Sie sind auf Seite 1von 28

GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

‘Praise Song for My Mother’ by Grace 
Nichols 
Learning Objectives:  
- AO1: respond to texts critically and imaginatively, select and evaluate textual detail 
to illustrate and support interpretations. 
- AO2: explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation 
of ideas, themes and settings. 
 

Pre‐reading activity: 
Look at the images below.   What are they depicting? 
 

 
 

 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 1


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

 How do you feel when you think of the words ‘water’, ‘moon’ and ‘sunrise’? What 
feelings do they evoke within you? 
 
   Use a thesaurus to find some new and exciting vocabulary to describe how you feel 
when you look at the images.    Write the new vocabulary in the spaces below. 

water:
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 

moon:
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 

sunrise:
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 

P A I R   
 Discuss. Do you have the same type of vocabulary? 
 
 If someone said you were ‘water’, ‘moon’ and ‘sunrise’ to them, how would you feel? 
 What ideas of love would they being trying to convey?   
 Are ‘water’, ‘moon’ and ‘sunrise’ natural or man‐made forces? 
 Are these forces fundamental to the existence of life? 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 2


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Poetry jigsaw – instructions for teacher  
 Pupils should work in groups of three to match lines, and arrange and order the 
poem.   

Instructions for teacher:  
1. Enlarge, cut out and hide the ‘Poetry Jigsaw’ lines around the classroom. 
2. Put pupils into groups of three.  One student within the group takes on the role of 
scribe; s/he will need the empty table on page 5.  The other two students are ‘runners’. 
(Teacher to differentiate accordingly.) 

3. The task for the ‘runners’ is to find a statement, memorise it and then return to the 
scribe who has to write down the information provided by her / his runners.  Runners 
are NOT allowed to pick up the statements or to shout the facts across the classroom.  
Neither are they allowed to memorise more than one fact before returning to the scribe. 

4. This is a frantic activity but one that students enjoy and it often turns into a race without 
the teacher even mentioning the word.  Advice on movement around the classroom 
might be necessary. 

5. When all groups have completed the task, the team must cut out the snippets from the 
poem and, working together, try to match lines, and arrange and order the poem in 
stanzas. 
 
Extra tips for ordering and arranging ‘Praise Song for My Mother’

If necessary, and / or for differentiation purposes, provide the following extra


information to students.

 There are five stanzas.


- Stanza 1 has three lines;  

- Stanza 2 has three lines;  

- Stanza 3 has three lines;  

- Stanza 4 has four lines;  

- Stanza 5 has one line. 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 3


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Poetry jigsaw – teacher copy 

You were moon’s eye to me

water to me sunrise to me
the fishes red gill rise and warm
to me and streaming
pull and grained
You were
and mantling
You were sailing-ships
the flame tree’s
the ballast
spread to me
replenishing
You were
replenishing
the crab’s leg /
deep and bold
the fried plantain
and fathoming
smell
Go to your wide
futures, you said
Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 4
GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Poetry jigsaw – pupil copy 
Dear Scribe,

Make an accurate note of the words, lines,


phrases brought to you by your runners.

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 5


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Happy? 
 Read your version of the poem aloud in your group. You all must have a part and lines to 
read.  Experiment and play with varying tones, volume and pace. Focus on the RHYTHM of 
the poem.  
  Are you happy with how you have matched the lines? 
  Are you happy with the content of each stanza? 
  Are you happy with the overall structure and order of the poem? 
 
Take a few moments to make any changes you now feel are necessary. 
 
 

The Title 

Praise Song for My Mother


 It is clear from the title that this poem is from a child to its mother. We can also deduce 
that it is likely to be in a positive and loving tone with use of the word ‘Praise’. 
 
 But why do you think Grace Nichols uses the word ‘Song’? 

