Please identify the figures of speech in "Black Monday Lovesong," by A.S.J. Tessimond

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Tessimond's "Black Monday Lovesong," the first figure of speech is found on the first line. It is repetition, which is the repeated use of a word or phrase for emphasis, and in this case, the poet wants us to remember "love's dances." This introduces the "theme" of the poem, that the nature of love is like a dance.

In love's dances, in love's dances...

Repetition is also seen in the second through the fifth lines, as each sentence begins with "One," giving us the sense that the speaker is making a list, but we need to remember that the poem deals with "love's dances," and we should understand that each "description" is a kind of dance movement (metaphorically, but movement still…just like a dance), which the speaker has observed of love.

Lines seven/eight, nine/ten, and eleven/twelve all begin with the joining of the same two words beginning the lines with those repeated pairs, which are "One" and "While." This also is repetition.

In the next stanza, five of the six lines written begin with "And," which is, again, repetition, joining all these aspects of "troubled love;" and as the lines speed by, we might get the feeling of the couple, locked in a lover's embrace, spinning wildly out of control as they attempt to remain in step with one another.

There is a repetition of sounds, which we refer to as the poem's rhyme scheme, as we look to words at the end of the lines. Of the twenty-two lines of the poem, the first twenty are written as rhyming couplets, or pairs of lines that rhyme with each other. The rhyme scheme is charted as follows, with letters representing a sound. When the sound changes, so does the letter that represents the sounds. (They are separated into stanzas, longer than the traditional four lines.) The rhyme scheme is:


The last two lines sound the same, but that is because they are repeated, so repetition occurs again in these lines as well.

The entire poem is an extended metaphor, which compares love to a dance. What I like so much about the poem is that love is very much like a dance, and the "movement" indicated with the words mimics the movement of dancers: one moves forward as the other moves backward. However, in this case, the movement is caused by the emotions experienced in the "dance of love," and the last four lines (the poem's true stanza) reflects a "dance interrupted."


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