Areas of Comparison

Nil Nil

Nil Nil can be compared to The Ferryman’s Arms in its use of structure and contrast.

Structure – both poems begin with a long stanza that is followed by a shorter second stanza that clarifies the central theme of the poem.

Theme of duality – both poems draw many parallels: in The Ferryman’s Arms we have the speaker playing his doppelganger; in Nil Nil we have the fate of a football team paralleled with the fate of a fighter-pilot.

Wider themes rooted in the everyday - in The Ferryman’s Arms the poet moves from the ordinary pool game to the implications of death. In Nil Nil we begin with the ordinary event of a football game and the demise of a team to suddenly be confronted with the tragically absurd story of the fighter-pilot which clarifies the wider theme about the meaninglessness of existence.

11:00: Baldovan

11:00: Baldovan can be compared to The Ferryman’s Arms in its use of structure and mood.

Structure – both poems use structure to develop their central theme. 11:00: Baldovan uses incremental two line stanzas to create the sense of the journey that ends in a nightmare. Paterson uses long sentences and enjambment well as the repetition of ‘and’ to create the sense of drama and panic which enables the themes of growing up and of fear to be developed. Similarly, in The Ferryman’s Arms, Paterson uses a long first stanza to establish the pool game and the player potting the black ball. The second stanza, shorter in length, makes clear the comparison with death and the poem’s theme.

Mood – Both poems portray a sinister world. 11:00: Baldovan portrays the landscape of nightmare with its unfamiliar streets, the charred wreck of a bus, and the black waves of the sea. The speaker must negotiate their way through this vision. In The Ferryman’s Arms we are also presented with an unsettling place where the speaker is drawn in to the backroom to the worn pool table with its intestinal rumble. The second stanza then sees him waiting on the ghost-like ferry which arrives without breaking the skin of the water. The sea in this poem is also black and foreboding. Both poems end with a sense of doom. The black waves slowly folding in at the bottom of the familiar road in 11:00: Baldovan and the doppelganger left knocking in the balls for practice, for next time.

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