Vernon Scannell’s poem ‘Nettles’ has been written from the perspective of a father. In Scannell’s poem he talks about his son and his son’s individual experience of injury and harm. Scannell is outraged with the enemy who has hurt his son, and will continue to hurt him through the years. Throughout the poem, Scannell mentions ‘regiment’ ‘fierce parade’ and ‘recruits’. These words build up an extended metaphor of an army/enemy. The sense of an enemy reflects the persona’s feelings and emotions, and allows the readers to understand the logic and motivation of his anger.
The sense of an enemy also suggests violence, which has been acted upon the persona’s son. The extended metaphor succeeds in having an impact and manages to interpret violence. Another technique Scannell uses in his poem is emotive language, which has a great effect. ‘And slashed in fury’ emphasises the feelings of the persona, he feels angry and outraged, and he wants to seek revenge. ‘Slashed’ establishes not only violence and rage, but fear. This is also a reflection of the persona’s emotions.
The persona is angry at the enemy for what he has done to his son, however, he is also scared and in fear of the nettles, which have been perceived as an enemy. Scannell’s poem has been structured to have an alternate rhyming pattern. This pattern continues all the way through the poem. The alternate rhyme seems to quicken the pace of the poem and draw the reader’s attention. Perhaps, Scannell’s is also using the alternate rhyme to highlight what is happening, and his feeling towards the matter.