What special features does "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred Lord Tennyson have?

neneta | Student

Crossing the Bar means navigating a difficult spot. However, as soon as we start to become familiar with the word choice, we find the title of the poem a metaphor for life’s journey. In order to understand the poem, I shall try to analyse its figurative language:

Tennyson uses many nautical terms such as bar, sea, foam, pilot, bell and flood. Nevertheless, the same terms can also refer to death. An example of this is the “boundless deep” whose meaning is ambiguous because it can refer to death, sleep or the sea.

Next, we should account for the diction or choice of words to be able to identify the passage’s tone. As I said before, Tennyson has used many nautical terms with double meaning. Furthermore, we can also pay attention to the visual imagery as it shows in:

“But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

To full for sound and foam”

As the speaker placidly intends to cross the bar of life, we may say that the tone of the poem is anticipation.

Conclusively, the poem brings about the life voyage we all must take and hoping that we all will find acceptance on crossing the bar of life.

Finally, consider the structure of the poem as being a sixteen line poem divided into four four- line stanzas in regular iambic trimeter with one line of iambic pentameter.The stanzas follow the rhyme scheme abab.