  What does this suggest about how the poem will be structured? Hint – think about the 
rhythm. 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________  
 
 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 6


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Grace Nichols   
 
 
 
 Grace Nichols was born in Guyana in 1950.  
She came to the UK in 1977 with her partner 
John  Agard,  who  is  also  a  poet.    She  has 
published  numerous  works  for  both  adults 
and  children  and  is  a  multi  award‐winning 
poet. 
 
 Find out five more facts about Grace Nichols or Guyana. Use the Internet to help you.  
List them here. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

  S H A R E  Share your findings with your teacher and the rest of the class. 
 
 If you hear of some more interesting facts about Grace Nichols or Guyana, write them 
below. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________  

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 7


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Punctuation 
 Punctuation: Poets will use punctuation as they structure and write their
poems. Some will use punctuation conventionally. Others will not. Others will use a
mixture of both conventional and unconventional punctuation in their poems.
Whichever is used, the use of punctuation will, along with word choices, be central
to the poem’s messages, ideas and themes.
 Capitalisation: The use of capital letters for certain words.
 End-stopped lines: An end-stopped line is one in which a grammatical pause
comes at the end of the line. It can be shown, for example, by the use of a
comma, semicolon or full stop.
 Enjambment: or run-on lines. This is a line ending in which the syntax,
rhythm and thought are continued into the next line without pausing or
stopping. Run-on lines can also straddle verses – not just lines.
 Mid-line full stops (breaks): The use of a full stop within a line. The
grammatical pause causes a break in the syntax, rhythm or thought within the
line. Other types of punctuation can be used to similar effect. For example, a
colon, semicolon, dash, forward oblique.
 Mid-line commas: The use of a comma or commas within a line. It can be
used for listing, or for separating clauses.

Examiner’s Hint
1. Some poets will capitalise the start of every line in their poem.
2. Some poets will only capitalise the start of a line if it is also the start of a
sentence.
3. Some poets will only capitalise the start of a line if it is also the start of a
stanza.
4. Some poets will capitalise the start of some (but not all) lines – even if it is
not the start of a sentence. If this latter strategy is used, the poet is making a
conscious decision to give special emphasis to a word.
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 8


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

  In ‘Praise Song for My Mother’ Nichols uses very little punctuation. On the next page, 
the poem has been converted into a piece of prose.  Read it as a class and then again, 
silently.  (Your teacher will let you know if you are to use version one or version two.) 

Version One 

 In pairs, try and turn the text back into a poem. Each paragraph represents a
stanza.

you were water to me deep and bold and fathoming

you were moon’s eye to me pull and grained and mantling

you were sunrise to me rise and warm and streaming

you were the fishes red gill to me the flame tree’s spread to me the crab’s
leg/the fried plantain smell replenishing replenishing

go to your wide futures you said

 
Version Two 

 In pairs, try and turn the text back into a poem. Each paragraph represents a
stanza.

you were water to me deep and bold and fathoming you were moon’s eye
to me pull and grained and mantling you were sunrise to me rise and
warm and streaming you were the fishes red gill to me the flame tree’s
spread to me the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell replenishing
replenishing go to your wide futures you said

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 9


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Tips for writing ‘Praise Song for My


Mother’
 Capitalisation: In her poem, Nichols uses version 3 above. She uses five
capital letters. (See page 8)
 Enjambment: There are ten examples of enjambment.
 Mid-line breaks: Nichols uses a forward oblique (/) on once occasion.
 Mid-line commas: Nichols uses a comma on one occasion.

 As you structure your version of the poem, try and think about the poet’s
message and theme.

Extra tips for writing ‘Praise Song for


My Mother’
If necessary, and / or for differentiation purposes, provide the following extra
information to students.

 There are five stanzas.


- Stanza 1 has three lines;  

- Stanza 2 has three lines;  

- Stanza 3 has three lines;  

- Stanza 4 has four lines;  

- Stanza 5 has one line. 
 
