Henry Vaughn's The Waterfall
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Growing Old in Henry Vaughn’s “The Waterfall”
Henry Vaughn’s “The Waterfall” is a very insightful poem that carries a deep message. The speaker uses Vaughn’s words to show the reader how the waterfall is a metaphor for a person’s life, containing many highs and lows.
The tone of this poem is relaxed. While reading the poem I feel at ease, as if I am somewhere in the woods by a stream with a waterfall. This seems to be the intended effect, as Vaughn wishes to create a comfort level for the reader. I feel as though this helps the reader to consider the poem as a whole, making it easier to see how the early stages develop the later stages of the poem.
The poem is separated into two sections by an empty line. The first section contains twelve lines, all of which contain iambic feet. However the number of feet varies in a specific pattern. The first two lines of the poem are in pentameter, followed by two lines in dimeter, two more lines in pentameter, four lines in dimeter, and finally two lines in pentameter. This pattern gives a visual affect to the reader. Because of the varied length of each line, the poem appears to be in the shape of a river with rapids, as it approaches the drop of a waterfall.
The second section of the poem is written in iambic foot, with the number of feet varying somewhat. This section of the poem visually falls strait down the page, as a waterfall would look falling off of a cliff. As the poem continues the waterfall turns into a stream, flowing calmly, and steadily. The steady meter that Vaughn uses strengthens this effect.
The entire poem in itself is an apostrophe, as the speaker is speaking to and asking questions of the waterfall, which obviously cannot answer. In addition one can interpret this poem as an ambiguity, in which the waterfall is an extended metaphor for the life of a person. The first section of the poem can be interpreted to represent one’s childhood and adolescent...
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