Explication for "Walk in the Park" by Michael Peterson

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Michael Peterson's free verse is a reflection of what he experiences as he walks in the park, a reflection he shares in the hope that others will share his enjoyment of the senses, set apart at the end of the poem as he addresses his readers: 

a joy for all
take a walk

  • The lack of punctuation, and the absence of capitalization in this poem, along with the use of the progressive form of verbs lends a swift movement to the lines, as though the author writes in a stream-of-consciousness, or perhaps in a joyous reverie as he walks. For, just as one footfall follows another, so, too, does one quick observation flow into the next.
  • Alliteration serves to move the third line quickly with the /s/: "seeing nature, seeing strangers," the /h/ with "couples walking hand and hand," and the /b/ with "birds, butterflies"
  • While there is no rhyme at the end of the poem's lines, there is internal rhyme in the lines with the use of last syllable rhymes (i.e. "playing," "chasing," "running," "rolling," "walking," etc.) This use of the present participle ending creates a rhythmn and balance.
  • There is a lilting musicality to the lines as several of the lines have paired observation of balanced phrases; for example: "birds, butterflies flowing endlessly/squirrels playing, chasing one another" and the short lines: peaceful, enjoyable" 
  • The poem abounds in visual imagery as line after line recreates the visions of the walker. Also, there is some audio imagery with "skaters rolling by" and "bikes whizzing by" [onomatopeia = the word whizzing]
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