  Read ‘Praise Song for My Mother’ by Grace Nichols and compare your version of the 
poem to the original.   
  Discuss your findings with your teacher and the rest of the class. Compare moments 
where your versions were very similar and / or very different to the original. 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 10


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Images and imagery 
Concentration, listening and memory 

 Count to ten 
Pupils form a circle.  The aim of the activity is for pupils to count, as a group, 
from 1 – 10.  Only one person at a time is allowed to call a number: pupil 1 
calls 1, pupil 2 calls 2, etc.  Pupils are not allowed to signal intent and are not 
allowed to count around the circle.  If more than one person calls the same 
number, the sequencing must start again. 
 Simon Says 
Pupils should find a space in the classroom.  The teacher calls instructions but 
only instructions which start with ‘Simon says’ should be obeyed.  If pupils 
follow instructions which do not start with ‘Simon says’, they are out of the 
game.   
 I went to the market and bought …  
Pupils form a circle.  The first person starts the shopping list.  ‘I went to the 
market and bought an apple.’  The second person has to remember the item 
from the first person, and then add another item.  ‘I went to the market and 
bought an apple and a balloon.’  And so on.   
 
    Listen  carefully  to  a  reading  or  recording  of  ‘Praise  Song  for  My  Mother’  by  Nichols.  
Listen again.  As you listen, you need to try and remember the entire poem. 
  Working on your own, try and write the poem. Your task is to try and write the poem 
exactly as Grace Nichols wrote it. Then, pair up with a classmate and share your versions of 
the poem.  Work together to write an improved and perfected version of the poem.   
  Read the original poem and compare it to the versions you wrote.   
    Discuss  your  findings  with  your  teacher  and  the  rest  of  the  class.  Compare  moments 
where  your  versions  were  very  similar  and  /  or  very  different  to  the  original.    Which 
elements of the poem were the easiest to recall?  Which elements were the most difficult? 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 11


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Images and imagery (continued) 
 Given Nichols’ use of imagery and images, this is a very visual poem.    
 In small groups, illustrate the poem.  You can use a mixture of words and images in your 
illustrations.  If you use words, try and make them, like the images, capture the mood and 
meaning of the poem.   
  You can cut out pictures from magazines or newspapers, use clipart or draw the images 
yourself – or a mixture of all of the above. Make a class display by placing one image on 
each page of A4.  

1 “You were / water to me / deep and bold and fathoming”


2  “You were / moon’s eye to me / pull and grained and mantling” 
3 “You were / sunrise to me / rise and warm and

streaming”

4 “You were / the fishes red gill to me”


5  “ the flame tree’s spread to me” 

6 “the crab’s leg”


7 “the fried plantain smell / replenishing
replenishing”
 
Choose your favourite image. Explain its effectiveness in the space below. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 12


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Nouns and noun phrases 
 Grace Nichols’ choice of nouns is interesting in the study of the mother and child 
relationship. Below are the nouns and noun phrases from the poem, in the order that they 
appear within the poem. 

water  moon’s eye  sunrise  the 
fishes red gill  the flame tree’s spread  
the crab’s leg  the fried plantain smell  
 
  P A I R  
How do the nouns change as the poem progresses? Think about TIME and SPACE, as well as 
senses. Discuss your ideas with a partner. 
 

“You were / the fishes red gill to me” 
 Look very closely at the noun phrase in the above sentence. What do you notice about 
the use or lack of punctuation? What effect does this have? Think about what you were 
discussing earlier. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 13


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

  In this poem, the narrator tells us about the speaker’s relationship with her mother.  A 
sense of loss is established from the repeated verb phrase, ‘You were’ because it is 
written in the past tense.  However, the mother is always described in a positive way 
through the series of metaphors.  The final line, this time from the mother, again is positive 
as she points the speaker away from dwelling on the past and to focus instead on the 
future.  
 

