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David Evan’s, ‘A Zen Dusk’
The most prominent feature of David Evans’ poem ‘A Zen Dusk’ is the tone of the poem that delivers a frightening emotion of the occurrences that are happening at a farmhouse where an unknown farmer stays with his family and animals. The poem involves the farmer, his wife, and his eldest son.
The structure of the poem involves the use verses, “single metrical lines of poetry, or poetry in general-as opposed to prose” (4, Glossary of Poetry Terms). For example, “A spring of wind building in his forest” (Evans Stanza1) is a verse. Verses have been used in this poem to provide originality of ideas besides enhancing the continuity of the poem. They bring out the poem’s flow.
A stanza, “Two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem” (4, Glossary of Poetry Term) is also evident in this poem to wind up thoughts to make up a completely comprehensive idea. Different stanzas also indicate a variation of ideas from one point to the other.
The poem’s action depicts continuous activities. For example, the verse “suddenly sees that a rat backed bristling” (Evans Stanza 2) indicates a continuity of events that prepare the reader for the unfolding activities. It is also an indication that the happenings are alive.
The actions of the characters, animals, and human beings depict a community that lives together. For example, the words “is just a hog looking for a place to rest” (Evans Stanza 3) indicate the activities in which the hog involves itself.
The author uses rhetoric devices like assonance, “the repetition of a pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds” (1, Glossary of Poetry Terms), which is evident in the sound ‘I’ in “Of a knife on a steel, while staring” (Evans Stanza 4). The device is used to bring out the attitude of ignorance and helplessness of the hog in the hands of its master thus making the mood of the poem very important.
The author has also used rhyming words. Rhyme, “The occurrence of the same or similar sounds at the end of two or more words” (3, Glossary of Poetry Terms) appears in the use of ‘a’ in “that and rat” (Evans Stanza 2). Rhyme has been used to bring out the rhythm of the poem.
The author has also used caesura, “A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line” (1, Glossary of Poetry Terms) in the verse “by a cat is merely a rat” (Evans Stanza 2) to enrich the rhythm of the poem.
Another stylistic device the author has used is enjambment “the continuation of a complete idea (sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the next line or couplet without a pause” (2, Glossary of Poetry Terms). This appears in the verse “About to die and a cat honing a skill” (Evans Stanza 2) to bring out the theme of cruelty in the poem.
Litotes, “A figure of speech in which a positive is stated by negating its opposite” (3, Figures of Speech) appears in the verse “nothing more and nothing less than” (Evans Stanza 6) to bring out the tone of fear. Other stanzas also depict the theme of cruelty in the unfolding events of the poem.
The wife of the old poet also demonstrates how eager she is to slaughter the hog. The verse “Is just a wife growing impatient” (Evans Stanza 4) is an indication of a blood-thirst community of animals and human beings. The oldest son of the old poet is also depicting his interest to take away life.
He is refreshing his memories of how he uses his rifle. For instance, “And his eldest son buffing his reflection into the black barrel of a rifle” (Evans Stanza 5) is an indication of the joy he derives from shooting and killing.
The owl, which symbolizes a bad omen and grief, comes in at last to tell about the coming of problems. In fact, “it is dusk” (Evans Stanza 6) here indicates the coming of darkness. The night indicates problems especially death.
Erim-Cilbertos Poem, “Splash”
The most conspicuous quality of Erim-Cilbertos’ “Splash” is his passionate narration of his poem. The narration brings out an effortlessness work that indicates the feelings brought out by the poem. The setting of the poem is ambiguous, as the poet tells of eyewitness events in “I saw a poem in a puddle” (Erim-Cilberos Stanza 1), which perhaps prepares the reader to understand the poem from the point of view of the narrator.
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The structure of the poem is made up of verses, for example, in “rain may degenerate the minds of passersby” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 4). Verses indicate a variation in ideas besides developing the poem and its cohesion. There are also stanzas in the poem that join various verses with a similar thoughts to bring out a whole and concrete idea. They are also used in theme development.
Metaphors, “figures of speech in which two things are compare, usually by saying one thing is another, or by substituting a more descriptive word for the more common or unusual word that would be expected” (3, Glossary of Poetry Terms) appear in the words ‘empty shells’ in “Empty shells of cynics like dead snails crawl” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 2).
They refer to ignorant people who have no thoughts. It brings out the theme of ignorance in the poem. Assonance also appears in the sound ‘a’ in “rain may degenerate the minds of passersby” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 4) to enrich the tone of the poem besides bringing out a hopeless mood.
The author also uses alliteration in the verse “and people just trodden past” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza1) to enhance the rhythm of the poem.
Another device employed in this poem is the personification, “a figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes” (3 Glossary of Poetry), in the verse “Leaving it to be drenched in its own sorrow” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1), which brings out the sorrowful mood of the poem as if it had life.
Caesura is also evident in “Words are all wet, they proclaimed” (Erim-Cilberto Stanza1) to bring out the tone of the poem. The poem is also rich in similes; “figures of speech in which two things are compared using the word “like” or “as” (4, Glossary of Poetry Terms) in the verse “empty shells of cynics like dead snails crawl into” (Eriam-Cilberto Stanza 2) to enrich the rhythm of the poem.
There is also the employment of enjambment, for example, “but I hear the song” (Eriam-Cilberto Stanza 3), which enhances the mood of the poem. The author has also employed accent, “the prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word” (1, Glossary of Poetry Terms) in the verse “eternal acrid sentiment” (Eriam-Cilberto Stanza 2) where ‘e’ brings out the rhythm of the poem.
