All of "The Wife's Lament," a heartfelt elegy for a lost loved one, is written with caesuras. These are wide breaks or pauses in the middle of a line. Along with alliteration, they add a sense of rhythm to Anglo-Saxon verse.
Although every one of the poem's lines features a caesura, this is often lost in translation. However, Ann Stanford's translation maintains the visual caesuras, such as in the line below:
First my lord went out // away from his people over the wave-tumult.
As we can see, the break between the two sides of the line (marked by the //) puts an emphasis on the last word before the break. In this line, the emphasis falls on "out" and "wave-tumult," leaving us with the image of the speaker's spouse going far out into the sea. The break caused by the caesura also helps us have time to absorb the first part of a line before moving on to the second part.
Kennings, which are compound words that convey meaning through juxtaposed images, will also vary by translation. In Stanford's translation, "wave-tumult" is the kenning for sea: it provides a vivid image of the churning, wild quality of the ocean's waters.
Another kenning Stanford uses is "summer-long" to convey a sense of the speaker's sorrow. We can remember how long—even endless—summer days can seem, and this would especially be so in the northern European countries where Anglo-Saxon poetry originated. By using summer-long, the speaker communicates how endless her suffering is.
Stanford also uses "care in the breast" or breast-care, a kenning that evokes the physical pain and burden of grieving.