Sound In Poetry Essay Research Paper Poems

Sound In Poetry Essay, Research Paper

Poems usually begin with words or phrase which appeal more because of their

sound than their meaning, and the movement and phrasing of a poem. Every poem

has a texture of sound, which is at least as important as the meaning behind the

poem. Rhythm, being the regular recurrence of sound, is at the heart of all

natural phenomena: the beating of a heart, the lapping of waves against the

shore, the croaking of frogs on a summer?s night, the whisper of wheat swaying

in the wind. Rhythm and sound and arrangement ?the formal properties of

words?allow the poet to get beyond, or beneath the surface of a poem. Both

Gwendolyn Brooks? ?Sadie and Maud? (799) and Anne Bradstreet?s ?To My

Dear and Loving Husband? (784) emphasize poetic sound to express their themes.

Used to enhance sound in a poem, alliteration is the repetition of sound in

consecutive or neighboring words, usually at the beginning of words. Both Brooks

and Bradstreet make use of alliteration in their poems. ?Sadie stayed at home.

/ Sadie scraped life?? (2-3) the repetition of s is evident in these two

lines, reflecting the sassiness and independence that Sadie possessed. ?Then

while we live, in love lets [persevere]? (11) the slow musical repetition of

the l sounds reflect the romantic emphasis in the poem. Assonance?the

repetition of the same or similar vowel sound, especially in stressed

syllables?can also enrich a poem. Assonance can be used to unify a poem as in

Bradstreet?s poem in which it emphasizes the thematic connection among words

and unifies the poem?s ideas of the husband and wife becoming one. ?Compare

with me ye woman if you can? (4). In Brook?s poem, repeated vowel sounds

extend throughout. Brooks indirectly links certain words and by connecting these

words, she calls attention to the imagery that helps communicate the poems theme

of how different two people who grew up in the same household can be. ?Under

her maiden name/ Maud and Ma and Papa?? (10-11). In addition to alliteration

and assonance, poets create sound patterns with rhyme. The conventional way to

describe a poem?s rhyme scheme is to chart rhyming words that appear at the

ends of lines. In Brooks? poem the rhyme scheme is abcb, defe which reinforces

the way two things can begin the same, but change as time goes on. Naturally,

rhyme does not have to be subtle to enrich a poem. An obvious rhyme scheme like

the one in Bradstreet?s poem is aabb, ccdd can communicate meaning by forcing

attention on a relationship between two people that are not normally linked. The

poem?s theme speaks of the husband and wife becoming one, the poem?s rhyme

scheme is of two consecutive lines belonging together and having one sound.

Rhyme can also be classified according to the position of the rhyming syllables

in a line of verse. Bradstreet?s poem contains beginning rhyme, Brooks?

poem, on the other hand, contains only end rhyme. ?I prize thy love more than

whole mines of gold/ My love is such that rivers cannot quench/ Thy love is such

I can in no way repay?(5, 7, 9). ?Her girls struck out from home/ Her

fine-tooth comb? (14, 16). Poets, too, create rhyme by using repeated words

and phrases. ?Sadie scraped life/ with a fine-toothed comb? (3-4) and

?Sadie had left as heritage/ her fine-tooth comb? (15-16). The repeated

phrases ?Sadie? and ?Maud?, which shift from one subject to the other

and back again ?Maud went to college/ Sadie stayed at home? (1-2). The poem

has a singing rhythm that resembles a song that children play to. The

remembrance of carefree childhood ironically contrasts with the adulthood that

both Sadie and Maud now face as they grow up: Sadie stays home and has two

children out of wedlock; Maud goes to college and ends up ?a thin brown

mouse?. Repeated phrases in Bradstreet?s poem include ?if ever? and

?love?. ?If ever two were one then surely we. / If ever man were loved by

wife then thee? (1-2). ?My Love is such that rivers cannot quench, / Nor

ought but love from the give recompence? (9-10). With such recurrence, the

poem is like a slow romantic song and the repeated words are its rhythm. Meter,

the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that govern a poem?s lines,

largely creates poetic rhythm. This gives readers the ?beat? of the poem and

approximates the sound of spoken language. The meter of Bradstreet?s poem is

iambic pentameter and it is evident throughout the poem. It contributes to the

overall effect of the poem because all of the words about one, we, thee, are

stressed or emphasized; thus reinforcing the theme of the poem. The meter of

Brooks? poem is anapestic dimeter, it contributes to the overall theme of the

poem like the comparison of the sisters, every other stanza is alike. A way of

varying meter is to introduce a pause in the rhythm often created by a

caesura–a ?cutting? within a line. Both Brooks and Bradstreet use caesuras

to complete individual thought and to add to the beat of the poem. Although the

end of a line may mark the end of a metrical unit, it does not always coincide

with the end of a sentence. Poets may choose to indicate a pause at this point,

or they ma continue, without a break, to the next line. Both Brooks and

Bradstreet use end-stopped lines?lines that have distinct pauses at the end.

?Thy love is such that I can in no way repay, / The heavens reward thee

manifold I pray.? (8-9). ?When Sadie said her last so long/ Her girls struck

out from home.? (13-14). These lines give he poem a more sharp, abrupt effect

like the lines in a song. With sound and rhythm being at the heart of our

everyday lives, we begin not to notice how much of an effect it has on us.

It?s in the beating of a heart, the movement of rush-hour traffic, and in the

way we walk. With this, what often attracts us to poetry is its sound and

movement. Poets use sound to express the themes of their poems and it allows

them to find a deeper meaning behind the poem. Both Brooks? and Bradstreet

made rhythm and sound evident in conveying the themes of their poems.



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