Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poem. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Pulley by George Herbert; Analysis of the Poem; About the Poet; Structure of the Poem

The Pulley by George Herbert 

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
Let us, said he, pour on him all we can:
Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made way;
Then beauty flowed; then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

For, if I should, said he,
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So should both losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.

Analysis

The poem The Pulley illustrates the relationship between God and man especially his benevolence to man. The first stanza describes how God made man and blessed him with worldly riches: When God at first made man, Having a glass of blessings standing by. The stanza also portrays the concept of Trinity as seen in the Biblical creation story in Genesis: Let us, said he pour on him all we can (Note the use of the phrase Let us).
In the second stanza, God actually poured his blessings of strength, beauty, wisdom, honour and pleasure on man but withheld one important blessing- The Gift of Rest: Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure, Rest in the bottom lay.
In the third stanza, God gave his reason for withholding the gift of rest from man. He withdrew this blessing because he felt giving man the gift of rest would make him conceited or excessively proud and man may not worship him: He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in nature, not the God of Nature. With the withdrawal of rest from man, man is thrown into perpetual restlessness so that he can always remember his creator whether as a result of goodness or weariness: Let him be rich and weary, that at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness may toss him to my breast

Themes

i.          Gods supremacy and love for mankind. He blessed man with many gifts but shows his supremacy over man by withholding the gift of rest.
ii.         Mans dependency on God.
iii.        The insatiable nature of mans needs. This throws man in a perpetual state of restlessness, anxiety and worry.

Poetic Devices

Looking for synecdoche and paradox in George Herbert's "The Pulley."

As I understand it, paradox is a statement that at first seems contradictory but then it starts to make sense.  Given that definition, the only line that seems to be paradoxical is "Let him be rich and weary, that at least."

Synecdoche is a really tough concept for me.  It's defined as the use of part of a thing to stand for the whole (she lent a hand).

1. The pulley as we all know is a simple machine which is useful for lifting heavy loads. It is a device which enables a person to pull and control  the rope at the end of which is the load to be lifted. The pulley represents God's loving nature by which he draws mankind close to his bosom where man can find rest. It is the synecdoche-a trope which represents the entire divine life force by which God the Creator holds on to and controls his creation, Man.

2. Similarly, "breast" - the last word of the poem - is another synecdoche. "Breast" represents not just the physical bosom of God but represents the comfort and consolation which only God and not the secular blessings can give Man.  It is a 'part' which represents the 'whole' of the goodness of God.

The Paradox, of course, lies in the fact that God who is so benevolent and generous and fills Man to the overflowing with all the wonderful secular gifts,

Let us (said he) poure on him all we can :
Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way ;
Then beautie flowd, then wisdome, honour, pleasure :

withholds from him the most precious gift - the jewel - rest.

The fact that God did not give 'rest,' the most precious gift to man seemingly detracts from his benevolent and generous nature, but God has done this for Man's own good -  to compel him always to worship and adore only God and to seek comfort and solace only in God's bosom and not in "Nature":

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewell also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts in stead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature :


By denying man the most precious jewel, "rest," God has not been unkind to Man but he has only been all the more good to him. It is this denial of "rest" which acts as the "pulley" which always draws restless Man to God and also helps God to keep ambitious and wayward  Man under His control.  If God had not been kind enough to deny Man "rest" then Man would not seek God and he would lose eternity and consequently God would also lose Man to the eternal fires of hell: "So both should losers be. Paradoxically, God the 'giver' by refusing to give the most precious gift proves himself to be all the more generous and kind.
Another paradox can be found in the line, "Rest in the bottom lay." The most precious gift is at the bottom of the "glass" and not at the top.

Structure of the Poem

The poem does not hold a specific rhythm. It has 4 stanzas of the poem, the first and the last lines of each stanza are of equal trimeter but the second, third, and fourth are not clearly equal in each stanza.
The poem The Pulley by George Herbert has a to total of 20 lines, each line with end rhyme pattern of ABABA, CDCDC. The first stanza is  about the reason God endowed man during creation, the second stanza showed all the endowments, the third stanza is about the reason God gave man a companion, the last stanza is about how all the blessings and possessions given will lead man back to Gods bosom.

About the Poet

George Herbert was born in to a noble Welsh family on April 3, 1593. His poetry was influenced chiefly by the puritanical stance of the 17th century in which he was born. After graduation from the University, he was ordained as a priest and served in a little church in Bemerton. His major collection of poems titled The Temple was published after his death.
George Herbert was an Anglican priest, theologian, and poet. Born into a wealthy family, he was very well educated and attended Trinity College in Cambridge. He briefly served in Parliament in 1624-25. In his mid-thirties, he gave up his secular career and was ordained a priest in the Church of England. He served as rector of a small parish 75 miles southwest of London and was known for his dedication to his parishioners and those who were needy and ill.
Herbert was a remarkable preacher and a brilliant writer of religious poems, many of which were put into popular hymns. He wrote in Greek, Latin, and English. Known for his humility, quiet devotion and saintly character, Herbert died on the 1st of March 1633.

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Friday, 9 February 2018

Crossing the Bar

Critical analysis of  the poem Crossing The Bar 

Table of Content

Background Of Crossing The Bar By Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Crossing The Bar Poem Settings

Crossing The Bar Poem Subject Matter/Summary

Analysis of the poem crossing the bar

Crossing The Bar Themes

Crossing The Bar Figures Of Speech /Poetic Devices

About the Poet

 


Crossing the Bar


Sunset and evening star,  
  And one clear call for me!  
And may there be no moaning of the bar,  
  When I put out to sea,  
  
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,  
  Too full for sound and foam,  
When that which drew from out the boundless deep  
  Turns again home.  
  
Twilight and evening bell,  
  And after that the dark!     
And may there be no sadness of farewell,  
  When I embark;  
  
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place  
  The flood may bear me far,  
I hope to see my Pilot face to face  
  When I have cross’d the bar. 

Background Of Crossing The Bar By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the Poet Laureate of Britain and Ireland for some decades and "Crossing the one of the poems he treasured most. He ensured that this poem was listed last in all his poetry volumes while alive. He also left instructions that in any collection of his poems after his death this particular poem should always be listed last. There must have been a reason for this but none was given by the Poet Laureate himself. However, it is possible to guess that this placement is connected with the significance of this position being the last one. Accordingly, it speaks of the wish of the poet to have his readers see the poem as his last creative effort and, by implication, a symbol of his final action a meditation and preparedness to embrace death whenever it comes before his transition to etermity. An account has it that Tennyson, while on a short voyage across the Solent, a body of water that separates mainland England from The Isle of Wight, got very sick. He later recovered, but had got jolted by the possibility of death. Already at an advanced age, the experience was sufficient to inspire a meditation on death. "Crossing the Bar" was written when Tennyson was eighty years old, three years before his death. John Donne's metaphysical poem, "Death Be Not Proud" is one of the poems that demystify the power of death: Alfred Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar" is another. In another of Tennyson's poems titled "All Things will Die the poetic persona states thus: "The streams will cease to flow/The wind ,will cease to blow/The clouds will cease to fleet The heart will cease to beat/For all things must die/All must die". Indeed, all things must live and die, Death is a phenomenon that is common to the rich And the poor, and to the wise and the simple and Tennyson emphasized this point in "Crossing the Bar and other poems "Ulysses" and "Tithonus" are two other poems by that are preoccupied with death, albeit, the tone of both is not as optimistic as that of crossing the Bar Death is a universal fact of existence. The poem relates the fact that death is inevitable and it must be faced with some courage

Crossing The Bar Poem Settings

The physical setting of the poem is clearly a neighbourhood that is not far from a habour or the sea The temporal setting of the poem is the evening hours or dusk, when the sun is receding, an appropriate period of the day to talk about a sober and somber subject such as death. Evening is the time when most people are expected to retire back home after a hard day's job and probably reflect on the day's exploits. This time will obviously provide an appropriate mood to reflect on the subject matter of the poem. There are also speculations that Tennyson composed the poem while on a sea voyage. The different nature imagery in the poem lends credence to this speculation. Moreover, sea travel was the most common form of transportation in Victorian England. during which time the poet composed the poem. The temporal setting of the poem is Victorian England.

