Denise K. Steen February 28, 2012 English 102 Option #2 Reflections Within is a non-traditional stanzaic poem made up of five stanzas containing thirty-four lines that do not form a specific metrical pattern. Rather it is supported by its thematic structure. Each of the five stanzas vary in the amount of lines that each contain. The first stanza is a sestet containing six lines. The same can be observed of the second stanza. The third stanza contains eight lines or an octave. Stanzas four and five are oddly in that their number of lines which are five and nine.
Beginning with the first line in the first stanza, “The Earth’s cool breeze spoke to me”, the meter examined within this line is trimeter, containing seven syllables, iambic and anapestic. The second line in the stanza, “He said, “Come to be free,” also trimeter, continues with the iambic syllable and introduces a trochee within its six syllables. The formal characteristics of the first two lines in conjunction with its text suggests a seemingly serene beginning with a hint of possibility that something is about to change. For example, the meter is the same and the structure of the syllables in each line are similar with slight differences.
The third line, “fly with me, in my winds over the seas. ” contains five feet of meter or pentameter, where the pyrrhic syllable is introduced to accompany the previously introduced trochee and iambic syllables in this nine syllable line. The continuance of the second sentence into line three and then closes after “seas”, paired with the change in meter, suggests the end of consistency and a rise in to what is to come. “Be the element that I need. “, the fourth , eight syllable line, is written in trimeter with trochee and anapestic syllables.
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This line returns us to the familiar feeling of the first two lines repeating the trimeter with trochee and anapestic syllables that are present there. The fifth line, “Without you, turbulent winds I stir”, nine iambic, spondee and anapestic syllables are written in tetrameter. The last line of the first stanza, “calling my anger from above striking the Earth. ” is written in hexameter, containing twelve syllables of trochee, iambic and pyrrhic meters. The fifth and sixth line combined contain all of the syllables used in the first four lines of the stanza; iambic, trochee, spondee, anapestic and pyrrhic.
This combination suggests the importance of all the elements of the first four lines and likewise are repeated here. Unlike the chaotic scheme of meter throughout the first stanza, the rhyme scheme is more consistent. Masculine rhyme is present here with an end rhyme of aabbcc; me, free, seas, need, stir, Earth. This more consistent pattern continues into the second stanza. In the next six lines of the second sestet the pattern becomes clearly parallel to its text. The seventh line, “As I refused, the sky started to pound”, is measured in pentameter with iambic and pyrrhic syllables.
The eighth line, “and I wondered if his love would ever be found. “, repeats the pentameter and the iambic syllable but drops the pyrrhic and is replaced by the anapestic syllable. The difference in the softness of the pyrrhic two unstressed syllables and the anapest, two unstressed syllables followed by a sharper stressed syllable is symbolic of the text, exhibiting compassion during chaos. The ninth line, “I believe when the first laser like lightning cracked the sky”, fourteen syllables in hexameter with iambic, anapest and an added spondee syllable suggests a rise in the event. The tenth line, “the Earth’s atmosphere surely died. exhibits a decline in its eight syllables from its previous fourteen. There is also a drop in meter from hexameter, six feet, to tetrameter of four feet. Lastly, a drop in the type of syllables in these two lines leaves us with the iambic and spondee. These obvious declines in the formal characteristics of the text are synonymous to a decline in life or simply death. Again in the eleventh and twelth lines of the second stanza, “Dirt gray clouds filtered the air above, And just as I began to cry,” we see a repeated pattern of the tetrameter and again the iambic, anapestic and spondee syllables while dropping the anapest in the twelth line.
