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Literature in English

This poem is said to have been written in 1889. The poet, Tennyson, wrote it after a serious illness at sea. No wonder the poem treats death as a main issue. The poem reflects the mind of the poet who is about embarking on a voyage of no return. He is about crossing the bar, the bar that separate  life from death. ‘Crossing the Bar’ has been used metaphorically to represent leaving the word for the great beyond, which in fact must become the lot of all the living.

THEMES

The following themes are found in the poem;

  • The inevitability of death.
  • Life after death.

 

POETIC DDEVICES

  • Metaphor: The journey between life and death is compared to crossing the sand bar.
  • Imagery: There are images of ‘the moving tide’; the sunset and the evening star’; twilight and evening bell’. Importantly, the image is created of a man (the poet) crossing from one end of a river to the other (i.e crossing over the bar that separates life from death).
  • Alliteration: There is repetition of some consonant sounds in some lines. E.g.

Sunset and the evening star, (line 1)

…..clear call                               (line 2)

…..May…Moaning                    (line 3)

…..Flood…Far                            (line 14)

…..Face to Face                        (line 15).

 

Assignment

Discuss the poet’s attitude to death in ‘Crossing the Bar’.

Discuss the theme of hope in the poem.

 

See also

THE AVIL

THE PANIC OF GROWING OLDER BY LENRIE PETER

THE DINNING TABLE BY GBANABAM HALLOWELL

Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara

AMBUSH

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