How does the poem "The Universe" by May Swenson play on sound effects?
Swenson's poem plays upon sound effects in several ways. First and most simply, Swenson repeats words. This creates a pattern, especially when it is read out loud. Second, she uses words like "within" and "think" that share letter groups ("in"), but which do not rhyme. This creates a tension between sound and appearance on the page, much as there is a tension between appearance and reality in the universe. The repetition of the "what" and the "w" sound creates a rhythm—I hear it like a wave meeting the shore—that reassures even though it asks many questions and creates a questioning tone.