Crossing the Bar Questions and Answers
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Why is it significant that "Crossing the Bar" is placed in Tennyson's last collection even though he wrote poems after it?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that Tennyson understood the overall significance of the poem to request that it be included in his last collection and that it is the poem to conclude all of his collections of poetry.  Tennyson recognized the theme of death and dying within it, but also is reflective of how Tennyson saw consciousness as a form of travel.  Similar to the concluding idea to "Ulysses," where the idea of "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" is evident, Tennyson understood that this particular poem is representative of the idea that consciousness and being is defined by the voyage and how there is not anything static in this process.  Movement and fluidity is a part of the human predicament, and that this is something brought out in the poem.  Tennyson understood that there is an element of both finality and progression in the poem.  It is something that is fitting at the close of different forms of being, and his desire to include it in his final collection and at the end of his collections represents this.  Tennyson's ideas about being in the world and being outside of this world are clear in this poem and in its inclusion as part of a close to his work, Tennyson recognizes and affirms this sentiment in his poem.

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