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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Seafarer By Ezra Pound; Analyzed

Ezra Pound was a poet born on the October 30, 1885, in Hailey, Idaho, United States of America. He's generally considered the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry.

This lenghty line poem was originally written by an unknown Anglo-Saxon written but translated by Ezra Pound. It is in a free verse which maybe as a result of translation. The poem can be categorized under ship and sea; which makes it possess a sea setting.

Line 1-5: May I confess of this journey's hardship which I endured.

Line 6-8: While the sea tossed, I endured the "dire sea-surge" and spent "Narrow night watch nigh the ship's head".

Line 9-14: I was afflicted by cold; cold numbed my feet, the chains are cold, "chafing sighs hew my heart round" and in my tired mood I suffered hunger. How I wish people knew that living on land is better than the sea; most especially the ice-cold sea.

Line 15-20: I tried withstand the winter, looked so wretched like an outcast witho
ut kinsmen. My only company are hard ice-flakes, flying hail-scur , ice-cold waves.

Line 21-25:
"Sea-fowls' loudness was for me laughter,
The mews' singing all my mead-drink.
Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern
In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed
With spray on his pinion."

Let's look at the poetic stunts in the poem. Three figurative are common in the words of the poet and they are alliteration, imagery, and repetition. Words such as "off" "sea" "ice" "care" "cliff" are found repeated in the poem. Alliterations are "Journey's jargon" in line 2, "close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted" in line 8, "winter, wretched outcast" in line 15.

"Bitter breast-cares have I abided" in line 4 means "I remained sad for a very long time".

"Lest man know not/ That he on dry land loveliest liveth" in line 12-13 means "people don't know that land is more fun than sea".

The themes in the poem are (a) Experience of winter sailing; which the poem described to be very dangerous. The victim of winter sailing suffered sea-surge, extreme cold, icy storms, etc. (b) Comparison between land and sea; at point in the poem, unpleasantness of the winter sailing forced the voice in the poem to confess that waiting on land is better than waiting on sea. (c) Loneliness; part of the poet's complain is none to talk to. He "weathered  the winter" and was like a "wretched outcast/ Deprived of my kinsmen".

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying

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