Poems: Poetry and Open Form Poem

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Cameron Utter
Mr. Clapp
English 102-350
April 13, 2011

Poetry has been around for thousands of years and has been written in many different forms. From the villanelle to the open form, to the ode and the elegy just to name a few types, “Starlight Scope Myopia” by Yusef Komunyakaa is an open form poem with no set way to write it and no rhyme scheme. On the contrary “Missing Dates” by William Empson is a villanelle, which has a very specific way of being written. These two poems are very different from each other, but do share some similarities, and also many differences. Yusef Komunyakaa's "Starlight Scope Myopia" takes us into the mind of a soldier using his starlight scope to observe the enemy: "One of them is laughing. You want to place a finger to his lips & say ‘shhhh’." (283). The soldier's "myopia" is that he sees a shared humanity, not the intent of war, of pulling the trigger to destroy the enemy. Myopia is just basically nearsightedness. Komunyakaa uses different sound devices and imagery to describe what the soldiers are seeing, feeling, and hearing. The imagery that he likes to use the most is simile. He uses it a lot throughout the poem, as when he says, “Smoke-colored Viet Cong move under our eyelids, lords over loneliness winding like coral vine through sandalwood & lotus, inside our lowered heads years after this scene ends.” (283). He also uses a lot of alliteration, as this quote proves, the words beginning with the letter “L” show up multiple times in this particular quote. Due to the fact that this is an open form poem he never uses consonance or assonance. He also likes to use sight as a mean of imagery. He uses this many times throughout the poem to describe what is happening and what the soldiers are seeing. The intent of this poem is to show the true meaning of what goes on behind enemy lines, and how the soldiers deal with what they are doing and seeing. The tone of this poem, some may believe it to be dark...
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