In the 3rd and 4th stanzas of the poem "Postcard from Kashmir" by Agha Shahid Ali, why does the poet break the line into more than one?Postcard from Kashmir Agha Shahid Ali Kashmir shrinks into...

In the 3rd and 4th stanzas of the poem "Postcard from Kashmir" by Agha Shahid Ali, why does the poet break the line into more than one?

Postcard from Kashmir

Agha Shahid Ali

Kashmir shrinks into my mailbox,
my home a neat four by six inches.

I always loved neatness. Now I hold
the half-inch Himalayas in my hand.

This is home. And this the closest
I'll ever be to home. When I return,
the colors won't be so brilliant,
the Jhelum's waters so clean,
so ultramarine. My love
so overexposed.

And my memory will be a little
out of focus, it in
a giant negative, black
and white, still undeveloped.

In the 3rd and 4th stanza of the above poem, the poet breaks the line into more than one. What might be the reason?

Is it to

1. make a visual shape of his mental image

2. force the reader to read some of the specific phrases.

3 convenient for reading

or something else .

Asked on by mubin2712

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lprono's profile pic

lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The breaking of the lines into more than one is called in the technical terms of literary criticism either "enjambement" (a French word used in English) or "run-on line". An enjambement splits the sytanctic unit so that the last syllable of the line does not correspond with the grammatical break. The line and thus its meaning overflow into the next one. The effect on the reader is to communicate the emotional flowing of the speaker's thoughts and to convey his nostalgia for a place where he will not return in the near future. Although the speaker would like to return to his Kashmir home, he can only see it reproduced on a postcard. He is just as torn apart from it as words are torn apart from each other in the poem. The syncopated rhythm of the last two stanzas makes the thoughts of the poet appear "out of focus" and in that quick succession typical of highly emotional state of minds.

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