This symbolizes the familiar that is about to proceed in the text. The rhyme scheme in the second stanza ddeefg brings us to an end in the texts’ relation to the Earth’s cool breeze just as the rhyme pattern discontinues from its previous flow, aabbcc. The third stanza which marks the middle of the poem begins, “The Ocean said, Come flow freely with me” with ten syllables written in pentameter accompanied by iambic, spondee and trochee syllables. A steady rhythm in meter is noted in the next four lines which declines to trimeter for all four lines. Line fourteen, “and the creatures in my seas. contains pyrrhic, trochee and anapestic syllables. The fifteenth line in trimeter, “Here your tears will disappear,” contains for the first time in the poem, a dactyllic syllable accompanied by the iambic syllable. Line sixteen, “and your worries will cease. ” contains again the iambic syllable now accompanied by the pyrrhic syllable. The last line in the series of trimeter lines is line seventeen which states, “Be the element that I need. “. concludes the metered pattern. In lines fourteen through seventeen the meter is measured the same, however there is a new element added to the syllables previously used in the beginning stanzas.
The repeated trimeter is suggestive of familiar situation but the new syllable is symbolic of the relation to the new element in the text, the Ocean. A change, line eighteen, “Without you, dangerous waters will come to the shores,” spikes with its thirteen syllables written in an inclined meter of pentameter and includes a mesh of anapest, dactyl, pyrrhic and iambic syllables indicating a heightening of awareness or danger. Line nineteen continues, “calling the pain from my ocean floors”, declines to tetrameter while still containing a mess of syllables, the dactyl, trochee, spondee and iambic, suggesting a heed in warning.
The twentieth line concludes, “and the Earth’s land will be no more. “, declines to eight syllables written in tetrameter now only including the pyrrhic, spondee and iambic syllables is suggestive of a last reasonable plea before chaos begins again. The rhyme scheme in the third stanza is not one of an established category, hh (end rhyme: me, seas) ii (internal rhyme: tears, disappear) hh (end rhyme) jjj (end rhyme: shores, floors, more). There is almost an asymmetrical balance in the third stanza between the consistent formal characteristics such as the repeated meter and rhyme scheme to the variance in usage of syllables.
Both are about equal in presence suggesting that peace exists within the chaos of the text. In the fourth stanza we will observe how the text begins to transcend through its formal characteristics and signals a coming to a close or better phrased, resolution. The twenty first line continues, “As I rejected the offer he had for me”, a familiar variation of line seven, is written in hexameter with iambic, pyrrhic and trochee syllables. The next line, “White waves began to crash rythmically” lowers to tetrameter and contains nine syllables, spondee, iambic and dactyl.
Here the recession in meter is suggestive in comparison to the text and signals to the reader a familiar situation seen earlier in the text. Line twenty three continues on, “and just as I began to swim”, eight syllables written in tetrameter, again, accompanied only by pyrrhic and iambic syllables signifies a hault in the pace of the text, another change, a possible resolution. Line twenty four reveals a slight change, “A beam of light struck through and within”, although the meter is the same as the last, the pyrrhic syllable is dropped and the anapest is added while continuing with the iambic syllable.
The last line in the stanza continues, “the clouds and shown down on the Ocean’s body. “, one step up from tetrameter to the supporting pentameter and a few added syllables as seen before, the pyrrhic, iambic, trochee and anapestic. Stable with a slight change in formal characteristics indicates a window of hope, an open door or a light at the end of the tunnel, when compared to its subject matter. It is here where transcendence truly begins to make an appearance. The rhyme scheme in the fourth stanza is much like the pattern in the first stanza with one exception.
The pattern seen here in the fourth is as follows: kkllm (me-rhythmically, swim-within, body). There is no pairing rhyme for m. Suggesting that the subject has lost something between the first and the fourth stanza. The final and fifth elongated stanza of nine lines begins, “It was the Earth’s mother star and she said,”, in ten syllables of pentameter with trochee and iambic syllables. The twenty seventh line, “Yield your fear and dry up that tear”, has eight syllables presented in tetrameter, one less than the previous line, and one more type of syllable accompanies trochee and iambic, the spondee.
The meters difference and the difference of the syllables can be interpreted as an intoduction to something new, Earth’s mother star. Line twenty eight continues the statement, “that runs down your red cheek. “, again a lesser amount of meter is found here as it is written in trimeter and accompanied by two types of syllables, the trochee and spondee. A slowing in the meter of these first three lines in the last stanza prepares the reader for its ending, the final resolution.