Crossing The Bar Poem Subject Matter/Summary

The poem is a meditation on death. It begins with a reflection ofthe poetic-persona on what he deseriles as "one clear call for me!" (l. 2) on a certain evening when he realizes that it is time for him the sea. He hopes that the sea will have become calm after her usual turbulent movement
He further expresses the hope that when twilight eventually turns into darkness and he consequently embarks on his journey, his people will not be sad over his departure. Finally, he notes that though the journey may take him to a far and distant location, he believes it would be profitable because it will afford him the opportunity to meet his Pilot, Metaphorically speaking, the journey is actually death. Therefore, "Crossing the Bar" relates the poetic persona's preoccupation with the coming of death, an inevitable phenomenon. Instead of the usual fright and anxiety that many display at the approach of death, the poetic persona faces death calmly. The tone of the poem depicts neither fear nor distress. At the liten! level, the "bar" in this context is a nautical term for a ridge of sand formed at the shore, by moving tides At the metaphorical level, the "bar" refers to crossing the threshold from mortality into another realm of experience, possibly immortality.

Analysis of the poem crossing the bar

Analysis Of Lines 1-4 (Stanza1) Of The Poem Crossing The Bar

This stanza begins by drawing attention to the temporal setting of the poem and the poetic persona's moment of awareness. He becomes aware of the inevitable journey ahead of him following "one clear call" (1 2). The call comes on a certain evening while the persona beholds a star in the gathering darkness in the sky. The "Sunset and evening star" act as a reminder for the speaker that it is time for the journey. Resolved on heeding the call and embarking on the journey, he wishes for a clement weather or peaceful passage. Thus, this first stanza introduces the setting of the poem. It relates fact that the end of a period is at hand. The words "sunset" and "evening star" denote a drawing close, and in this case, the poetic persona realizes that his life is gradually drawing to a
close as he nears the end of his days on earth. The second line asserts that the poetic persona has been summoned he has received a call to which he must give heed. The poetic persona tells that the call is a clear one: is an unmistakable call that must be promptly answered. The exclamation mark at the end of line 2 emphasizes the importance of the call, Lines 3-4 present the wishes of the persona. He wishes that there would be no moaning of the bar, when he goes on a sea voyage, as he proceeds to answer the call


Analysis Of Lines 5-8 (Stanza 2) Of The Poem Crossing The Bar

This stanza continues and re-emphasizes the poetic persona's wish for a clement weather in the course of his impeding sea voyage. He looks forward to a tide that moves as if it is asleep. Usually, turbulence in the movement of the sea occurs when sea creatures are hyperactive or other elements like the wind force them out of their position in the water. Realizing this, the persona wishes for a tide which comes after such creatures are returned to the "boundless deep" (1. 3). The first stanza already relates that the persona is ready to set forth, in order to heed the call. The second stanza presents the persona's wisb for a favourable condition for the voyage. Seafarers usually long for a full tide that would make the the sandbar easy and uneventful. When such a full tide sweeps the ship across the there would be "no moaning of the bar" (1 3). The last line denotes the destination of the moving ship. The poetic persona affirms that the voyage is a homeward one, only that this home extraterrestrial nature,

Analysis Of Lines 9-12 (Stanza 3) Of The Poem Crossing The Bar

These lines, beginning with Twilight and evening bell" (I, 9), draw attention to the time of the poetic persona's meditation. After twilight, naturally darkness falls Apparently, the darkness is equated with persona's departure since darkness will render him invisible. He hopes that his departure will not use any kind of sadness or wailing from his loved ones. This 9th line, "twilight and evening bell' reiterates the imagery of a closing, an ending. Here, the poetic persona contemplates what happens after a voyage o the land of the unknown. He relates that after the transition from life to death, there would be "the dark" 10), which symbolizes all that is unknown about the next life, Lines 11-12 state the persona's wish for an uneventful death. He wishes that there would be no sadness and sorrow when He finally departs this life. The word "embark" (l. 12) depicts that the persona is getting off from this present life and entering into another realm, another phase of experience. These lines highlight the fact that death is a transition from one realm of living to another. The persona notes that the end of this life is the beginning of another one



Analysis Of Lines 13-16 (Stanza 4) Of The Poem Crossing The Bar

Here, it is noted that the poetic persona's journey is such that time and space cannot limit. However, it is still worthwhile because it will afford him the chance to "see my Pilot face to face (1. 15). The pilot in this context refers to God, whom Tennysson apparently acknowledges as the ultimate Guide. In this last the poetic persona contemplates his destination and what he would do and see there. He realizes that the transition might bear him into a place that is far and unknown and one that he is not familiar with but he hopes to see his Pilot in this In this death is figuratively captured as the flood" (1,13) that translates a person from one phase of existence to another. The last line, line He
"when I have crossed the bar", again relates the certainty of the poetic persona approaching death.
faces this phase of his life with courage, hope and equanimity.



Crossing The Bar Themes

1. The theme of Death in Crossing The Bar

Literally, the poem is about someone intent or beckoned to undertake a journey on the sea. Figuratively however it is about someone realizing the approach of his death. The "Sunset" and "evening" referred poem actually mean that period of life when man's instinct tells him that the end of his existence on the earth is imminent. Although this usually happens at old age, it can also happen before such a time. The poetic persona presents an attitude which does not a typical fear of death attitude which many usually have. He looks forward to death, a journey of He, however, expresses a desire for a peaceful death when he notes: "And may there be no moaning of the bar .../But such a tide as moving seems asleep" (ll. 3 and 5) The sadness and wailing which usually.attend people's death are also detested by the poet. He hopes no such conducts would attend his death In the poem, death is not conceived as the end of life or the end of everything. It is seen as a journey and a transition from one plane of existence to another. This is
perhaps why the poet does not want his death attended by sadness. The fact that life continues after death is evidenced in the poet's hope that he will see his "Pilot face to face" (l.16) after "crossing the bar". As universally believed and accepted. death is presented as inevitable. It is a sure thing in the life of every creature. This is underscored by the poet's use of the adverbial "when" each time he talks about death. It can therefore be asserted that Crossing the Bar" is a also a poem about the transience of death. The poem presents a poetic persona who sees his death approaching and faces it with courage and hope. The poem attests to the fact that this life as we know is not eternal. The poem relates that all things would soon fade and pass away. The poem underscores the fact that man is a mortal being: hence, he would face death sooner or late Just as there is "one clear call" for the poetic persona, everyman
s clear call would eventually come. The poetic persona speaks with certainty in regards to his death and his translation into another realm of existence

2. The theme of Hope in Crossing The Bar

Hope is an important theme of the poem and it is expressed in each of the four stanzas making up the poem. In the first stanza, this theme is noticed where the poet recognizes his impending death but
hopes that when it eventually comes, it would not be attended by any form of agitation or pain. This hopeful desire is re-inscribed in the second stanza where the poet likens the kind of circumstance of his desired death to moving seems asleep" (I, 5.), that is, a relatively peaceful one. The note of optimism which also comes across as desire in the poem is also seen in the expression, "And there may be no sadness of farewell/When embark" (ll. 11-12). The most expressive and emphatic hope is found in the last two lines of the poem where the persona says he hopes to see his "Pilot face-to-face after crossing the bar. With this last expression, we have a hopeful view of death presented in the poem Death is made to appear attractive, rather than frightening. The poem shows the courage exhibited by the poetic persona in the face of death. He accepts the impending call with tranquility. He is neither agitated nor afraid. Despite the fact that the poetic persona perceives that the end of his pilgrimage on earth is at hand, he is not frightful, rather, he looks forward to meeting his Pilot and seeing the One who
steered the course of his life, face to face. The poetic persona "preaches" a calm acceptance of death and dying since they are inevitable components of this life

3. The Theme of Grief free farewell in Crossing The Bar

the poetic personae has it emphasized in the poem that no one should feel bad, cry or mourn when he dies. This is because he is going to see his creator in a better place

4. The theme of Courage in the face of death in Crossing The Bar

in the poem, one is encouraged to embrace the phenomenon of death since it is inevitable and will always come to us.


