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Crossing the Swamp

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 501
  • Category: Poetry

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The poem Crossing the Swamp is a well-organized poem which uses many techniques to develop the relationship between the speaker and the swamp. Some of these techniques include diction, narrative structure, repetition, imagery, personification, tone shift, as well as many interesting sound devices that. The first thing that is very noticeable is the narrative structure. The speaker provides us with the image of the character’s footsteps through the structure of the poem, which indicates the struggle that he is going through. He uses gaps and indents throughout the poem to express his movement in the swamp and how he moves from one side to the other in order for him to be able to free himself from this struggle. The syntax of the poem cannot be described as stanzas or paragraphs, because the poem itself is one broken stanza which depicts the character’s misery while moving in the swamp. At the beginning of the poem, there is a use of cacophonic sounds of “branching vines.” “Burred faintly belching bogs” are used to describe the ugly sounds of the swamp as the character takes a step forward; which only add more to the misery and struggle of the speaker.

The repetition of the word “Here”” is also very unique because it is emphasizing the location of where the character is being tortured by having to walk into this swamp of misery and struggle. There is another sound the speaker describes “that sink silently on to the black slack earthsoup” (lines 20-22). This diction considered as imagery, because it is making a comparison between the swamp and earthsoup. Some of the sound devices include consonance, rhythm and alliteration with the repetition of the end sounds of such as in the words” pathless, seamless, peerless” (line 12-13), and “foothold, fingerhold, mindhold” (line 16-17). The speaker also used alliteration in line 19 with hipholes and hummocks.

The tonal shift in the poem begins on line 22, with the sentence, “I feel not wet so much as painted and glittered” (line 22-230. At this point the speaker does not sound as desperate and miserable as he was in the beginning of the poem. He begins to feel hopeful and beings being tankful for having another chance to live. The text “a poor dry stick” (line 28-29) provides us with a description of the crosser as an old, fragile being who is trying to cross the at the mercy of the ruthless swamp. In the final analysis, the speaker seeks a relationship between the speaker and the swamp as one of struggle and hope. Both, the speaker and the swamp, appear to be fighting with each other to consume victory over the other. In the end, they give in to each other’s needs, the swamp lets speaker go. By doing this, the speaker thanks the swamp and is able to be more thankful and hopeful than before. This poem portrays the connections between stubbornness and struggle, leading ultimately to an end of understanding.

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