In line twenty nine, “This is all just a freak of Nature’s selfish ways”, the meter again rises to hexameter and introduces again a hodge podge of syllables, the pyrrhic, trochee, iambic and spondee which is suggestive of the mess “Nature” is in. Line thirty serves as a clearing of the way, “So understand these and the ones in you” written in pentameter, a decline in meter, indicating a coming to a close. Syllables trochee, spondee and iambic remain indicating stability to come. Lines thirty one through thirty four share a common meter, trimeter. However, their syllables vary slightly in each.
For instance, line thirty one, “and the sky once again will be blue” written with only anapestic measures. Line thirty two, “Understand the Ocean’s pain”, simply the iambic and anapestic syllables. In line thirty three, “and he too will remain tame” has an added syllable and consists of the anapest, pyrrhic and spondee supportive of a conclusion, a means to an end. And finally line thirty four of the five stanzas, “For these are reflections within. ” in finish is settled with the repetative trimeter in eight even syllables of iambic and anapestic syllables suggesting peace, it is now over.
The rhyme scheme in the fifth stanza is again unfamiliar. It is constructed as such: n-oo(internal rhyme fear, tear) pp(internal rhyme cheek, freak) q-rr(end rhyme you,blue) ss(end rhyme pain,tame) t. This unusual rhyme scheme is reflective of the texts chaotic events. The overall physical structure of the text supports a theme based on transcendence through nature. No two stanzas are alike. There is constant change in the formal characteristics as well as the text itself. Although it would seem that the chaos of these characteristics would make no sense, it makes perfect sense.
There is chaos in the text so why shouldn’t there be in the poem’s structure? We will now explore the literary devices used throughout the poem and relate them with the dominant patterns of imagery of Reflections Within. Synesthesia is the first device noted in the first line of the poem. Mixing the sense of feel, “The Earth’s cool breeze, spoke to me”, and the audible sense is combined with the use of imagery. Personification is present here by giving air the human ability to speak. The “cool breeze” suggests what type of atmosphere the subject is experiencing. He said, Come to be free, fly with me in my winds over the seas. “, suggesting the capacity to submit to feeling and be led by it to transcendence. “Be the element that I need. ” Element, the word is used here as a connotation synonymous to “love”. “Without you turbulent winds I stir,” uses kinetic imagery to show motion and suggests change from love to violence. Continuing on to the closure of the first stanza, “calling my anger from above striking the Earth. “, expressionism is clear here in that this line attempts to portray inner experience characterized by extreme mood or feeling with violent exaggeration.
In this first stanza the atmosphere has set the mood that something is uneasy, that there is a conflict or a problem even if unclear at this stage. The second stanza continues the conflict in its first and second lines, “As I refused, the sky started to pound, and I wondered if his love would ever be found. ” suggests a sense of helplessness by the subjects’ inability to console the pain of the Earth’s cool breeze. “I believe when the first laser like lightning cracked the sky, the Earth’s atmosphere surely died. ” several literary devices are used here such as the onomatopoeia “cracked” resembling the sound that lightning makes.
Another connotation is observed in “atmosphere” used in place of “heart”. Personification is repeated here in giving the Earth the sense of life through death and dying. The smoothness of the rhyme scheme up until this point in the text is consistent until the next two lines interfere with the structure. “Dirt gray clouds flitered the air above,” again a change is indicated here suggesting that a new setting is approaching. “And just as I began to cry,” suggests a sense of helplessness again in that the situation is familiar and unchanging or worsening.
