What is an example of a poem that effectively uses technical and literary elements such as alliteration, imagery, symbolism, rhyme, and meter?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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For imagery, symbolism, alliteration and rhyme, one might consider Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."  The imagery of a horse and rider watching the snow fall in the woods on a winter night is done in a way that appeals to the sense of both sight ("to watch his woods fill up with snow") and sound ("He gives his harness bells a shake. . . the only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake").  As the poem progresses, references to the darkness and a frozen lake suggest a slightly ominous, or at least more serious direction for the reader.  Alliteration is present in phrases such as "sound's the sweep" and "dark and deep".  The rhyme scheme for all stanzas except the last keeps a certain rhythm, as all the lines rhyme except for the third one, and the last stanza features a rhyming of all four lines, with a repetition of one line twice, suggesting its importance. 

In terms of symbolism, it is often suggested that the poem is not just a pleasant rumination on the beauty of a winter's evening snow, but a metaphor for death, the woods being "lovely, dark and deep" and tempting for the rider to vanish within; however, he will not because he has "promises to keep" before he can leave the world of earthly cares behind.  The last lines of the poem were adapted lovingly by Justin Trudeau, son of a former prime minister of Canada, to eulogize his father at his 2000 funeral:  "He has kept his promises and earned his sleep".  


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