Opening Paragraph > Briefly point out what you think the poem is about. Address the question and give an overall opinion about it in relation to the poem.
Q: How does Sitwell present the similarities and differences of the heart and mind within the poem? The poem ‘Heart and Mind’ by Edith Sitwell predictably explores the relationship between the heart and the mind. In the poem, the heart is associated with powerful yet destructive feelings and the mind seems much weaker, more rational and devoid of emotion. The overall concept appears to be that the two are irrevocably different. Body > Using PEEL paragraphs expand upon your initial opinion (stated in the opening paragraph) by finding evidence that supports your views in the poem.
In the first stanza, the lion explains to the lioness that the heart and body are the same by repeating the word ‘remember’. He implies that the powerful ‘raging fire’ of their physical existence, their essence or heart, will not fade with death thus keeping their feelings of physical power alive in the mind long after they turn to ‘amber dust’. The very word ‘amber’ here contrasts with ‘dust’ and portrays an image of beauty even in death. The lion is the only ‘voice’ in the poem that believes the heart and the mind can be one. Close > Refer back to the question and the message of the poem, remember to think laterally here, and discuss whether you think the poet has been successful in delivering it. Then offer your opinion about the subject of the poem.
From my analysis, it appears that Sitwell favours the concept where the heart and the mind are different entities and cannot be reconciled. I think the poem, which reads like a fable of sorts, actually represents the fallacies of war. The lion could be emblematic of England and the British Empire whom traditionally believe that war can be won by positive thinking, the archetypal ‘stiff upper lip’ embodied in the messages of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the 2nd World War. It seems, however, that the lion is wrong when reading the very last line of the poem where the poet clearly conveys that the ‘love’ between the heart and the mind is ‘hopeless’, a bond that will never gel. I agree with Sitwell, in that in order to perform efficiently in battle the heart and the mind must surely be detached, dislocated and disconnected.