iGCSE – Songs of Ourselves – Volume 1, Part 5 (Poems from the 19th & 20th Centuries (III))

I am now underway with this selection and will hopefully post a new analysis every week or two.

IGCSE is probably the first time you’ve had to do any serious analytical writing about poetry and this site is designed to help you along the way with your journey. Alongside analysis of each of the poems in your selection, you will find a range of useful resources including student essay responses, the mark criteria, essay writing tips and whatever else I feel might come in handy for you.

However, the purpose of this site, and my analysis in particular, is not to provide you with a cheat sheet or the definitive answers, but rather to help explain some of the key ideas and ease you into developing your own interpretation.

Here is a brief summary of how I organise my analysis:

Click here for Analysis Breakdown


1. For Heidi With Blue Hair
2. Elegy For My Father’s Father
3. One Art
4. Reservist
5. Cold In The Earth
6. Meeting At Night
7. Because I Could Not Stop For Death
8. The Trees

9. The Trees Are Down
10. Praise Song For My Mother
11. Anthem For Doomed Youth
12. Attack
13. My Parents
14. Song: Tears, Idle Tears
15. Friend

Songs of Ourselves – Volume 1 Part 5 – Poems – a handy printable resource with all the poems, perfect for you to scribble your annotations all over!
CIE iGCSE Literature Syllabus 2017-2018 – official syllabus with details of your entire course.

18 thoughts on “iGCSE – Songs of Ourselves – Volume 1, Part 5 (Poems from the 19th & 20th Centuries (III))

    • Hi Ara,

      I am not a million miles away from getting this sorted, but we are talking about months rather than weeks.


      Mr Sir

  1. Dear Sir,
    I would like to offer utmost help on this site as far as joining you in the analysis presentations.My name is Phoebe Batanda,a Language Arts and Grammar teacher in East Africa, to be specific,Uganda,Kampala City.The High School classes i teach offer the Cambridge exam, and i found your postings on students analysis very helpful for my students.
    Therefore,following your heavy schedule of a new Job,a baby plus working on an AS and A2 paper,am letting you know that i can be a shoulder to lean on so that this noble cause can continue.I will be delighted to work with you ,as one African proverb from Kenya,among the kikuyus reveals that one finger cannot kill a louse.
    Let me know when you have decided.
    yours truly
    Phoebe Batanda

    • Hi Phoebe,

      How are things back in Kampala? It’s over a year since I left and I’ve really started to miss the people and life out there.

      Brilliant news that you are happy to help. Perhaps you can send me an email on cieliteraturecontact@gmail.com and then we can discuss exactly how you want to help out.


      Mr Sir

  2. Dear sir,
    I have my IGCSE exams in may and june 2017, I just wanted to ask whether there is any chance that the analyses will come before.
    Thanks you

  3. Hello! I just wanted to politely ask whether these notes will be put up in the near future? I very much appreciate the things that you post on this website and will be forever grateful to have these to aid my revision.

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Geogri,

      If I am honest, I think they will be a fair while. I am still working on an AS section and then A2 is my next priority, plus I’ve just moved to a new country, had a baby and started a new job! However, I will keep you posted if there is any change and the notes appear any quicker :).


      Mr Sir

  4. I will be sitting for the IGCSE in November 2016.I will be sitting the literature paper IGCSE – SONGS OF OURSELVES – VOLUME 1, PART 5 (POEMS FROM THE 19TH & 20TH CENTURIES (III) .I live in Sri Lanka.In the part of the island I live in ,there are not many teachers specialized in English poetry.In my school there are over 40 students sitting the exam this year on this subject. There are over 1500 students in the entire island who will be sitting this literature paper in 2016 November.But unfortunately we do not have a student guide.Our teachers too do not have teachers guides to teach us.My parents are from a middle income family.They find it very hard to afford our education.Yet with the best of the intention in giving us the best education ,they let us sit the UK exams.Please Sir, if you could releases the the analysis note on this Volume of Songs of Ourselves , it will defiantly benefit us all who will be sitting the exam in November 2016.May God Bless You..!

    • Hi Anne,

      I appreciate your predicament, but remember I am just one man and need to actually write the notes (don’t mistake me for an exam board or anything official, I’m just a teacher – like yours – who does this in his own time). I haven’t read or studied those poems yet and I have loads of others that I want to tackle for others who face a similar challenge. In an ideal world I’d have every poem picked apart, but it simply isn’t going to happen.

      Sorry I can’t help (immediately),

      Mr Sir

    • So would I! Sorry, I’ve not done these ones yet and this is just a holding page. I’m just making a start of the selection that’ll be examined for 2016 and will get onto these ones after that.

      • Hi there,

        Sorry, but I’ve not started looking at this selection yet. I’d imagine it will be this time next year before you begin to see notes. I publish my notes following the cycle of IGCSE, AS and A2. I’ve just finished my second batch of IGCSEs so have AS and A2 selections to get through before I attempt these.


        Mr Sir

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