Write a critical appreciation of "Anger Lay by Me" by Elizabeth Daryush.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The metrical rhythm in "Anger Lay By Me" is for the most part iambic (^ /) tetrameter (four feet), but Daryush does begins the first and second stanzas with an interesting variation to the meter. In stanza one, the first two feet are trochaic (/ ^),  "An' ger^ / lay'  by^ / me^ all' / night^ long'." In stanza two, one reading would scan it, "He^ stood' / by^ me' / all^ through' / the^ day'," in straight iambic tetrameter.

Of course scansion is a subject that engenders debate, but this analysis would be fairly well supported by (1) the standard syllabic accentuation of an' -ger; (2) the sentence pattern in English that puts sentence stress on the Verb, "lay," before stressing a preposition, "by"; (3) the emphatic quality of the adjective "all" in "all through"; (4) a tendency among poets to vary opening feet.

However, an alternate reading might scan the first three feet of the first line in stanza two as trochaic, "He' stood^ / by' me^ / all' through^ /." This scansion could be well supported by the argument that it builds structural equilibrium when the relationship preposition "by" is stressed to balance an emphatic adjective "all."  This would render stress on the Subject "He" more logical than stress on the Verb "stood." Daryush employs an alternating abab cdcd efef rhyme scheme in three quatrains.

The theme might be considered a bit ambiguous because the language of line three, "He^ told' / me^ of' / my^ burn' / -ing" wrong'," doesn't make it absolutely clear whether "my wrong" was done to the poetic speaker or by her. It is logical to think it is a wrong done by her to somebody because a seemingly vengeful Anger strikes the book and pen from her hand and dares her to "sing" (i.e., write poetry) if she has the heart to. Yet it is equally logical to think it is a wrong done to her because the last stanza reveals that she can't separate herself from Anger and that Anger will be her undoing, or "doom." I would venture to analyse it as she being angry at a wrong done to her that she can't forgive. Therefore Anger has overshadowed her inspiration and will thus be her "doom."

thulshi | Student

He stood by me all through the day,

Struck from my hand the book, the pen.

The narrator understands that she cannot ignore this angry voice:

And can I cast him from my couch?
And can I lock him from my room?
Ah no, his honest words are such
That he’s my true-lord, and my doom.

The poem is written in 3 stanzas of 4 lines each.  Each stanza has an abab rhyme scheme.  It is interesting to note that the poet rhymes "brow" with "go," and "couch" with "such."  I do not know if this reflects a certain peculiar pronunciation, or if it is the use of somewhat irregular rhyme.

The poem uses the device of personification; that is, the anger, which is inanimate, is spoken of as if it were a living person.