5. The theme of Time in Crossing The Bar

one of the prominent themes in the poem is the concept of time. The reader is meant to understand that there is time for everything and this time takes permission from no one to occur, and as such, waits for no
one. The time to be born and time to die. Then, it tells us not to bother about the time of death but to embrace it. It would also preach that when any awful event of life occurs, one should embrace it so as to be able to understand and proffer a lasting solution to it.




Crossing The Bar Poem Structure

The poem comprises sixteen lines, which are divided into four stanzas. The first and the third quatrains are linked thematically and have a few devices in common. Both begin with references to time, which are actually figurative. Both also comment on the poetic persona's wishes, The structures of the lines in each of the quatrains are also parallel. In the first line of stanza one and first line of stanza three, the lexical and grammatical items belong to the same classes, Line 2 in each of the stanzas is marked by A exclamation, Stanzas 2 and 4 also preserve a link as each begins with a qualifier.
The lines of the poem are arranged in alternate rhyme scheme, viz: abab cdod efef gaga. The length of the lines varies; while Avmost consist of six syllables, lines 3, 5, 7. 13 and 15 consists of ten syllables. The varied length of lines aids the poet in painting the tides and waves of the sea in the reader's mind. Additionally, there is the replication of the structure in stanzas l and 2 while those in stanzas 3 and 4 for emphasis. The rhyme scheme and the rhythm make it lyrical, no wonder it has been set to music and it appears in many churches' hymnals.



Crossing The Bar Figures Of Speech /Poetic Devices

Below are the figurative language in crossing the bar.


IRONY IN CROSSING THE BAR

This simply means.opposite of what is meant. The use of this technique is not obvious in the poem. However it can be fished out easily with a close attention. In reality, death is not something to cheer about since it means that someone, probably someone dear to heart, is gone and gone forever. But the poem encourages the reader to accept the event of death with a good heart, whether you are the deceased or a relation. Hence, it is ironical as the reader expects that death will be condemned, rather, it is condoned.

EUPHEMISM IN CROSSING THE BAR

This is when something harsh and unpleasant is said or expressed in a mild way. The notion of death which is known to be unpleasant is set in the poem as something simple and normal. Mild words and expressions like, “one clear call, I embark and crost the bar” are.used in the poem to refer to death.

METAPHOR IN CROSSING THE BAR

The entire poem is one long metaphor that offers a meditation on the inevitability of death. Ordinarily the poem reads as a piece on a proposed sea voyage. A close reading however reveals that the journey in question is actually one to the land of the dead. Besides presenting the entire poem as a metaphor, specific words, phrases and ideas in the poem are used metaphorically. From the very first line where the poet talks about "Sunset and evening star", metaphor is employed. The idea of sunset and evening refers to old age when it steadily becomes certain that existence in the earthly realm is coming to an end. The word "Twilight" in line 9 also has the same metaphorical meaning. The idea of evening bell' in the same line is also suggestive of the fact that the time is up. In the evening or at twilight people naturally stop work and return home. After the "evening bell" comes The dark" is also another metaphor, meaning death. Further examples of metaphor in the poem can be seen in the expressions "moaning of the bar" (l. 3), "sadness of farewell" (1. 11) "boume of Time and Place"
(l 13) "crossed the bar" (I. 16), "my Pilot (l. 15). While the first two expressions refer to the conventional ery grief and lament that attend the death of people, the other two refer to death and God respectively The idea of flood" carrying the poetic persona far away is also metaphorical of death. The journey to be embark upon by the poetic persona is also metaphorical because it refers to death


SYMBOLISM IN CROSSING THE BAR

Closely linked to metaphor is the use of symbolism in the poem. Some of the instances of metaphorical
the poem are also symbolically relevant. Such temporal references by words like "sunset", "evening" and "twilight" are symbolic of both the poetic-persona's old age as well as imminent death. The "dark" referred to in line 10 is clearly symbolic of death. The "bar" that the persona looks forward to crossing is symbolic of what divides life and death. Traditional beliefs have it that a man's life consists of three seasons
morning, afternoon and evening or night. Images of sunset and twilight
clearly depict that the end of the persona's days are at hand. Phrases
such as "no moaning of the bar"(I
3), "full of sound and foam" (l. 6) and "evening bell'' 9) invite the reader to participate in the actions of the poem by listening to and also imagining the poetic persona's experiences. Words such as "tide
and "foam produce images that enable the reader to share in the poetic persona's feelings. Nautical
mages also abound in the poem. Such words as "deep", "flood'
sea" and "tide" all serve to create a
vivid background and setting for the poem.

CROSSING THE BAR IMAGERY

The use of imagery in the poem occurs in two broad ways, which are visual and audio. The visual form
can be further classified into maritime and temporal image
The poet makes use of several sea and water related registers. These words are bar, tide, flood, boundless
deep, sea, foam and embark. The words, in combination, easily evoke the idea or picture of a harbour and an impending voyage. More importantly, they draw attention to the physical setting of the poem. The use of time-related words such as evening", "sunset" and "twilight" also suggests the temporal setting of the poem. At the literal level, it suggests that the poetic persona's meditation as seen in the poem takes place in the evening hours. At the figurative level, it points to a period or stage of the poet's life, specifically in terms of age. Audio imagery is equally prevalent in the poem. From words such as "moaning", "sound and foam", "evening bell" to "call for me" and "sadness of farewell", the reader's sense of hearing is mentally activated bell" and tends to perceive these sound related actions. For instance, "moaning" engenders a perception of painful sound while "evening bell" evokes the ominous sound, which signals the death of a person in a Christian community.

CROSSING THE BAR PERSONIFICATION

There are some instances of personification in the poem, In line 3, the poetic persona talks about "moaning of the bar". The bar, which refers to the sandbar that is usually mounted at sea shore to prevent sea waves from overflowing its banks, certainly does not moan, just as tides lack the attribute of sleeping. In lines 5 and 12, these statements, "But such a tide as moving seems asleep" and "The flood may bear me far" respectively show the use of personification by the poet. The tide and the flood are personified to further deepen the comparison of the vast sea through which the l protagonist must travel to his destination in the world of the unknown. The expressions are particularly significant for the function in the overall conception of the entire poem as a metaphorical piece.

PARALLELISM IN CROSSING THE BAR

As noted in the discussion of the structure of the poem, the poet makes use of parallel structure syntactically, semantically and, to a large extent, mechanically between each of the lines in stanza land the corresponding lines in stanza 3. This alternation of parallel structure in terms of stanzaic grouping also finds a parallel in the alternate rhyme scheme of the poem

ALLITERATION IN CROSSING THE BAR

In lines 2 and 6 of the poem, we have the sounds /kki and /t/ alliterate respectively. Line 2 reads "An one clear call for me" while Line 6 reads "Too full for sound and foam". The distinctness engendered by the prominence of pitch that results from a repeat of/kl in line 2 underscores the beckoning significance of the "Sunset and evening star" in the previous line. The sound /f in the second example emphasizes the idea of fullness implied in the expression. The repetition of these sounds also enhances the lyrical quality of the poem.

RHYME IN CROSSING THE BAR

The poet employs altermate rhyme in his verse. The rhyme scheme for the sixteen-line poem is abab odod efolgaga. As usual with rhyme, this sound device enhances the lyrical quality of the poem.

