What is unique about the word choices in the poem "Golf Links" by Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn that strikes us as compelling and unusual?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The first thing we notice about this poem is that it is very short.

When poets choose to make poems short, one reason they may do it because they are trying to make a point.  Notice that in the poem the children are working in the mill, and the men are playing.  In just a few simple words, the poet makes a sharp statement about child labor and how the men who are playing golf are exploiting the children.

You can consider the double meaning of the word “lie” in the first line.

The golf links lie so near the mill (line 1)

The poet did not need to include the word so, but she did to stress how close the men are to the children.  Notice also the choice of the word “laboring” in line 3.

The laboring children can look out (line 3)

By describing the children as laboring, she juxtaposes the working children with the leisure of the men.  She also manipulates the word “play,” because children usually play, not men.

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