Derek Walcott

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What is the poetic structure and rhyme scheme of "The Almond Trees"?

The poetic structure of "The Almond Trees" is free verse. The rhyme scheme is informal and makes use of end rhyme, slant rhyme, and internal rhyme.

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The poem "The Almond Trees" by Derek Walcott, does not use a formal structure or rhyme scheme. Despite this, the poem has slant rhymes and assonance that achieve the emphasis and meaning found in more traditional rhyme schemes.

This poem is written in free verse. This means that the lines of the poem do not follow a specific meter and that the lines closely resemble speech. The enjambment—also known as the placement of a line break in a sequence of words—is used to emphasize certain words and make the reader pause. These line breaks interrupt the flow of reading so that the poem cannot be read like an ordinary piece of prose; the reader is forced to take their time at points of the poet's choosing.

This poem does not use a formal end rhyme scheme, but we can still see some rhymes. An example of this is:

"By noon,

this further shore of Africa is strewn

with the forked limbs of girls toasting their flesh." (lines 15–17)

The rhyme between noon and strewn creates stress on these words that otherwise would not be there, as the poem does not use metrical feet. The reader is made acutely aware of the deliberate word choice. Because the poet is not bound by a rigid rhyme scheme, using line-end rhymes like this creates extra emphasis and encourages the reader to linger on these words.

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