Analysis Of The Poem Mother Earth By Henry Van Dyke

A poem, it is a “piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure.” To determine what constitutes as “the best poem in the world” many factors need to be established; a well written poem is one that celebrates language and takes the reader or the audience on a journey. A poem is deemed well written when it leads to a deeper meaning and touches one’s heart, where it allows the reader to explore a different universe and dig into their imagination. A great poem begs to be shared with others, it makes the reader feel linked with the words. A great poem takes you all around, to the city, to the sea, to the sky, and to all matters of the universe. For a poem to be considered the best in the world, it needs to take into account word choice, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme and other literary devices. Chosen words dictate the meaning of the poem, it determines the reader’s comprehension; the way the poem ends needs to leave a new resonance or a spark in the reader’s mind, leaving a significant impact and new perspective.

The poem “Mother Earth” is a beautiful description of the earth as a mother of everything; it is the definition of a well written poem, and should be considered as “the best poem in the world.” Through the word choice of the poem, its main idea is love of nature, of earth, and the beauty of living on such an incredible planet. The poem leads the reader into imagination; an open field with beautiful meadows, forests, oceans, and mountains. From beginning to end, the poem uses the title to refer to the importance of the earth as a mother, “Mother Earth.” The poem begins with a sad tone, but turns positive in the second stanza, where it culminates isn’t the praise of the Creator and the glory that has been created for humans on earth. The poem brings into light how the earth is like a mother who keeps everyone secure, treating everyone equally; It has given birth to great people, singers, poets, and artists, as it is the “Mother of all the high-strung poets and singers departed.” Therefore, it “weaves over their graves the glory of the field.” The poet allows the reader to think, giving us metaphorical language such as, “Dust are the blood-red hearts that beat in time to these measures,” this also brings into light the dark or gloomy side of the poem, giving the reader a different perspective. Unlike many other poems, the poet is constantly going from negative to positive, allowing for deeper thought into the true meaning of the poem and the message it wants to send. Not only does the poet allow for a different perspective and deeper thought, but by using a simile in the third stanza, “Long hadst thou lain like a queen transformed by some old enchantment” he was able to clarify the meaning of the poem.

This poem is written in lyrical form, including three stanzas, each consisting of eight lines. In this poem although there is not a pattern in each line for rhyming, it is interesting to see that in each stanza only the final two lines rhyme, giving the reader question mark to why this is and how to connect it with the journey behind the story. For each stanza the rhyme scheme is ABCDEFGG; an example of this is seen in the final two lines of the poem where the poet states, “Thou thyself, earth-mother, in mountain and meadow and ocean / Holdest the poem of God, eternal thought and emotion.” In each line of the poem, the poem uses words to describe a story, “Dust are the blood-red hearts that beat in time to these measures, / Thou hast taken them back to thyself, secretly, irresistibly.” The diction used is able to provide the reader with a chance to reflect on the use of images, similes, and personification. Assonance also appears throughout this poem, such as the “i” sound in “will, singing.” The poet also included alliteration in several lines such as the letter “s” or “f”, “Smiling, sadly, sweet,” “Frightened, face.” In addition to assonance, and alliteration, the poet also included repetition in many lines; this was used to intensify and show the role of the earth and the finality of death, “Drawing the crimson currents of life down, down, down.”

The poet used many different literary devices, an adverse choice of words, and a topic in which a reader can relate to. This is the best poem in the world because it takes the reader into a different universe, on a journey into imagination. The poet was able to link the literary devices with the meaning of the poem, bringing a different type of poetry to the table. Although the poem may not include all the literary devices, or be as long as other poems, it brings into light the true meaning of what the best poem in the world looks like. 

09 March 2021
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