THE USE OF ALLEGORY IN CROSSING THE BAR

The poet employs allegory a device through which one says something that could mean what it means and something else. This is to say that "Crossing the bar" is open to both literal and metaphorical readings. At the literal level, the poem presents a persona who is ready to set sail for sea. The poetic persona prepares to heed the call of duty and take on a sea voyage. He hopes and prays that the tides would be favourable so he could have an uneventful sail. At the metaphorical level of analysis, the poetic persona has senses that his days on earth are drawing to a close and he is getting prepared for the jourmey that would translate him from this life into the next. The poem relate the fact that there is a
call sent especially to the persona and the persona heeds all the call without fear or displeasure. The poem also relates the fact that all must one day depart from the present world, for an unknown one. The poetic persona hopes to meet his Maker and Pilot, face to face after he must have crossed the bar- the barrier between life and death, and between mortality and immortality,




About the Poet

One of the most popular and well-loved British poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson lived between 1809 and 1892. He belonged to the Victorian era of English literature. He was the Poet Laureate of Britain and Ireland from 1850 until his death in 1892, making him the longest serving English Poet Laureate to date. He wrote many poetry volumes, among which are Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (830), The Princess the Light Brigade (854).



crossing the bar literary analysis





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Friday, 1 September 2017

Analysis of ballad of my two grandfathers

ballad of my two grandfathers poetry analysis


In "Ballad of the Two Grandfathers," Nicolas Guillen celebrates his mulatto background, the mixture of African and European blood.

Racial prejudice continues to be a concern in Cuba, where the Colonial past holds bitter memories that continue into the present.

Shadows which only I see,
I'm watched by my two grandfathers.
A bone-point lance,
a drum of hide and wood:
my black grandfather,
a warrior's gray armament:
my white grandfather.

The poem celebrates the poet's mixed blood and seeks to bring into unityhere through the vehicle of poetry-- opposing heritages.

On the one hand, he talks of his African heritage, on which the powerful white grandfather imposes slavery, for lances cannot counter automatic rifles.

How to reconcile these conflicting heritages?

One grandfather points to his lost past and talks about dying; the other says that he is tired, for such is the burden of conquest:

On sails of a bitter wind,
galleon burning for gold...(822.17-18)

How to unite conquered and conquistador, for the blood of both runs in his veins?

Beka Lamb also encounters these racial and economic divisions.

In effect, the black grandfather's statement that he is dying points in more than one direction. The literal meaning refers to his actual death far from his home. On the other hand, and this concerns the folklorist poet, the grandfather's statement attests to the fear that the heritage he holds within will be lost.

But while the poem attests to the conflict between these two heritages--How harsh the trader's whip (823.33)
the poet does not finally present the two grandfathers as antithetical, for he sees himself as being watched by both:

Don Federico yells at me
and Taita Facundo is silent;
both dreaming in the night
and walking, walking.
I bring them together. (823. 43-47)

And the bringing together does not create silence, a certain harmony; instead, the friction between the two makes sparks and triggers the imagination: they possess for him equal power for inspiration:

They embrace. They sigh,
they raise their sturdy heads;
both of equal size,
a Black longing, a White longing.
both of equal size,
they scream, dream, weep, sing.
They dream, weep, sing.
They weep, sing.
Sing!

In the preceding manner, the two heritages of the mulatto culture inspire him to write.
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Crow's First Lesson

Crow's First Lesson


God tried to teach Crow how to talk.
'Love,' said God. 'Say, Love.'
Crow gaped, and the white shark crashed into the sea
And went rolling downwards, discovering its own depth.

'No, no,' said God. 'Say Love. Now try it. LOVE.'
Crow gaped, and a bluefly, a tsetse, a mosquito
Zoomed out and down
To their sundry flesh-pots.

'A final try,' said God. 'Now, LOVE.'
Crow convulsed, gaped, retched and
Man's bodiless prodigious head
Bulbed out onto the earth, with swivelling eyes,
Jabbering protest

And Crow retched again, before God could stop him.
And woman's vulva dropped over man's neck and tightened.
The two struggled together on the grass.
God struggled to part them, cursed, wept


Crow flew guiltily off.
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CROW'S ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE

CROW'S ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE



There was this terrific battle.
The noise was as much
As the limits of possible noise could take.
There were screams higher groans deeper 
Than any ear could hold.
Many eardrums burst and some walls
Collapsed to escape the noise.
Everything struggled on its way
Through this tearing deafness
As through a torrent in a dark cave.

The cartridges were banging off, as planned,
The fingers were keeping things going
According to excitement and orders.
The unhurt eyes were full of deadliness.
The bullets pursued their courses
Through clods of stone, earth, and skin,
Through intestines pocket-books, brains, hair, teeth
According to Universal laws
And mouths cried "Mamma"
From sudden traps of calculus,
Theorems wrenched men in two,
Shock-severed eyes watched blood 
Squandering as from a drain-pipe
Into the blanks between the stars.
Faces slammed down into clay
As for the making of a life-mask
Knew that even on the sun's surface 
They could not be learning more or more to the point
Reality was giving it's lesson,
Its mishmash of scripture and physics, 
With here, brains in hands, for example,
And there, legs in a treetop.
There was no escape except into death.
And still it went on--it outlasted
Many prayers, many a proved watch
Many bodies in excellent trim,
Till the explosives ran out
And sheer weariness supervened
And what was left looked round at what was left.

Then everybody wept,
Or sat, too exhausted to weep,
Or lay, too hurt to weep.
And when the smoke cleared it became clear
This has happened too often before
And was going to happen too often in the future
And happened too easily
Bones were too like lath and twigs
Blood was too like water
Cries were too like silence
The most terrible grimaces too like footprints in mud
And shooting somebody through the midriff
Was too like striking a match
Too like potting a snooker ball
Too like tearing up a bill
Blasting the whole world to bits
Was too like slamming a door,
Too like dropping in a chair
Exhausted with rage
Too like being blown up yourself
Which happened too easily
With too like no consequences.

So the survivors stayed.
And the earth and the sky stayed.
Everything took the blame.

Not a leaf flinched, nobody smiled.

By: Ted Hughes
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Crow Blacker Than Ever

The Poetry of Ted Hughes
From Crow


Crow Blacker Than Ever

When God, disgusted with man, 
Turned towards heaven, 
And man, disgusted with God, 
Turned towards Eve, 
Things looked like falling apart. 

But Crow Crow
Crow nailed them together, 
Nailing heaven and earth together-

So man cried, but with God's voice. 
And God bled, but with man's blood. 

Then heaven and earth creaked at the joint
Which became gangrenous and stank-
A horror beyond redemption. 

The agony did not diminish. 

Man could not be man nor God God. 

The agony

Grew. 

Crow

Grinned

Crying: "This is my Creation," 

Flying the black flag of himself. 




Hughes, Ted. "Crow
Blacker Than Ever".
Summary
- an absurd and morbid story of the triumphing crow
- God gets disgusted with man and turns twd heaven, while man gets disgusted with God and turns twd Eve, both heaven and earth are
falling apart
- the crow makes an artificial joint of heaven and earth, makes God man-like and man God- like, which ends up in "A horror beyond redemption"
- the crow triumphs over this all and plants his black flag
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Crow Blacker Than Ever

The Poetry of Ted Hughes
From Crow


Crow Blacker Than Ever

When God, disgusted with man, 
Turned towards heaven, 
And man, disgusted with God, 
Turned towards Eve, 
Things looked like falling apart. 

But Crow Crow
Crow nailed them together, 
Nailing heaven and earth together-

So man cried, but with God's voice. 
And God bled, but with man's blood. 

Then heaven and earth creaked at the joint
Which became gangrenous and stank-
A horror beyond redemption. 

The agony did not diminish. 

Man could not be man nor God God. 

The agony

Grew. 

Crow

Grinned

Crying: "This is my Creation," 

Flying the black flag of himself. 




Hughes, Ted. "Crow
Blacker Than Ever".
Summary
- an absurd and morbid story of the triumphing crow
- God gets disgusted with man and turns twd heaven, while man gets disgusted with God and turns twd Eve, both heaven and earth are
falling apart
- the crow makes an artificial joint of heaven and earth, makes God man-like and man God- like, which ends up in "A horror beyond redemption"
- the crow triumphs over this all and plants his black flag
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The Poem Apple Tragedy

Apple Tragedy

So on the seventh day
The serpent rested, 
God came up to him. 
"I've invented a new game," he said. 