Verbs 
Highlight the final words of stanzas one, two, three and four. What types of words are they?  
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
What tense are they written in? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

 Why do you think Nichols has done this?  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 14


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Let’s take a closer look  
  Answer the following questions by providing quotes and analysis. Think PEA ‐ point, 
example, analysis. 

Stanza 1 
You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming

  How is a sense of loss established in the first line?   
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
This line is repeated at the start of the first three stanzas. Why?  What is the purpose and 
effect of this repetition? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
There is NO PUNCTUATION in this stanza.  Why did Nichols choose not to have any 
punctuation at the end of each line?  
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 15


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Focus on the final word of this stanza, ‘fathoming’.   Look up the word ‘fathom’ in the 
dictionary. Write down the three meanings of ‘fathom’. 
1. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
2. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________
3. 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Using this information, explain in detail how Grace Nichols plays with the meanings of the 
word ‘fathom’ in this stanza.   
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Using the information gathered from the last two questions, explain the purpose and effect 
of ‘fathoming’. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 16


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Stanza 2 
You were
moon’s eye to me
pull and grained and mantling
 
Look up the word ‘moon’ in your dictionary.  Write the definition in the box below. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Look up the word ‘eye’ in your dictionary.  Write the definition in the box below 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Now that you know the exact meanings of these words, what do you think ‘moon’s eye’ 
might mean?  
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

The word ‘mantling’ is written in present tense to emphasize a sense of continuance at the 
end of each of the four stanzas. The main definitions of ‘mantle’ are: 
• A loose wrap or cloak 
• A garment regarded as a symbol of someone’s power or authority 
• Anything that covers completely or envelops 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 17


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Discuss the meaning and effect of using the word ‘mantling’ in this stanza. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 

Stanza 3 
You were
sunrise to me
rise and warm and streaming
 

- Underline the repetition in this stanza.   
- What is the purpose and effect on the pace when using the repetition of ‘and’ in this 
stanza? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 

Stanza 4  
You were
the fishes red gill to me
the flame tree’s spread to me
the crab’s leg/fried plantain smell
replenishing replenishing

What life force does the ‘fishes red gill’ bring? How does this essential gas link to the 
speaker’s mother? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 18


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Focus on the third line of this stanza ‐ ‘the flame tree’s spread to me’. Here, reference to 
‘flame’ suggests fire and heat.  As part of the same description – right next to it – we have: 
‘tree’s spread’ – which suggests shade.  What technique is Nichols using? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
What is the purpose and effect of this? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
In this stanza, Nichols uses a punctuation mark in a very precise way.  Highlight the 
punctuation. What is its purpose?  What does it show about how the speaker views these 
two food items? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Highlight the repetition.  What do you think it might indicate? Hint – think about 
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES.  
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 19


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

  In each of the first three stanzas, Nichols uses a metaphor to describe the mother figure.  
Each metaphor is then qualified by a description.  Re‐read the first three stanzas.  Work in 
pairs to shade the metaphors in one colour and the descriptive element in another.  
 

  Now look closely at stanza four.  Again, shade the metaphors in one colour and the 
descriptive element in another.  What do you notice?  Why, do you think, are all of these 
metaphors qualified by one description? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 

Listen to a reading of the poem or read the poem aloud.  What happens to the pace of the 
poem in stanza 4?   
 

  Re‐write stanza four in the style of the previous three stanzas.  That is, each metaphor 
should have a description. 
 

You were
the fishes red gill to me
________________________________________________________________
You were
the flame tree’s spread to me
________________________________________________________________
You were
the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell
________________________________________________________________
 
In small groups, take it in turns to share your new stanzas.  What do you notice about the 
pace of them?  So, why do you think that Nichols did not add the descriptive element here?  
Why might she have wanted the increase the pace of the poem in this stanza?   
  

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 20


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

List five words to describe the type of childhood you think the speaker had.   Use a 
thesaurus to find new and exciting vocabulary.  Avoid using words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’ 
‘happy’ ‘sad’ or ‘nice’.   

