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Metered criticism

Poem: Out, Out–
Poet: Robert Frost
Link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/238122


A quiet metrical armada haunts
Frost’s haunting poem, fleet lurches in time
That ripple o’er the smooth surface of sound,
Faint echoes of a meaning else disclosed.
Hark: as the saw stretches to greet its mark,
A double iamb lights on the boy’s hand,
Or seems to light – perhaps it welled up from
The hand itself, and could not but roost there.
This violent pause, this vicious, snarling halt,
How it rattles the ear, startles the tongue!
And listen for the shift in breath: the lope
Of lines that hold each pause apart gives way
To labored heaves. The poor boy puffs in puffs.
His heart stutters in stutters. Cruel author;
Unfeeling God! You torture the child so.
Listen, too, for the muted rhyme that skulks
About the close, the hint of beauty lurking
In the midst of death and disregard.
And mid this lack of care, the final lurch,
Or rather, regularity: for the last
Of wretched wrenches is no wrench at all.
The others, as they turn to their affairs,
Must leave the dead to death. See: there he lies,
A bed of iambs houses the unstressed dead.