The serpent stared in surprise
At this interloper. 
But God said: "You see this apple?" 
I squeeze it and look-cider." 

The serpent had a good drink
And curled up into a question mark. 
Adam drank and said: "Be my god." 
Eve drank and opened her legs

And called to the cockeyed serpent
And gave him a wild time. 
God ran and told Adam
Who in drunken rage tried to hang himself in the orchard. 

The serpent tried to explain, crying "Stop"
But drink was splitting his syllable. 
And Eve started screeching: "Rape! Rape!" 
And stamping on his head. 

Now whenever the snake appears she screeches
"Here it comes again! Help! O Help!" 
Then Adam smashes a chair on his head, 
And God says: "I am well pleased"

And everything goes to hell. 
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The poem Work Without Hope

Work Without Hope

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772 - 1834

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair— The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing— And Winter, slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring! And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing. Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow. Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away! With lips unbrighten'd, wreathless brow, I stroll: And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul? Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.




The poem Work Without Hope by Coleridge is a poem written through the eyes of the narrator, describing his observations of the new spring.  In the first stanza of the poem, the narrator expresses his dark and rather depressed moods regarding the contrast of himself to the busy workings of nature.  The narrator examines how nature, as well as all the creatures which exist in it are constantly in motion, executing some sort of task. “All Nature seems at work.  Slugs leave their lair—the bees are stirring—birds are on the wing…” (1-2) While the narrator observes all of this, the reader can observe through his attitude that he has a difficult time appreciating all of this, as well as himself.  He perceives himself as a “sole unbusy thing,” (5) when contrasting himself to the constant happenings and tasks carried out by the creatures in nature.  “And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.” (5-6) The narrator’s absolutely dark and negative opinion of himself provides for an incredibly dismal contrast against the pleasant and vivid “backdrop” of nature provided by his own observations.



In the second stanza, the narrator further develops his dark feelings while observing the beauty of nature.  When he sees the amaranths, he exclaims, “Bloom, O ye amaranths! Bloom for whom ye may, for me ye bloom not!” (9-10) The narrator sees the beauty surrounding him, and he acknowledges it, but because of his tenebrous views of himself as well as his depression, he fails to appreciate it.  He describes his appearance contrasting himself even more with nature, this time with the resplendent amaranths, “With lips un-brightened, wreathless brow…(11) The narrator further perpetuates his dark ideas when he refers to his depression as “the spells that drowse my soul?” (12)


The final two lines of the second stanza are remarkably thought provoking, as they force a reader to sit back and mull over life as well as life-goals and achievements.  “Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, and Hope without an object cannot live.” (13-14) These final lines are, in my opinion, a very accurate deduction about life.  Working without promise for a reward, or justification of hard work, (hope) removes all the sweetness, (nectar) of a job well done.  If there is nothing to hope for, then the hope will eventually die, as one cannot simply hope for nothing.  The hope for something that proves the hard work was worth everything is generally the sole reason people work in the first place.  Some work for the hope to provide their family with a good life.  Some work for the hope to simply justify their life and make a name for themselves. Others work to maybe save up for that car they’ve been wanting.  Whatever the reason, people generally work in hope to achieve something.  However, without that object, or goal to achieve, there is nothing to hope for in the end
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The poem Work Without Hope

Work Without Hope

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772 - 1834

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair— The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing— And Winter, slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring! And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing. Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow. Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away! With lips unbrighten'd, wreathless brow, I stroll: And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul? Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.




The poem Work Without Hope by Coleridge is a poem written through the eyes of the narrator, describing his observations of the new spring.  In the first stanza of the poem, the narrator expresses his dark and rather depressed moods regarding the contrast of himself to the busy workings of nature.  The narrator examines how nature, as well as all the creatures which exist in it are constantly in motion, executing some sort of task. “All Nature seems at work.  Slugs leave their lair—the bees are stirring—birds are on the wing…” (1-2) While the narrator observes all of this, the reader can observe through his attitude that he has a difficult time appreciating all of this, as well as himself.  He perceives himself as a “sole unbusy thing,” (5) when contrasting himself to the constant happenings and tasks carried out by the creatures in nature.  “And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.” (5-6) The narrator’s absolutely dark and negative opinion of himself provides for an incredibly dismal contrast against the pleasant and vivid “backdrop” of nature provided by his own observations.



In the second stanza, the narrator further develops his dark feelings while observing the beauty of nature.  When he sees the amaranths, he exclaims, “Bloom, O ye amaranths! Bloom for whom ye may, for me ye bloom not!” (9-10) The narrator sees the beauty surrounding him, and he acknowledges it, but because of his tenebrous views of himself as well as his depression, he fails to appreciate it.  He describes his appearance contrasting himself even more with nature, this time with the resplendent amaranths, “With lips un-brightened, wreathless brow…(11) The narrator further perpetuates his dark ideas when he refers to his depression as “the spells that drowse my soul?” (12)


The final two lines of the second stanza are remarkably thought provoking, as they force a reader to sit back and mull over life as well as life-goals and achievements.  “Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, and Hope without an object cannot live.” (13-14) These final lines are, in my opinion, a very accurate deduction about life.  Working without promise for a reward, or justification of hard work, (hope) removes all the sweetness, (nectar) of a job well done.  If there is nothing to hope for, then the hope will eventually die, as one cannot simply hope for nothing.  The hope for something that proves the hard work was worth everything is generally the sole reason people work in the first place.  Some work for the hope to provide their family with a good life.  Some work for the hope to simply justify their life and make a name for themselves. Others work to maybe save up for that car they’ve been wanting.  Whatever the reason, people generally work in hope to achieve something.  However, without that object, or goal to achieve, there is nothing to hope for in the end
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Critical Analysis of To William Wordsworth by Samuel Coleridge

To William Wordsworth by Samuel Coleridge

Friend of the Wise ! and Teacher of the Good !
Into my heart have I received that Lay
More than historic, that prophetic Lay
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable ; and what within the mind
By vital breathings secret as the soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words !

Theme hard as high !
Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears
(The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth),
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power ; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When power streamed from thee, and thy soul received
The light reflected, as a light bestowed--
Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
Native or outland, lakes and famous hills !
Or on the lonely high-road, when the stars
Were rising ; or by secret mountain-streams,
The guides and the companions of thy way !

Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense
Distending wide, and man beloved as man,
Where France in all her towns lay vibrating
Like some becalmйd bark beneath the burst
Of Heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud
Is visible, or shadow on the main.
For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded,
Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
Amid the mighty nation jubilant,
When from the general heart of human kind
Hope sprang forth like a full-born Diety !
--Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down,
So summoned homeward, thenceforth calm and sure
From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute self,
With light unwaning on her eyes, to look
Far on--herself a glory to behold,
The Angel of the vision ! Then (last strain)
Of Duty, chosen Laws controlling choice,
Action and Joy !--An Orphic song indeed,
A song divine of high and passionate thoughts
To their own music chaunted !

O great Bard !
Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air,
With stedfast eye I viewed thee in the choir
Of ever-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence ! They, both in power and act,
Are permanent, and Time is not with them,
Save as it worketh for them, they in it.
Nor less a sacred Roll, than those of old,
And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame
Among the archives of mankind, thy work
Makes audible a linkйd lay of Truth,
Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay,
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes !
Ah ! as I listened with a heart forlorn,
The pulses of my being beat anew :
And even as Life returns upon the drowned,
Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of pains--
Keen pangs of Love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart ;
And Fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of Hope ;
And Hope that scarce would know itself from Fear ;
Sense of past Youth, and Manhood come in vain,
And Genius given, and Knowledge won in vain ;
And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out--but flowers
Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my bier,
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave !

That way no more ! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in herald's guise,
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm ! And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strew'd before thy advancing !

Nor do thou,
Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that hour
Of thy communion with my nobler mind
By pity or grief, already felt too long !
Nor let my words import more blame than needs.
The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace is nigh
Where Wisdom's voice has found a listening heart.
Amid the howl of more than wintry storms,
The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours
Already on the wing.

Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
Is sweetest ! moments for their own sake hailed
And more desired, more precious, for thy song,
In silence listening, like a devout child,
My soul lay passive, by thy various strain
Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,
With momentary stars of my own birth,
Fair constellated foam, still darting off
Into the darkness ; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.

And when--O Friend ! my comforter and guide !
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength !--
Thy long sustainйd Song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased--yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of belovйd faces--
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or resolve ?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound

And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.






To William Wordsworth is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s response to William Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem. Coleridge first encountered Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem, The prelude, in 1806.  It was read to him by Wordsworth himself in his Coleorton home. In To William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge praises William Wordsworth and his poetic ability. Coleridge finds Wordsworth’s understanding of nature unique and emphasizes, throughout the poem, his achievements.

As in other poems, Samuel Taylor Coleridge foregrounds nature and men’s relationship with it, taking special attention in the images conveyed and the expression of meaning. To William Wordsworth was first published in 1817 and it was titled Sibylline leaves. Later on, the author made some changes and alterations to the poem and, in 1834, he changed the poem’s name to To William Wordsworth. The full title of the poem is To William Wordsworth, Composed on the Night After His Recitation of a Poem on the Growth of an Individual Mind.





To William WordsworthAnalysis

Friend of the Wise ! and Teacher of the Good !
Into my heart have I received that Lay
More than historic, that prophetic Lay
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable ; and what within the mind
By vital breathings secret as the soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words !

In this first stanza, the lyrical voice praises someone. The admiration that the lyrical voice expresses is towards William Wordsworth and his autobiographical poem called The prelude. He/She finds the ideas of The prelude extremely truthful and stimulating. In the beginning of the stanza, the lyrical voice addresses Wordsworth in a direct form: “Friend of the Wise ! and Teacher of the Good !”. From that moment onward, the lyrical voice will state the importance of reading Wordsworth’s poem. Notice how there are close repetitions in rhymes, in words, and in sentence structures, which emphasize the importance of this particular learning.

Theme hard as high !
Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears
(The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth),
Of tides obedient to external force,
And currents self-determined, as might seem,
Or by some inner Power ; of moments awful,
Now in thy inner life, and now abroad,
When power streamed from thee, and thy soul received
The light reflected, as a light bestowed–
Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
Native or outland, lakes and famous hills !
Or on the lonely high-road, when the stars
Were rising; or by secret mountain-streams,
The guides and the companions of thy way !

In this stanza, the themes of The prelude are described. The lyrical voice talks about Wordsworth’s poem and how he/she found it inspiring and powerful. Again, this stanza contains sentence structures which are very similar to one another. This emphasizes the enumeration of elements and provides a rhythmic pace to the poem. Furthermore, the lyrical voice focuses on images of nature portrayed in The prelude.

Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense
Distending wide, and man beloved as man,
Where France in all her towns lay vibrating
Like some becalméd bark beneath the burst
Of Heaven’s immediate thunder, when no cloud
Is visible, or shadow on the main.
For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded,
Amid the tremor of a realm aglow,
Amid the mighty nation jubilant,
When from the general heart of human kind
Hope sprang forth like a full-born Diety !
–Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down,
So summoned homeward, thenceforth calm and sure
From the dread watch-tower of man’s absolute self,
With light unwaning on her eyes, to look
Far on–herself a glory to behold,
The Angel of the vision ! Then (last strain)
Of Duty, chosen Laws controlling choice,
Action and Joy !–An Orphic song indeed,
A song divine of high and passionate thoughts
To their own music chaunted !

In this stanza, the lyrical voice continues to think about certain topics. Notice how the tone of the poem becomes more lively as the pace gets more active. The lyrical voice shows a lot of emotion and sensibility towards what he/she is expressing. Therefore, the lyrical voice continues constructing a certain tone and rhythm that gets more intense in this stanza.

O great Bard !
Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air,
With stedfast eye I viewed thee in the choir
Of ever-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence ! They, both in power and act,
Are permanent, and Time is not with them,
Save as it worketh for them, they in it.
Nor less a sacred Roll, than those of old,
And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame
Among the archives of mankind, thy work
Makes audible a linkéd lay of Truth,
Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay,
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes !
Ah ! as I listened with a heart forlorn,
The pulses of my being beat anew :
And even as Life returns upon the drowned,
Life’s joy rekindling roused a throng of pains–
Keen pangs of Love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart ;
And Fears self-willed, that shunned the eye of Hope ;
And Hope that scarce would know itself from Fear ;
Sense of past Youth, and Manhood come in vain,
And Genius given, and Knowledge won in vain ;
And all which I had culled in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out–but flowers
Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my bier,
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave !

In this stanza, the lyrical voice refers to William Wordsworth. The lyrical voice talks about the author’s achievement and his ability to portray nature (“Among the archives of mankind, thy work”). The length of the paragraph gives the idea about how long the lyrical voice’s admiration for the author is. Once again, the alliteration and the repetition construct a particular emphasize of the praising of the author.

That way no more ! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in herald’s guise,
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm ! And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strew’d before thy advancing !
Nor do thou,
Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that hour
Of thy communion with my nobler mind
By pity or grief, already felt too long !
Nor let my words import more blame than needs.
The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace is nigh
Where Wisdom’s voice has found a listening heart.
Amid the howl of more than wintry storms,
The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours
Already on the wing.

In these two stanzas, the tone of the poem changes dramatically. The lyrical voice seems to be mourning about the greatness of Wordsworth and the importance of his figure (“Where Wisdom’s voice has found a listening heart”). To finish it off, the lyrical voices turns to natural images once more, in order to illustrate clearly the significance of William Wordsworth’s The prelude.

Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
Is sweetest ! moments for their own sake hailed
And more desired, more precious, for thy song,
In silence listening, like a devout child,
My soul lay passive, by thy various strain
Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,
With momentary stars of my own birth,
Fair constellated foam, still darting off
Into the darkness ; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.
And when–O Friend ! my comforter and guide !
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength !–
Thy long sustainéd Song finally closed,
And thy deep voice had ceased–yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of belovéd faces–
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it ? or aspiration ? or resolve ?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound–
And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.

In these two final stanzas, the tone of the poem shifts again. The lyrical voice returns to a celebratory tone where William Wordsworth is greatly appraised. Moreover, the lyrical voice describes the impression The prelude made on him (“My soul lay passive”). The stable rhythm that was created throughout the poem breaks and the lyrical voice ends with a final conclusion about the poem (“And when I rose, I found myself in prayer”).

About the Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet who was born in 1772 and died in 1834. He and William Wordsworth wrote Lyrical Ballads, which founded the Romantic movement. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth had a really close relationship between 1797 and 1798. This enabled them to discuss and reflect over poetry.
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Analysis of the Poem To Nature

To Nature
It may indeed be phantasy, when I

Essay to draw from all created things

Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings ;

And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie

Lessons of love and earnest piety.

So let it be ; and if the wide world rings

In mock of this belief, it brings

Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.

So will I build my altar in the fields,

And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,

And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields

Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,

Thee only God ! and thou shalt not despise

Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice





"To Nature" is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In this poem, Coleridge speaks of how he loves nature, and because of this he has learned something about love and piety. He goes on to compare nature to God or a spirit or at the very least a church. He goes on to say that he will put his alter in the fields and compares himself to a priest.
This poem is written as one stanza with fourteen lines. It is rhymed as ABBAACCDEDEDFF and is written in iambic-pentameter. Because of this, it is seen as a Shakespearean Sonnet.
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The Poem "Frost at Night" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Frost at Night by Samuel Taylor Coleridge




The Frost performs its secret ministry, 
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry 
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before. 
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, 
Have left me to that solitude, which suits 
Abstruser musings: save that at my side 
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. 
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs 
And vexes meditation with its strange 
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, 
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood, 
With all the numberless goings-on of life, 
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame 
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; 
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. 
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature 
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, 
Making it a companionable form, 
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit 
By its own moods interprets, every where 
Echo or mirror seeking of itself, 
And makes a toy of Thought.