1 _________________________________
2 _________________________________
3 _________________________________
4 _________________________________
5 _________________________________

Stanza 5
Go to your wide futures, you said

  This final stanza contains only one line.  Why did Nichols choose this for the final stanza? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
Whose voice is it? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
What is the effect of Nichols giving her mother the last word? 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 21


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

  Poetry detective  
 Spot the following poetic techniques and devices at work in the poem. What is their 
PURPOSE and EFFECT? 
 

techniques  examples 

metaphor   

past tense   

repetition   

punctuation   

lack of punctuation   

colour & senses   

voice of child   

imagery   

voice of mother   

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 22


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Device spotting 
 
Examiner’s Hint: 
Technical terms, device spotting, counting lines and alphabetising rhyme schemes are only 
of any use if they support your understanding of the poems and the comparisons between 
them – and you show this. 
 

So, there is very little point in saying:
Nichols uses a metaphor in line ____ of the poem.
 

There is also very little point in saying: 
In the metaphor ______________, she compares ______ to _______.
 

The above, although useful in focusing your thoughts, will not earn you many marks in 
terms of the assessment objectives and they will only be of use if you also do the following. 
 

  To earn the marks, you must: 
 use appropriate quotations; 
 analyse and explain the use of any technical terms and poetic devices;   
 show your understanding and detail your personal response; 
 make comparisons. 
 link all of the above to the wider content of the poem.  
 
  Select  one  metaphor  from  the  poem.  Write  your  response  to  Nichols’  use  of  the 
metaphor.  Try to earn full marks. 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________ 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 23


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

My Itchy Toes Smell Loads


 Complete the table below with what you consider to be the most
important quotes and poetic devices within each category.

m eaning

i magery

t one

S tructure
and Form

language

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 24


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Comparing poems 
- AO3: Make comparisons and explain links between texts, evaluating writers’ 
different ways of expressing meaning and achieving effects 
  Use the Venn diagram to find the differences and similarities between the two poems. 
 
 
‘Praise Song for My ‘Sister Maude’
Mother’  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Think about:

FORM, structure & themes +


language
style ideas

subject genre YOUR RESPONSE


Sample exam questions 
 Compare the portrayal of family relationships in ‘Praise Song for My Mother’ and 
‘Sister Maude’.  
 Compare the attitudes of the voices in ‘Praise Song for My Mother’ and ‘Sister 
Maude’ towards the person they are speaking to. 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 25


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Planning an essay 
  Using MITSL as a guide, create an essay plan or spider diagram for your essay question.  
You  must  include  3  ‐  5  points  of  comparison.    Number  each  point  in  the  order  you  would 
write  about  them  in  your  exam.    When  you  write  your  essay,  remember  to  analyse 
structural and poetic devices for their effect and meaning. Don’t just list. 
 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________ 
 

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 26


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Praise Song for My Mother

You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming

You were
5 moon’s eye to me
pull and grained and mantling

You were
sunrise to me
rise and warm and streaming

10 You were
the fishes red gill to me
the flame tree’s spread to me
the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell
replenishing replenishing

15 Go to your wide futures, you said

Grace Nichols

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 27


GCSE Anthology: Moon on the Tides - Relationships

Acknowledgments and thanks


Audio file scripts written by Heather Fish, Karen Bishop & Anne Brown
Audio file recordings by Jethro Chaplin, Mwnci Studios - www.mwncistudios.com
E-poetry booklets by Sun and Moon Studios- www.sunandmoonstudios.co.uk

Nichols, Grace
‘Praise Song for My Mothers’ from The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (Virago, 1984), reprinted by permission of
Curtis Brown Ltd., London, on behalf of Grace Nichols.

Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders of material reproduced in this collection. If notified,
we will be pleased to rectify any errors / omissions.

Copyright © 2011 TES English www.tes.co.uk/aqamoononthetides 28