Turning to the third stanza the subject finds themselves again in a familiar situation with the Ocean, cornered . “The Ocean said, Come flow freely with me, and the creatures in my seas” synethesia is evident in the Ocean’s ability to speak and make an offering. “Here your tears will disappear, and your worries will cease. ” a promise of security. “Be the element that I need. ” the same connotation made of the word element previously, stands firm here as well. In return, the Ocean asks for love. “Without you dangerous waters will come to the shores, calling the pain from my ocean floors and the Earth’s land will be no more. A condition to the offering, conditional love, which is not truly love at all if it is consequential. This suggests that things aren’t quite what they seem in this serene image of ocean waters. This central stanza recalls a similar situation from the first two verses supporting the relationship between the self and nature. It also marks the central high point or climax which eventually must descend. “As I rejected the offer he had for me,” a variation of the familiar line seven, suggests the beginning of another familiar problem, rejection, in the first line of the fourth stanza. White waves began to crash rhythmically”, kinetic imagery is used here in the word rhythmically which gives motion to the entire phrase suggesting change. There is a change in the mood of the Ocean from calm and serene to violent waves. “Crash” is used as an onomatopoeia, as the sound waves would make when “crashing” upon one another. “And just as I began to swim”, we have now transcended in nature from flying with the winds to swimming in the seas, hence, transcending through nature to locate the genuine. “A beam of light struck through and within” suggestive of a glimmer of hope, the “light”. Through and within”, symbolic of the heart or soul, the genuine. “The clouds and shown down on the Ocean’s body”, resolution! The light revealing the Ocean’s body puts a stop to its misbehavior, like a child when caught bullying a sibling. This beginning of a resolution signals the root of the subjects’ dilemna. “It was the Earth’s mother star and she said,”, again an inatimate object is given human characteristics in speaking, symbolizing personification. Security can be suggestive of the mother star as it is located “above” all else and is given a godly sense. One that is reveared with power, love, sterness and compassion.
The same as a loving parent or “mother”. “Yield your fear and dry up that tear, that runs down your red cheek”, just as a mother would wipe the tears from a crying child’s eyes. “This is all just a freak of nature’s selfish ways” here the transcendence between the self and nature come together. “So understand these and the one’s in you, and the sky once again will be blue” is suggestive of oneness with nature, or one in the same, the self. “Understand the Ocean’s pain, and he too will remain tame”, personification is given again to the Ocean giving it the ability to understand or feel pain.
This line also exhibits oneness with nature. “For these are reflections within. ” could suggest dramatic monologue being that it is unknown if the author intended to reveal that the reactions of the earthly elements were deeply rooted in the self. This romantic didactic poem shows us that one may have control over what happens around them depending on thier outlook on life and how one handles their emotions. Moving on to examining the formal characteristics of William Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a cloud which shares a common theme with the previous poem Reflections Within, transcendence through nature.
I wandered lonley as a cloud is a romantic stanzaic poem consisting of four stanzas each made up of a sestet or six lines for a total of twenty four lines. The first five lines, I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils, Beside the lake, beneath the trees, are all written in iambic tetrameter. A change is indicated at the end of the stanza when the metered pattern changes as does the rhyme scheme simultaneously. Line six, “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. ” is nine syllables written in tetrameter accompanied now by an anapest and iambic syllables.
The change in rhyme scheme from abab ending the stanza in cc represents the stable basis that will be repeated throughout the transcendence of the text. The same is noted for the end rhyme scheme of the text per each stanza. The second stanza, Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: alternates between nine and eight syllables, consistent in the rhyme scheme here as dede. All four lines are identical to the formal structure of the previous tetrameter measured lines in the first stanza.
However, there is a notable change in the existence of syllables besides the iamb such as the anapest, pyrrhic, trochee, dactyl, and spondee which includes all possible combinations of syllables, suggesting that the text reaches beyond the tangable, including all things, the universe. Lines eleven and twelve of the second stanza stand again as a steady base, Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. to support the previous four lines with its double end rhyme scheme gg, accompanied by eight syllables per line, also written in tetrameter to reinforce the supporting repeated pattern of the subject in text.
