The two poems contain a heavily nostalgic tone throughout the poems, through the use of this I have established that the poets are attempting to communicate their memories through the poems. Spender, though he titled the Poem My Parents has little obvious relation to the poem at face value other than the starting sentence of the first stanza My parents kept me from children who were rough where he almost has connotations of blaming them for separation from what they thought were lesser citizens, he tends to refer to the childhood he lived as a young boy who was bullied on his way to and from school. However when one delves deeper into the poem and attempts to read between the lines the reader can pick up a tone of blame, a tone of resentment and a tinge of sorrow!
It would seem as though Spender, through his writing, is revealing his resentment towards his parents for isolating him from his peers, sheltering him from the real world and being overprotective! Maybe even snobbish as the poem also hints at the child being of a higher class than the rough children. However in the poem Childhood the poet is not referring to his parents, but an Aunt of his own; it seems that Cornford is trying to portray the ignorance of his youth when he says in the opening line of the first stanza I used to think that grown-up people as grown-up is not a term used by one who is of middle age or in their teenage years.
The poet doesnt seem to have that close a relationship with his great-aunt Etty by the way he described the elderly throughout the poem prior veins like small fat snakes . The poem also shows how the boy matures in time, by the end of the poem the reader can recognise that the poet now fully understands the process of age with the quote I knew that she was helplessly old. As I was helplessly young.
My Parents, once you dig deep shows both how the parenting of middle class children could often lead to bullying as they planted the insinuation that the lower class children where not respectable or real people in a sense of dignity. The poet shows this through animal imagery ran in the street, feared more than tigers, they sprang out and finally Like dogs to bark at my world. It also shows that the author deep in his heart admired these boys for their carelessness and meshing with the world around them rather than himself who avoids such things, this is shown by the quote I longed to forgive them (which could also relate to his parents) but they never smiled:.
Childhood is a lot more basic in its message, that being that the ignorance of youth often leads to their life being wasted on trivial things; what is quite surprising is how the author has used the flow of the poem to demonstrate the movement of time itself, by the time he has reached the end of the poem he had realised the facts of life, in that way he had matured from the childish ignorance that was portrayed in the initial stages of the poem.
To state the obvious both poems have fewer similarities compared to other such poems, however both do relate to family and the young author or character attempting to get a grasp on the situation at hand whether it be why his parents are turning him into an apparent introvert to those at school which leads to bullying of him or the mystery of old age to a young child.