Paradox, “A seemingly self contradictory statement, which yet is shown to be true” (2, Figures of Speech), is evident in the verse “Who needs them or the poets who write nothing” (Eriam-Cilberto Stanza 1) to depict the ignorant attitude of the poem.
The characterization of this poem involves the poet himself who says, “I saw a poem” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) besides other unnamed people in “the other day and people just trodden past” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1). The narrator is ironically at a point of telling everything as he witnesses. This makes the poem lively and interesting to read. The actions of the people are pessimistic and not foresighted.
At the beginning of the poem, the poet narrates about what he witnessed as people trod past the poem. For instance, “The other day and people just trodded past” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) is used to bring out the theme of ignorance in the poem. It shows how people are ignorant of knowledge regardless of the efforts in knowledge preservation and development by the poets.
The poem is in the wrong place. For instance, “I saw a poem in a puddle” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) is an indication that it is not well preserved. The work of the poet that is supposed to be a source of knowledge is just misplaced and worse still destroyed. A carefree attitude is also brought out where the author tells how the people disapprove other poets’ work.
In fact, “But rather with terse criticism, made fun of it” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) tells how the same people who ignore, criticize, and destroy sources of knowledge and wisdom continue to suffer due to lack of wise counseling. They have no one to get them out of their problems. The words, “On with their soiled lives” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) show how they have ignored the wise counsel of the poet.
The tone of pessimism is also depicted in the poem. The people see nothing important in such a work. For instance, the verse “Who needs them or the poets who write nothing” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) shows how the poem is destroyed by rains and sun with the people’s situation being left unsolved due to their carefree attitude. The title of the poem “Splash” depicts the destruction of a worthy item by unwanted marks.
The poet gives a reflection of what he witnessed-the destruction of a source of knowledge. The poem dashed about the pool as the ignorant people watched. The reader is left with questions. Who threw the poem in the pool? Why did he/she prefer to throw it in the pool and not anywhere else? What was the intention of the person who did this?
Comparing and Contrasting A Zen Dusk and Splash
The structures of the two poems have some similarities. For example, both poems have stanzas and verses. In the poem ‘A Zen of Dusk’, each stanza has three verses while the number of verses varies in every stanza of the other poem. In both poems, verses have been used to bring about coherence of ideas from one point to the other. They are also used to join the different ideas in each of them to make a complete idea.
Both poems have a similarity of being written in the form of verses to bring out continuation and cohesion of ideas. They are also used to provide continuity of both poems. Each verse in the poem is integral.
Meters in both poems include alliteration. For example, in the poem ‘Splash’, “the other day; and people just trodden past” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1), the similar sound ‘p’, and the sound ‘b’ in “into the black barrel of a rifle” (Evans Stanza 6) depict alliteration. Alliteration is used to bring out rhythm in both poems.
It also helps to bring out the contrast of tones of fear in the ‘black barrel’ and the tone of lamentation in ‘people’s past’. Both poems have used assonance to enrich the tones.
For example, the sound ‘I’ in “Of a knife on a steel, while staring” (Evans Stanza 4) and the sound ‘a’ in “rain may degenerate the minds of passersby” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 4) depict assonance to enrich the tone besides bringing out the hopeless mood in both poems. Both poems have used consonance, “the repetition of similar sounds especially at the end of words as in ‘lost’ and ‘past’” (2, Glossary of Poetry Terms).
For example, the sound ‘s’ in “no one picked up the immersed verse” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 1) and the sound ‘s’ in “Is just a hog looking for a place to rest” (Evans Stanza 3) are depictive of consonance. In both poems, consonance is used to depict the theme of ignorance. The hog is ignorant of its death while the people are ignorant of the poem’s verse that is immersed in water.
Consonance also brings out contrast in the poems. However, in the poem ‘Splash’, it brings out the mood of desperation since the verse of the poem brings out a desperation image, as it is immersed in water with no one willing to rescue it.
On the other hand, consonance in the poem ‘A Zen of Dusk’ is used to bring out the mood of relaxation as the hog is relaxed just wanting to rest. The author brings out the image of ignorance in times of danger. The use of metaphor is also evident in the in the poems. The words ‘empty shells’ in “Empty shells of cynics like dead snails crawl” (Erim-Cilbertos Stanza 2) refer to the ignorant people who have no thoughts.
They enhance the theme of ignorance in this poem. Similarly, the word ‘window’ in “out the window is just his wife growing impatient” (Evans Stanza 4) is used to refer to the old poet’s wife in a metaphorical way. This is used by the author to bring out the tone of anticipation mood of the poem.
No one can predict what is likely to happen to the dusk. Everyone is preparing for something to happen. The elder son is thinking of his rifle with no one being able to tell his intention.
The contrast that is brought out by the use of metaphors is that, in the poem ‘Splash’, the empty shell brings the image of a lifeless situation while the window in the poem ‘A Zen of Dusk’ brings out the image of a living woman. The authors of the two poems have structured them into verses and stanzas.
This brings out organization and compatibility of ideas in the poems. The authors of the two poems have successfully used stylistic devices like assonance, alliteration, consonance, and metaphor to bring out the moods, themes, attitude, and tones of the poems.
Erim-Cilbertos, Jacob. The Splash. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.
Evans, David. A Zen Dusk. New York: Word Press, 2010. Print.
Figures of Speech. Studies in Early Modern Literature. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Glossary of Poetry Terms. Writing & Reading Poems. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.