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Criticised Poetry by Adelere Adesina

POEM: BEAUTIFUL SKY
POET: ADESOYE SAMSON
CRITC: ADELERE ADESINA

The sky is beautiful,
so bright and dark,
Laced with the magic of stars,
Oh, beautiful is the sky!

Cloudy art thou
when it raineth;
bright art thou
with the sun;
o, sky,
beautiful is you with me.

APPRECIATION

OVERVIEW

Beautiful Sky is a romance poem. It is written in free verse, that is, without any regular rhyme and rhythm. It is a poem of ten lines, which are spread over two verses unequally. The first verse has four lines, whereas the second has six lines. The setting of the poem is the sky.

SUBJECT MATTER

Beautiful Sky, which exists in two irregular verses of ten lines, talks about the beauty of the sky. It describes the qualities of the sky during different seasons. Lastly, it relates the sky to the poet, which shows that the poet has admiration for the sky.

Verse One

The first verse describes the subject of the poem, and, well, points out the setting of the poem. It uses imagery that is associated with sight to give its details of the sky.

Lines One and Two

The first and second lines are very descriptive of the subject, the sky. Being enjambed, the lines read together as, 'The sky is beautiful, so bright and dark.' The poet desctibed the sky as an object that possesses beauty (l 1), that is bright (l 2) and that is dark as well (l 2). On the surface, the second line is contradictory (the same that is bright is dark?). However, when carefully examined, one finds the poet is very correct in two different ways. First, the sky is very dark at night, though very bright during the day (which is certainly implied by the words of the third line, 'laced with the magic of stars'.) The other sense is that the sky can be very bright in the presence of the sun, and, in the same day, turn grey with mass clouds (which is certainly implied in the fifth line through the eighth line).

Lines Three and Four

The poet went on to describe the sky as being 'laced with the magic of stars'; hence, repeating again that the sky is filled with beauty. The word 'laced' can be used to mean the sky has holes that are made by stars spread across it; it can also mean the stars are added to the sky, as one adds simile to one's expressions. Whichever, the poet has in mind that the presence of stars in the sky is 'magical'. 'Magic' is another word for enchantment, charm, spell: the four have something in common, a distinct quality that causes 'attraction' which someone or something possesses. Hence, the presence of stars is unique and makes the sky very beautiful to look. This must be the reason why the poet's next line is, O, beautiful is the sky.' By this hyperbation (the inversion of normal word order), the poet placed much emphasis on the word 'beautiful'. In fact, the exclamation, 'O', is apparently there to show the emphasis on the sentence, that the sky possesses much beauty. It is very evident that the poet was fascinated by the sky's possession of beauty in the use of the word 'magic' in the third line and both the direct and indirect emphasis put on the word 'beautiful' in the fourth line. This stress can be observed in the use of the exclamatory mark at the end of this fourth line.

Verse Two

The second verse describes the activities of the sky, and how they influence the writer. The fifth to the eighth lines are written in archaisms. The last two lines of the verse are declarative of the poet's conclusion. Unlike the first verse where the poet's rhetoric is as though the sky is the third person and another is the second person, this verse assumes the sky to be the second person and another (the reader) to be the third person.

Lines Five and Six

The poet, using archaic words, went thus: 'Cloudy are you / when it rains.' The poet described the sky as cloudy when it is raining: this, as said earlier, complements the words of the second line (that the sky is dark). For the poet, the sky changes its expression when it rains (the sky turns grey and dim).

Lines Seven and Eight

In continuation, the seventh and eighth lines state that the sky is bright when the sun shines. In modern English, the two lines read: 'Bright are you / with the sun.' This, along with the cloudiness of the sky during the rain, completes the meaning of the antithetical second line of the poem. This as well completes the meaning in the sense of day and night if compared with the third line of the first verse.

Lines Nine and Ten

The poet's last lines are declarative. The poet told the sky that it was beautiful with him. This expression has two views to it: regardless of the activity of the sky (rainy or sunny), the poet is content; despite that it is at times bright and at other times dark, the poet is content. The plain end of the message of the last line is that the poet admires the sky.

FIGURES OF SPEECH

In the poem, there are figures of speech. Some of them are:

1. repetition (paregmenon): repetition of 'the sky is beautiful' in ll 1, 4 and 10, repetition of 'art thou' in ll 5 and 7;

2. antithesis (enantiosis): the use of two words of opposite meaning together in l 2;

3. address (apostrophe): the act of talking to the sky in ll 5 to 10;

4. metaphor: the comparison of the glittering of stars to magic;

5. astrothesia: the description of the stars in line 3, and the sky in almost all of the poem; and

6. inversion (hyperbation): the reordering of the expression 'the sky is beautiful' in line 4, the reordering of the expression 'you are beautiful with me' in line 10.

OTHER RHETORICAL DEVICES

1. archaism: the use of 'thou' in the fifth and seventh ll, and the use of the archaic suffix '-eth' in the sixth line, which marks Anglo-Saxon; and

2. imagery: images relating to sight in lines two (bright, dark), three (stars), five (cloudy) and seven (bright); an image relating to mental or spiritual conception in line three (magic)

THEMES

Beauty of Nature

The poet expressed great admiration for Nature, although he focused on the sky only. He showed great interest in the sky, that each line resonates that Nature is very beautiful. The sky is beautiful, regardless of whatever side of it you behold. When it is bright, you get sunlight. When it is cloudy, you have the rain. When it is night, you have the 'magic' of stars twinkling in the sky. In the same way, everything that is known in Nature has a good deal of beauty.

Unconditional Affection

The poet continued to like the sky, though it could turn 'dark' and 'cloudy'. He continued to like the sky, despite its varying degrees of expression. In this is shown that his likeness for the sky does not change or waver. This affection does not fail to embrace the bright and blunt sides of the sky. The poet simply showed that he did not love the sky because it was beautiful, but the sky was beautiful because he loved it.

Life's Antithesis

The poet expressed opposite events in the sky, 'dark' and 'bright', as well as 'rain' and 'sun'. Nevertheless, all these make up the sky we all know. It would be incomplete if he mentioned only the bright side of the sky, without ever saying it could turn grey. It would also be partial if he said the sky is dim and dark without a mention of its bright, glorious side. Just in the same way, life is full of such opposites walking together: good and bad, love and hate, joy and sorrow, etc. If the sky has never beendark, he cannot identify when it is bright. Hence, life's antithesis completes the definition of life.

SCANSION

The poem is irregularly rhymed. It does not follow a particular rhythm as well. It is, in words of one syllable, a free verse. The fifth and seventh lines rhyme though; however, this is not sufficient evidence of a particular pattern to rhyme. The rhyme scheme is therefore abcd efegdh.

The metre differs from one line to the other. For example, the first line is a foot of amphibrach that is followed by a foot of dactyl; whereas the second line has two foot (a dimeter) of trochee. The irregularity flows till the end of the poem.

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