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I am really stuck on analyzing this poem! watch

    • Thread Starter

    I am having trouble analyzing this poem and my essay was due in ..... yesterday and with a migraine that has been going on for a solid 2 weeks I really need to get some work done! I was wondering if someone could help me get some points so I could start a half decent essay


    Alpine Letter

    Love? If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d say
    love is a saw that amputates the heart.
    I’d call it my disease, I’d call it plague.
    But yesterday, I hadn’t heard from you.

    So call it the weight of light that holds one soul
    connected to another. Or a tear
    that falls in all gratitude, becoming sea.
    Call it the only word that comforts me.

    The sight of your writing has me on the floor,
    the curve of each letter looped about my heart.
    And in this ink, the tenor of your voice.
    And in this ink the movement of your hand.

    The Alps, now, cut their teeth upon the sky,
    and pressing on to set these granite jaws
    between us, not a mile will do me harm.
    Your letter, in my coat, will keep me warm.

    Ros Barber


    In ‘Alpine Letter’, how does the poet present ideas about love? [24 marks]

    These are just some jumbled thoughts as I have only started studying English lit. myself but perhaps it will help to get your started:

    At first you should mention your personal reaction (one adjective is usually enough) and your opinion on the question asked. So looking at the poem, it could be something along the lines of:

    “This passionate/luscious love poem uses a powerful combination of imagery and language to present how powerful and enveloping love can be” (keeping the narrator warm etc.)

    Then mention the techniques to back up your point / Bring in context (interchangeably)

    Techniques I have identified:

    1st line: rhetorical question: posing a question to the reader, provoking them to think about love, but not requiring an answer and often used as a technique of persuasion.

    2nd line: Anaphora of the first and second line “Love” and “love”: anaphora can be particularly useful in drawing reader’s attention not only to sound but also to concrete detail, metaphor, and rhetorical movement.

    3rd line: The caesura here breaks up the flow of the sentence. A caesura is a strong pause within a line, and is often found alongside enjambment. If all the pauses in the sense of the poem were to occur at the line breaks, this could become dull; moving the pauses so they occur within the line creates a musical interest and makes the poem more emotive.

    10th line: Using metaphor that each letter is looping around his heart. It gives the poem a move physical sense that love actually does envelope us.

    In the third stanza there are 2 anaphoras "the the" "and and"

    Last line: Rhyming couplet, gives it emphasis.

    There are many more.

    Context from techniques: I don’t know the author, but I can see this is written in free verse without regular rhymes or metre which is common in 20th century and contemporary poetry so you can assume Ros Barber was born in the 20th century.

    As you work your way through the poem and techniques used always keep the structure of point, evidence and explain.
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Updated: October 11, 2017
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