Love & Relationships (Long Distance II / Mum)

Below you'll find another unseen comparison task, using the 'Love and Relationships' anthology. If you'd like to have a Word document version of this task you can download it here.

Love and Relationships - Long Distance II (Harrison) / Mum (Cochrane)

Read the two poems below and then answer both part a) and part b).

You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on part a) and 30 minutes on part b).


a) Compare how these two poems explore grief.

You should consider:

• ideas and attitudes in each poem

• tone and atmosphere in each poem

• the effects of the language and structure used. [20]

AND b) Explore in detail another poem from your anthology about loss. [20]


Long Distance II

Though my mother was already two years dead

Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,

put hot water bottles her side of the bed

and still went to renew her transport pass.


You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone.

He’d put you off an hour to give him time

to clear away her things and look alone

as though his still raw love were such a crime.


He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief

though sure that very soon he’d hear her key

scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.

He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.


I believe life ends with death, and that is all.

You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,

in my new black leather phone book there’s your name

and the disconnected number I still call.


Tony Harrison



We sat together in silence.

The lost look in your eyes.

Once they were like eternal stars.


You were full of joy and love.

But now is pain and loneliness,

Lost in your own world.


You cry out Mum.

But she has been gone some

Twenty years.


You cry out Mum.

I pray for the kiss of death to come.

My love.


Arthur Cochrane