But O! how oft, 
How oft, at school, with most believing mind, 
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, 
To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft 
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt 
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower, 
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang 
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, 
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me 
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear 
Most like articulate sounds of things to come! 
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, 
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams! 
And so I brooded all the following morn, 
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye 
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book: 
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched 
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up, 
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face, 
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, 
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!

   Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, 
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, 
Fill up the intersperséd vacancies 
And momentary pauses of the thought! 
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart 
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, 
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, 
And in far other scenes! For I was reared 
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, 
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. 
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze 
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags 
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, 
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores 
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear 
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible 
Of that eternal language, which thy God 
Utters, who from eternity doth teach 
Himself in all, and all things in himself. 
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould 
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

   Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, 
Whether the summer clothe the general earth 
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing 
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch 
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch 
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall 
Heard only in the trances of the blast, 
Or if the secret ministry of frost 
Shall hang them up in silent icicles, 
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

[Original ending removed in revisions:]

Like those, my babe! which ere tomorrow's warmth
Have capp'd their sharp keen points with pendulous drops,
Will catch thine eye, and with their novelty
Suspend thy little soul; then make thee shout,
And stretch and flutter from thy mother's arms
As thou wouldst fly for very eagerness.
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Summary and Analysis: Birches by Robert Lee Frost.


Birches by Robert Lee Frost : Summary and Analysis.

                                                        
    Summary and Analysis birches

Summary

Birches can be regarded as one of the most famous, admired and thoughtful of Frost's poems. From the description of an ordinary incident, it proceeds to convey a profound thought in a simple manner. It is, like most of Frost's poems, simple in form and style but complex and deep in thought. Frost has written it in blank verse which moves rhythmically, and is highly suitable for the conveyance of its deep thought.
When the speaker sees bent birch trees, he likes to think that they are bent because boys have been swinging them. He knows that they are, in fact, bent by ice storms. Yet he prefers his vision of a boy climbing a tree carefully and then swinging at the trees crest to the ground. He used to do this himself and dreams of going back to those days. He likens birch swinging to getting away from the earth awhile and then coming back.

Analysis

When I see birches bend to left and right
()

As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them

The title is Birches, but the subject is birch swinging. And the theme of poem seems to be, more generally and more deeply, this motion of swinging. The force behind it comes from contrary pullstruth and imagination, earth and heaven, concrete and spirit, control and abandon, flight and return. We have the earth below, we have the world of the treetops and above, and we have the motion between these two poles.

Soon the suns warmth makes them shed crystal shells
()

Youd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
The warmth of the sun makes the fragments snow that look like crystal shells, fall down from the birches like such big heaps of broken glass that one thinks that the inner dome of the heaven has been broken into pieces and has fallen down in the shape of shattered fragments of its broken glass.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
()

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
The birches are bowed down to the dry fern growing on the earth, because of the load of snow on them; but they are not broken . However, they are bowed down so much for such a long  time that they cannot straighten themselves. Their trunks lie arched or bent down in the woods even several years later, and keep their leaves trailing on the ground, like the girls who sit on their hands and knees, spreading their hair over their heads to dry in the sun.

Frost also imbues the poem with distinct sexual imagery. The idea of tree-climbing, on its own, has sexual overtones. The following lines are more overt:
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer.
As are these more sensual:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
The whole process of birch swinging iterates that of sex, and at least one critic has noted that “Birches” is a poem about erotic fantasy, about a lonely, isolated boy who yearns to conquer these trees sexually. It is a testament to the richness of the poem that it fully supports readings as divergent as those mentioned here—and many more.


But I was going to say when Truth broke in
()

Summer or winter, and could play alone.

While the poet was describing the phenomenon of ice-storm bending the birches, he thought that he would prefer to think that some boy who was looking  after his  cows, and who had lived too far away from the town to learn and play urban games like base-ball, had found a game-swinging birches which he could play all alone.

One by one he subdued his fathers trees
()

For him to conquer.
The boy played the only game he had found, i.e. swinging birches. He had climbed all the birches owned by his father, and bent them by swinging up and down till they all become limb and none of them could stand erect. All their stiffness was gone, and not a single tree was left unconquered and unbent by the boy.

He learned all there was
()

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
The boy learnt not to swoop down from a point high up in the air towards the earth swiftly, and thus causing the tree to fall down on the ground. He used  to climb its top branches in a poised manner or carefully balancing himself with the same pain and care that one bestows, while filling  cup to the brim, or even above the brim. Then he used to fling himself forward with his feet stretched forward, and passed gently through the air to touch the ground.

And so I dream of going back to be.
()

And then come back to it and begin over.
The poet himself was a swinger of birches in his boyhood; and now he dreams of becoming birch swinger once again. When he is troubled by the worries of the earth and when he is tired of considerations, when life becomes unbearingly painful to him, when some twig pinches his eye, and the cobwebs burn and tickle his face, he likes to find an escape from this earth for some time, and the to come back to it again and begin his life  afresh.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me
()

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
The poet wishes that nobody including his fate should misunderstood his desire to escape from this earth, or think that he wants to get away from here never to return. In his opinion, the earth is the right place for love, and he does not know of a better place in this respect. He would like to go towards heaven by swinging up on a birch-tree, and brings him down and sets him on the earth again. It would be, he believes, good for him both to go from, and come back to, the earth as one does while swinging. If a man does not like to be a swinger of birches and live in the two worlds of fact and fancy, he may be a worse man than a swinger of birches.
Two more items to consider: First, reread the poem and think about the possible connections between getting away from the earth for awhile (line 48) and death. Consider the viewpoint of the speaker and where he seems to be at in his life. Secondly, when the speaker proclaims, in line 52, Earths the right place for love, this is the first mention of love in the poem. Of what kind of love does he speak? There are many kinds of love, just as there are many potential objects of love. Try relating this love to the rest of the poem.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Analysis Of Birches

Analysis Of Birches


The poem Birches


When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay As ice storms do. Often you must have seen them 5
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells 10
Shattering and avalanching on the snow crust— Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed 15
So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. 20
But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter of fact about the ice storm, I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows— Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, 25
Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father’s trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, 30
And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise 35
To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. 40
So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It’s when I’m weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs 45
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig’s having lashed across it open. I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May not fate willfully misunderstand me 50
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk 55
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Analysis Of Birches

The title is “Birches,” but the subject is birch “swinging.” And the theme of poem seems to be, more generally and more deeply, this motion of swinging. The force behind it comes from contrary pulls—truth and imagination, earth and heaven, concrete and spirit, control and abandon, flight and return. We have the earth below, we have the world of the treetops and above, and we have the motion between these two poles. The whole upward thrust of the poem is toward imagination, escape, and transcendence—and away from heavy Truth with a capital T. The downward pull is back to earth. Likely everyone understands the desire “to get away from the earth awhile.” The attraction of climbing trees is likewise universal. Who would not like to climb above the fray, to leave below the difficulties or drudgery of the everyday, particularly when one is “weary of considerations, / And life is too much like a pathless wood.” One way to navigate a pathless wood is to climb a tree. But this act of climbing is not necessarily so pragmatically motivated: For the boy, it is a form of play; for the man, it is a transcendent escape. In either case, climbing birches seems synonymous with imagination and the imaginative act, a push toward the ethereal, and even the contemplation of death. But the speaker does not leave it at that. He does not want his wish half- fulfilled—does not want to be left, so to speak, out on a limb. If climbing trees is a sort of push toward transcendence, then complete transcendence means never to come back down. But this speaker is not someone who puts much stock in the promise of an afterlife. He rejects the self-delusional extreme of imagination, and he reinforces his ties to the earth. He says, “Earth’s the right place for love,” however imperfect, though his “face burns” and “one eye is weeping.” He must escape to keep his sanity; yet he must return to keep going. He wants to push “toward heaven” to the limits of earthly possibility, but to go too far is to be lost. The upward motion requires a complement, a swing in the other direction to maintain a livable balance. And that is why the birch tree is the perfect vehicle. As a tree, it is rooted in the ground; in climbing it, one has not completely severed ties to the earth. Moreover, as the final leap back down takes skill, experience, and courage, it is not a mere retreat but a new trajectory. Thus, one’s path up and down the birch is one that is “good both going and coming back.” The “Truth” of the ice storm does not interfere for long; for the poet looks at bent trees and imagines another truth: nothing lessh than a recipe for how to live well.

