Derek Walcott

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What is the impact of the rhyme scheme in Derek Walcott's "Lampfall"?

The impact of the rhyme scheme in Derek Walcott's "Lampfall" is variable, as there is no set rhyme scheme. There are, however, several end rhymes that draw attention to particular points in the poem. For example, the rhyme of "voice" and "rejoice" at the end of the first stanza helps shift the poem from the events of reality to those of imagination or dreams.

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"Lampfall" is, like so many of Derek Walcott's poems, about the fluidity of memories and daydreams. There is not much rhyme in the poem, and likewise there is no regular syllabic meter, meaning that the tone of the poem is prosaic and digressive, and suggestive of a stream-of-consciousness, spontaneous monologue—or, indeed, a daydream.

There is, however, some rhyme in the poem. At the end of the first stanza, for example, lines 8 and 10 rhyme with the words "voice" and "rejoice," respectively. This rhyme at the end of the first stanza suggests closure and signals the shift in focus between the first and second stanzas, from the speaker's observations and reflections in the present to the beginning of the speaker's introspective, figurative daydream.

A second rhyme can be found towards the end of the fifth stanza, with the word "bread" at the end of the sixth line of the stanza rhyming with the word "dread" at the end of the seventh. At this point in the poem, the tone takes a darker, more ominous turn, and the speaker, hereafter, begins to speak of fear, "loss," and "drowning." The rhyming couplet of "bread" and "dread" helps to place emphasis on the word "dread" and thus helps to signal the tonal shift at this point of the poem. The emphasis on the word "dread" is also aided by the blunt, heavy d sound at the end of the word.

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