The Conclusion of Joseph Turrill – Andrew Motion – Analysis

The Conclusion of Joseph Turrill
Garsington, Oxfordshire, 1867

I suppose I was cut out for a quiet life;
whether I have managed any such thing
is another matter,
what with larks to shoot,
and harvesting, gooseberries, and whatnot.

Then there was all that with Netty:
would she or wouldn’t she;
did I or didn’t I?
It is my belief
I spent more hours kicking my heels at her gate
than happy the other side.

Be that as it may,
Anno Domini drives out stern matters of fact,
and faults that appear to us
when we compare the lives we have
with those we imagine…
There’s nothing a gentle stroll
in the woods by moonlight can’t put right.

I tried that just now.
I saw swallows on the branches like clothes pegs,
which put me in such good humour
I brought home one of their nests and also four chicks.

Andrew Motion (1952 –

Andrew Motion was the UK Poet Laureate prior to Carol Ann Duffy.

Anno Domini – Medieval Latin and means “in the year of the Lord”, but is often translated as “in the year of our Lord”.

The problem with this poem is that many readers may not know anything about Joseph Turrill. Google is always there to help. JT lived in the period 1841-1925 and he was an Oxfordshire market gardener and diarist.

Perhaps if you read his diaries knowledge of a conclusion might be evident. But without such knowledge this poem independently tells us something about his nature.

S1 … JT thought he was in for a quiet life being a market gardener and close to nature and all the associated work … but here is a lamentation … it is a very busy life with all that his job entails … perhaps overwhelmed with all the work in a busy time of the year … of note is the shooting of larks something that may have occurred in his day, not sure of the reason – perhaps a food delicacy? … but the main thrust is the lamentation that time is being taken away from him … a loss of the life he wanted … not a quiet life

S2 … a different lamentation a loss of time in all his wasted efforts in courting Netty … would she or wouldn’t she … facilitation in the development of a relationship … again the loss of the life he wanted … perhaps wanting the permanent relationship of marriage

S3  … this is the way it is so he must face reality against his mind imaginings of what he would like to happen … how he would like life to be … so to get over these feelings of annoyance with his life … the solution a walk into the woods under moonlight … the escape to be himself alone with nature (I think I can remember JC doing something like this in the bible – escaping into nature when frustrated with the crowds)

S4 … well it worked, and moreover he saw ‘swallows like clothes pegs on the branches’ an added bonus, he could take a nest of young birds back home … something which would abhor readers of today!

So the conclusion (or my thoughts) – have time to yourself alone with nature when stressed … but to what extend this helps recovery and the continuance of everyday life is another matter! … time to enjoy a little exercise outside!

This is a link to details on Andrew Motion courtesy of Wikipedia.

Visitant – A. D. Hope – Analysis


Earth swings away to the cold.
Though I have what I came here to find,
Time changes and alters the mould.
As a new age replaces the old
I feel the world leave me behind.

It is not my world anymore;
But of course was it ever mine?
Bred up to a different law,
I came from a distant shore
To watch, to appraise, to divine.

Yet much which I saw became dear;
Some few were close to my heart;
Although it was perfectly clear
I was a stranger here
Standing aloof and apart.

Now it is time to return,
I shall miss this world more than I thought.
All I came here merely to learn
Holds me now with such love and concern,
To whom do I make my report?

A. D. Hope

There are four five line stanzas with rhyming scheme ‘abaab’.

We are here for such a short time and it is not our real ‘home’. We are only taking up temporary accommodation. So it is quite alright to consider ourselves as a visitor to the world – well that is the thought behind these words – so what has this visitation been like? And when we return to our true ‘home’ what report will be rendered (and to whom)?

The other underlying thought concerns age when the world of our youth is remembered with affection – was it ever ours anyway. As we age the changing world leaves us behind as much as we are about to leave the world behind too.

The world has been kind and will be missed. I like the nice sentiment to be held in the love of all that has been learnt.

Perhaps we should leave a written report below before that final journey then when we get to ‘wherever’ hopefully (excuse the pun) we may be able to reference it and then we won’t forget anything! Lines of communication may be a problem of course – a special type of Email?

Here is a link to the Australian poet A. D. Hope on Wikipedia …