Analysis of the Poem Crossing the Bar

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Sailing Off to Death
Kirston Barrett

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea, 4

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home. 8

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark; 12

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar. 14

Death is not a matter that should be taken lightly. Yet in “Crossing the Bar” Alfred Lord Tennyson uses rudimentary ideas to portray death. On the surface, it does not seem as though “Crossing the Bar” is about death. It appears to be a jolly story about a sailor waiting for high tide so he can safely cross the sandbar and leave the harbor. After further examination, the true meaning of the poem becomes apparent and can be somewhat upsetting. Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” captures an old man’s acceptance of death through Tennyson’s edgy writing style, strong poetic devices, and clear understanding of death. “Crossing the Bar” is about an old man’s firsthand account about realizing death is near. In the first stanza, the old man accepts that he is going to die and hopes for a peaceful passing. The old man’s calm tone cracks slightly when he speaks about how death always seemed so far away yet...
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