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Louis MacNeice's Meeting Point

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Introduction

Section A: Practical Criticism No reference to secondary criticism is required; this exercise is designed to test your close reading skills. Pay careful attention to the language of the following POEM and comment, as appropriate, on such technical features as form, syntax, rhythm, tone diction, imagery, voice, point of view and rhyme. How are these features implicated in interpretation? Louis MacNeice's Meeting Point is a lyric poem consisting of eight stanzas, with five lines in each. Its appearance on the page is structured and regular, however, counteracting the poem's idea of time being 'away and somewhere else.' Each stanza's first and last line are the same, almost reaffirming that individual stanza's idea, each one containing a refrain, carrying it's own little segment of the lover's journey. For example, in the first stanza the line 'Time was away and somewhere else', is this stanza's mantra and it is explored through the numbers in the stanza. 'Two glasses and two chairs' and 'two people with one pulse'. These lines convey the idea that for this couple, there is no numbers, time is not present. ...read more.

Middle

'Her fingers flicked away the ash/That bloomed again in Tropic Trees' takes a minor action in the first line and transforms it into something beautiful in the second, which is very fitting with the poems main theme of love above all. The poems rhythm is natural and of a medium pulse with the use of punctuation slowing the pace at times whilst enjambment is employed to create the opposite effect. For instance, in the second stanza the second and third lines are enjambed. This creates a flowing effect similar to that of the 'stream's music', whilst the caesura in the fourth stanza in the third line causes the reader to stop, dramatizing the idea that the desert belongs to the camels, and the couple, as they sit across from each other in the coffee shop, are shut out from the rest of the world. This idea is apparent in the first stanza as well with the utilisation of the brackets. These close off the idea metaphorically and physically that the moving stairs being stopped is immaterial in comparison to love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The seventh stanza pays homage to this as he or she praises 'God or whatever means the Good/That time can stop like this'. However, the poem does become more personal in the last stanza with the line 'Time was away and she was here', which was originally 'somewhere else' reminding us that it is the couple who share the love, the narrator can only look on in wonder after all. Metaphors and similes are employed heavily and develop the vivid imagery in the poem. There is something smooth and engaging in the line 'the radio waltz/Came out like water from a rock.' in the fifth stanza. This simile again transports us to a sensuous world these lovers share. The metaphor in the first stanza of 'the two people with the one pulse' intensifies the couple's unity, they are as one. Overall, the tone of the poem is romantic and warm throughout, with the idea that time does indeed stand still for lovers, crafted beautifully. MacNeice uses all the techniques I have mentioned above in his writer's craft to implicate the understanding of the poem I have discussed. ...read more.

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