Composed upon Westminster Bridge Analysis
A poem I would like to share that I find a good read from chapter 21 is Composed upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth found on page 473. In order to analyze a poem, I first read the poem and then read it out loud a few times. When reading a poem out loud you are able to hear any rimes, rhythmic patterns, stressed or unstressed syllables. After determining what literary elements the poem contains, I could then interpret what the meaning is behind the poem or what the poem is saying. In the poem, Composed upon Westminster Bridge I found a few different literary elements such as a syllabic verse, a trochaic meter, a rhythmic pattern, alliteration, end rime as well as visual imagery. I understood what the meaning of the poem is after identifying each literary element.
The poem contains a syllabic verse which the textbook describes as “the poet establishes a pattern of certain number of syllables to a line” (Gioia 188). This fourteen lined poem contains ten syllables per line, a syllabic verse. I think that a syllabic verse causes an effect on the meaning of the poem of being straightforward. I believe that with an even number of syllables per line it makes the poem seem organized and put together well. I think that an organized poem would have a straight forward message or meaning because normally something that is messy is hard to determine its significance.
Another literary element that is present in this poem is trochaic meter which can be found by reading the poem out loud. The textbook describes trochaic meter as “a line made up primarily of trochees, a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable” (Gioia 171). Trochaic is the type of meter that a poem contains which is the rhythmic pattern of stresses. The first line of the poem “Earth has not anything to show more fair” seems as every other word is a stressed syllable, therefore causing this particular rhythmic pattern. I believe that with this type of rhythmic pattern it keeps the reader interested in the poem with the want to continue reading it. When the reader is interested in the poem due to the structure of the poem, the meaning of the poem becomes more effective.
A literary element that is popular among English poetry is alliteration which can be found in this poem by Wordsworth. The pattern of sounds called alliteration is described as “occurs in the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of successive words” (Gioia 149). I notice that in each line there is a repetition of consonants at the end of each line. When discovering the alliteration in this poem, I detected what type of rime was in the poem as well. End rime is what it seems, the end of the lines of a poem rime with one another. The first line of the poem ends with fair which rimes with the fourth and fifth lines as well as the eighth line. The fourth line ends with wear, the fifth line ends with bare and the eighth line ends with air. I believe that the end line pattern causes the reader to be intrigued to read more causing an effect on the strength of the meaning of the poem.
Lastly, the literal element of visual imagery I believe is what really causes an effect on the meaning of the poem. Throughout the poem, Wordsworth uses adjectives such as fair, dull, doth, bright, glittering, smokeless, calm, sweet, and mighty. All of these adjectives help give a vivid image of what the poet is expressing. I believe there is literal meaning of this poem as well as figurative meaning. The literal meaning of this poem or message the poet is trying to convey is to appreciate the beauty in this world, to enjoy what the Earth has to offer us, and to focus on simple beautiful parts of life. The first and second lines are what give me the reason to determine this as the meaning. “Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by”. Wordsworth expresses whoever does not stop to appreciate the beauty of the world is “dull”. He then explains how majestic and beautiful the scenery he is explaining is which continues my thoughts on the meaning I had explained. I believe there is figurative meaning in this poem as well since there are metaphors as well as similes present. The thirteenth line states “Dear God! The very houses seem asleep” we know that this is a metaphor since a house literally cannot sleep; therefore the poet is expressing a figurative language which can cause a figurative meaning.
In conclusion the different literary elements that I found in the poem are a syllabic verse, a trochaic meter, a rhythmic pattern, alliteration, end rime as well as visual imagery. Each element helps give strength to the meaning of the poem. I believe that the meaning of the poem is that the poet is expressing that people should appreciate the beauty of our world as well as to focus on the positives because of Wordsworth’s expressive word choice.