Entirely by Louis Macneice, a Commentary

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Entirely” is a poem by Louis MacNeice, It discusses the idea of the imperfections of life. It contains three stanzas, eight lines each. Every stanza ends with the word entirely. the rhyme scheme of the poem is consistent (a,b,c,b,d,a,d). the overall poem has the theme of the struggle of life, but each stanza is like a branch of that one big theme.

There are a lot of imagery in the poem, so there are more than one meaning; the literal meaning, an the meaning that lies beneath the words of imagery. The literal meaning of the first stanza is that you cannot get anything perfectly, even an overheard phrase. While the second stanza literally means this: if happiness was found in somebody else’s arms, the spears of the plants in spring that go through our flesh each year should not be feared, neither should the fire alarms and sirens that banish the clear, innocent love. And the literal meaning of the third stanza is this: if the world was only black or white, and if we have a prism of delight and pain instead of troubled water, then we might be more certain of where we wanted to go, and which path to choose, because in reality, there is no perfect path. On the other hand, the whole poem talks about the struggle of life, so figuratively, the first stanza would mean the frustration you feel at the lack of perfection, and how life is limited. The second stanza is about how we should not be afraid of what awaits us in the future, and we must accept it because it is inevitable. The third stanza is about how people are uncertain of which road to choose, and how it is difficult to choose, but at the end, no matter what path you choose, you will never reach perfection and you must accept that.

The poem is a lyric poem, meaning that it has a regular rhyme scheme and meter. As I already mentioned before, the poem consists of three stanzas, eight lines each, which means that they are octave stanzas. The first line of each stanza ends with the word “entirely”, and so does...
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