THEMES OF BIRCHES
1]The theme of Imagination vs. the Real World -
One important theme of "Birches" is how Frost uses his poetic imagination to transcend the limits of the real world. He rejects the true reason the birches have been bent over in favor of his own fanciful explanation. On some level, he is claiming that this act of the imagination embodies a larger "truth" and is a worthy task, one that must be made with great care and diligence.
2]The theme of Youth
Youth, like death, is a constant backdrop for many of Frost's poems. The speaker of "Birches" never sees a boy or comes across one. He only imagines one, and the boy that he does imagine is himself at a younger age. The boy seems to be similar to William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman's portrayals of boys. These boys have their own rules and wisdom that they can pass on to the older men and women around them. They are ready for adventures in nature and represent the wild, untamed state of "man" that remains good and moral even though no one is there to govern him.
3] The theme of Spirituality
Robert Frost is not the kind of poet to insert religious imagery into his poems. A subtle Christian allusion is rare. However, the poet writes a lot of meditations on life and death, so that always brings in spiritual questions. In "Birches," Frost mentions "heaven" twice. Notice how it is always with a lower-case h and is more suggestive of the sky than paradise. The poem could be read as an allegory, but it's a little too skeptical for that.
4]The theme of isolation
As with much of Frost's poetry, "Birches" creates a mood of loneliness and isolation. Some factors that contribute to the mood include the winter weather, which seems to cut the speaker off from other people, and the speaker's discussion of the boy growing up on an isolated farm. The speaker's loneliness may be the result of adult concerns. and considerations.
Lines 1 - 4
The first four lines of Birches are iambic pentameter, no doubt. The poet sets up the steady foundational beat as he starts to explore, ten syllables per line, five feet (/):
When I / see bir / ches bend / to left / and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
Note the heavy bold stressed syllables and normal unstressed. Simple, single syllable words are dominant in these opening lines.
In the following analysis, lines of pure iambic pentameter are shown in normal type, as are lines 2,3 and 4 above. Lines with metrical variants are marked.
Lines 5 - 9
Enjambment (carrying on a line without punctuation) leads us onto line 5; indeed enjambment takes the reader on to line 9, the ice-storm coming into focus as syntax changes and the line rhythms alter:
As ice- / storms do. / Often / you must /have seen them
Loaded / with ice / a sun / ny wint / er morning
After / a rain. / They click / upon / themselves
As the / breeze ri / ses, and / turn man / y-colored
As the / stir cracks / and cra / zes their / enamel.
As is obvious, pure iambic pentameter has suddenly departed! There are variations on a theme of altered rhythm with these five fascinating lines, four of which have eleven syllables, the same four ending with an unstressed (feminine) syllable. So, trochees and spondees are prevalent, as are pyrrhics and amphibrachs. These combine in a variety of ways to echo the ice-storms rise and fall.
The enjambment meanwhile urges the reader to continue straight on line to line, with little pause, which can sometimes change the way opening words are stressed.
Some critics and poets offer different scans for certain of these lines. One aspect that isn't in dispute is the use of hard alliteration in line 9, with cracks and crazes.
Lines 10 - 13
Subtle alliteration, in contrast to the preceding line, adds sibilance and mystery to line 10, and the reader is invited to agree with the speaker as the ice crystals fall and reality is shattered:
Soon the / sun's warmth / makes them / shed cry / stal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think / the in / ner dome / of heaven/ had fallen.
Note the use of onomatopoeia in shattering and the four syllable avalanching, quite dramatic use of the present participle. Again, the iambic pentameter is broken (except in line 12), with trochee and spondee. Line 13 is sometimes treated as a twelve syllable line but in this example heaven is taken to be a single syllable, not two.
Lines 14 - 20
There is a hint of rhyme in the following two lines (load/bowed) but this is more accident than design because this is blank verse and there are not supposed to be end rhymes, strictly speaking. Enjambment is used, allowing for sense to run on into the next line with no punctuation:
They are dragged / to the with / ered brack / en by / the load,
And they seem not to break; though oncethey are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may / see their / trunks arch / ing in / the woods
Years after / wards, trail / ing their / leaves on / the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before / them o / ver their heads / to dry /in the sun.
A mix of meters here: two lines present iambic pentameter, the rest are mixed. Line 14 is particularly stretched out with those opening anapaests reinforcing the assonance of dragged/bracken. The spondee in line 18 prolongs the time scale somewhat and the simile that follows creates a wonderful feminine image.
All in all this section is full of prepositions, note: to the, by the, in the, on the -signifying the end of the ice-storm and an attempt to get back on track with the real narrative.
Lines 21 - 27
The speaker returns to the idea of the boy swinging on the birches, from line 3, instead of the ice-storm. This section maintains the steady iambic undertones but peppers the lines with trochees now and then (inverted iambs), whilst anapaests occasionally intervene:
But I / was go / ing to say / when Truth /broke in
With all / her mat / ter-of-fact / about / the ice-storm
I should / prefer / to have / some boy / bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn /baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer / or win / ter, and / could play /alone.
Note the alliteration here and there and the emphasis on ten syllable lines (23-27), suggesting that this is almost a return to the speaker's idea of normality.
Lines 28 - 40
The next eleven lines concentrate on the boy's actions and again are full of variations on a theme of iambic. Two of the lines are pure iambic pentameter, the rest reveal trochees, spondees, pyrrhics and anapaest, slowing down then speeding up proceedings, reflecting the action of the lone boy:
One by / one he / subdued / his fa / ther's trees
By rid / ing them down / over / and o / ver again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not / one but / hung limp, / not one /was left
For him / to con / quer. He / learned all /there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so / not car / ry ing / the tree / away
Clear to / the ground. / He al / ways kept /his poise
To the / top branch / es, climb / ing care / fully
With the / same pains / you use / to fill / a cup
Up to / the brim, / and e / ven a bove / the brim.
Then he / flung out / ward, feet / first, with / a swish,
Kicking / his way / down through / the air / to the ground.
Note the subtle use of internal consonance - them/them/limp/him/climbing/brim/brim. And alliteration pops up in several lines.
Lines 41 - 53
The speaker declares himself a swinger of birches; he could be the boy. Metrically some of these lines are far from the iambic foundation, with pyrrhics and amphibrachs - just like the speaker who wants to get away from earth, the rhythm changes - but not too much. The boy still needs to stay grounded:
So was / I once / myself / a swinger / of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when / I'm wea / ry of / consid / erations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your / face burns / and tick / les with / the cobwebs
Broken / across / it, and / one eye / is weeping
From a / twig's hav / ing lashed / across /it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then / come back / to it / and begin / over.
May no / fate will / fully mis / understandme
And half grant / what I wish / and snatch /me away
Not to / return. / Earth's the / right place / for love:
I don't / know where / it's like /ly to go /better.
Lines 54 - 59
The remaining lines confirm the speaker's desire. He'd like to climb a birch and experience that sensation again, of going up towards heaven and falling back to the earth.
I'd like / to go / by climb / ing a / birchtree,
And climb / black bran / ches up / a snow- / white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would / be good / both go / ing and com / ing back.
One could / do worse / than be / a swinger / of birches.
There are some ambiguities along the way. For example, how to pronounce Toward - is it a single syllable or two? If it is pronounced T'ward then the line becomes pure iambic pentameter; if Toward then the remaining feet become trochees, which wouldn't work. So the former, T'ward, fits best.

All in all, complex rhythms show up in a traditional iambic framework, reflecting the unusual perspective Frost had on the everyday things he encountered. There is music and texture, repetition but not monotony, and the clever use of alliteration and internal rhyme make this a poem for speaking out loud. But not too loud.
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