Derek Walcott

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What might be the impact of the rhyme scheme in Derek Walcott's poem "The Walk"?

The rhyme scheme in Derek Walcott's poem "The Walk" reflects the speaker's creative struggle. Most of the rhymes in the poem are half-rhymes or are scattered across different stanzas, suggesting that the speaker is grasping for a sense of rhythm or inspiration. The true rhyme near the end of the poem suggests that the speaker has arrived at a sense of acceptance.

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Derek Walcott's poem "The Walk" is about a writer's search for inspiration. Throughout the poem, the writer is frustrated that he cannot escape the comfort and familiarity of what he is used to and, therefore, cannot rekindle his creative inspiration.

There is not much rhyme in the poem, which perhaps reflects the writer's aforementioned inability to find creative inspiration. Indeed, the absence of any rhythmic fluency in the poem seems to reflect the writer's inability to find any creative fluency or rhythm.

The first instance of a conventional rhyme occurs in the sixth and penultimate stanza, in which the second and fourth lines conclude with the words "clenched" and "drenched" respectively. At this point in the poem, the writer acknowledges that "the pain is real" and that the comforts and familiarity of home might constitute his "life's end." In other words, at this point in the poem there is a sense that the writer has arrived at a moment of acceptance and closure. He seems to have accepted that the creative inspiration has, as it were, dried up, and with this sense of acceptance or closure, the writer is perhaps able to find some new sort of fluency or rhythm.

Before this point in the poem, there are some half-rhymes, such as "tapers" and "wires" in the first stanza, and "sky" and "laundry" in the third stanza. These half-rhymes suggest a writer who is grasping for fluency and rhythm but never quite achieving it. There are also some rhymes and half-rhymes which straddle different stanzas, such as "wires" and "tires" in the first and second stanzas respectively, and "gates" and "gets" in the fourth and fifth stanzas respectively. These scattered rhymes emphasize the impression of a writer grasping for, but never quite achieving, the elusive rhythm of creative inspiration.

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