Derek Walcott

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What is the poetic structure and rhyme scheme in the poem "Veranda"?

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In terms of its structure, the poem can be divided into three sections. The first section of the poem describes the time when the West Indies was a colony of the British Empire. The speaker describes this time as "a fading world," characterized by "apparitions" and "smoke" and "ashes." Figures from this "fading world" still seem to cling to the present, and those figures include "planters" and "colonels" and "bully-boy roarers of the Empire Club." In the second section of the poem, the speaker identifies among the apparitions the ghost of his grandfather, who committed suicide "by fire." Thus in the second section of the poem the general history of the West Indies fuses with the speaker's personal history, and his connection with that history thus becomes more direct. In the third section of the poem, the speaker imagines a time in the future when he shall leave the world of the living and join the apparitions in the "vaporous world" of the dead. In this way the speaker will reconcile life with death, and the present with the past.

As regards the poem's rhyme scheme, although there is no formal, consistent rhyme scheme, there are, throughout the poem, occasional rhymes. For example, in the third stanza there is the rhyming couplet of "greenheart" and "art," and in the fifth stanza the first and third lines rhyme with "furled" and "world" respectively. These occasional rhymes perhaps echo the links, described in the poem, between life and death. These links are tentative and unfixed, and the rhyme scheme might be described in similar terms.

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