where seas lie calm
dive deep below the surface; silence there
pounds like panic and moist fingers touch.

What is this poem about?

The speaker describes a series of fishing and hunting expeditions and he and his friend appear to care little for nature and show elements of cruelty until one day they come across a shark which is they are in awe of. This encounter and the terror caused by the shark, leads the speaker to have a new found respect for other living things.

The poet’s use of language and structure

This single stanza poem is unrhymed and is an irregular sonnet. There are clearly two halves and this is indicated by the change of tense in lines 12-14. The poet uses powerful imagery throughout and contrasts the beauty of the shark with other living beings. There are...


Please subscribe or log in to access the rest of this resource (including associated media).

This website offers a wealth of enriched content to help you help your students with GCSE English Language and Literature. Please subscribe or log in to access this content.

The content of this site has been produced by teachers and examiners. Edusites have similar support sites for Film and Media called Edusites Film and Edusites Media.

If you would like more information about Edusites English, get in touch using the contact details below.

Kind regards, Richard Gent
Edusites Ltd

[email] admin@edusites.co.uk
[telephone] 01604 847689
[fax] 01604 843220