The third stanza, The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee; A poet could not but be gay, In such jocund company; I gazed – and gazed- but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: again continues the same previous pattern of end rhyme, hihijj. Still consistent with the meter measured as tetrameter. Again a conglomorant of syllables are used such as the iamb, pyrrhic, spondee and a trochee which suggests the continuing of the worldly idea and that everything is in place just as it was intended, the way nature intended it. The last stanza in sestet,
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils. reverts back to the structure seen in the first stanza written in iambic tetrameter which is similar to the texts’ suggestive flashback. Keeping the flow of the rhyme scheme to its completedness, klklmm is suggestive of a repeated pattern, similar to the subject of the text, a place to be revisited. The overall structure of this text is very organized with regular meter and rhyme.
Similar in the way that nature also has a specific order. Transcendence does not make itself obvious here in the physical structure, rather it makes somewhat of a circle reverting back to its original state, similar in the way that nature rejuvinates itself. Wordsworths’ words in this text are used as a capacity to submit to feeling and be led by it to transcendence through the use of literary devices and dominant patterns of imagery which we will now examine. The first line, “I wandered lonely as a cloud” establishes personification, as if a cloud would purposefully think to wander such as a person might do. That floats on high o’er vales and hills”, the beginning of a presented journey. “When all at once I saw a crowd,” suggests change or something new and exciting. “A host, of golden daffodils,” a host, suggests a party of people. Perhaps a “crowd” of people at a gathering. “Beside the lake, beneath the trees”, suggestive of an out-door event, a reunion or union of such. “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” allows the image to become kinetic in setting motion to the “crowd” of daffodils that are fluttering and dancing amongst themselves, as socialites do at a wedding. Continuous as the stars that shine, And twinkle on the milky way”, suggests an imagery of beauty that goes far beyond what the eye can see. “They stretched in never-ending line, along the margin of the bay;” suggests a pause as if they were waiting for something. “Ten thousand saw I at a glance,” suggests a feeling of being overwhelmed by the sight and therefor is exaggerated. “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. ” uses kinetic imagery to suggest again change. This imagery could be symbolic of bachelorettes waiting in line to catch the bouquet, to make the transformation from bachelorette to bride.
The sprightly motion is a feminine suggestion that supports this image. “The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee” suggests that even the beauty of the water was no match for the joy of the daffodils. “A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company;” again the insinuation of a group suggests people, in this case of good company. “I gazed – and gazed but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought” suggests that the subject took the moment for granted and like the fourth stanza, the moment comes to an end. For oft when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood,” suggests that we are back in the atmosphere of the first stanza wandering lonely as a cloud. “They flash upon that inward eye”, a connotation of “inward eye” locates the genuine here, flashing back to the imagination or the mind. “Which is the bliss of solitude”, suggests that the subject is content with being alone, not restrained by the ties of marriage, enititled to private thought and to think whatever one should want. And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils” suggests that the subject returns to the nature of being man and appreciates the beauty in nature, be it flower or woman, he has the option to pick from this metaphor. The conclusion of the text recycles the subject back to the familiarity of the beginning text. Transcendence through nature in this text reflects the relationship between the self and the beauty of nature. Reflections Within and I wandered lonely as a cloud are two poems that share the common theme, transcendence through nature.
The major differences between the two text is that the subject in Reflections Within does not achieve being at one with nature until the end of the poem and is supported by its chaotic line structure and variances in syllables and meter. Whereas the second texts’ subject is completely at one with nature throughout the entirety of its text and is mirrored in the confindence of the repeated line structure, rhyme scheme and meter. The main focus of both subjects is escape however they differ in motivation. While one subject is trying to escape the negative nature of self, the other escapes to nature in positive imagery.
Locating the authentic in both of these texts also differs. The genuine in Wordworth’s poem is located in the head or the mind of the subject. The authentic or genuine is located in the heart of the subject of Reflections Within. Both texts are similar in the elements of nature that are used in order to transcend the character through nature such as the breeze, stars and water or waves. Both texts treat nature with human characteristics such as speaking, dancing and many other motions which are necessary to transcend. Overall both texts treat nature as a source for authenticity and spiritual refreshment.
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