What form and poetic devices does Sir J.C. Squire use in "There Was an Indian"?

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As has already been stated, this poem is a sonnet; like all sonnets, it is made up of fourteen lines. It's divided into two sections, the first of which is eight lines and the second of which is six, maintaining a rhyme scheme of A-B-A-B-C-D-C-D-E-F-E-G-F-G.

However, when speaking about poetry, one needs to talk about meter (especially when discussing traditional poetry) because meter tends to be one of the most important elements that dictates a poem's construction. Traditional poetry tends to be very rhythmic, and it is shaped by very specific rules (free verse poetry is, in many ways, a reaction to these rules). Sonnets are frequently written in iambic pentameter, and this poem is no exception.

Traditional poetry is divided into feet (the combination of two or more metered syllables), the most common of which is the iamb. An iamb is the combination of two syllables: one unstressed and one stressed. Iambic pentameter therefore refers the meter of a line of poetry that contains five iambic feet, shaping a poem's rhythmic structure.

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"There Was an Indian" is written in sonnet form. Comprised of fourteen lines and an ABAB-CDCD-EFEGFG, the poem does not perfectly reflect the format for a petrarchan sonnet or a shakespearean sonnet; although it most closely resembles the shakespearean format. 

"There was an Indian" uses imagery to recreate the vision of Columbus' ships as first seen by Native American eyes:

For in the bay, where nothing was before,
Moved on the sea, by magic, huge canoes
With bellying cloths on poles, and not one oar,
And fluttering coloured signs and clambering crews. (5-8)

Squire's descriptive phrases portray the ships as the Indian perceived it, in his own terms, like "huge canoes."  The sails of the Columbus' ships are "bellying cloths on poles;" Squire's diction uniquely casts the moment from the perspective of the Indian.

In the third stanza, Squire combines anaphora and alliteration to emphasize the impact of the moment. 

His lips gone pale, knelt low behind a stone,
And stared, and saw, and did not understand,
Columbus's doom-burdened caravels
Slant to the shore, and all their seaman land. (13-16)

Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or phrases through mulitiple phrases, clauses, or verses. Squire uses "and stared, and saw, and did not understand" to define the Indian's utter confusion in the moment, broken down into fragments of disbelief.  Squire also heightens the tension of the moment through alliteration, using repeating 's' sounds: "stone," "stared," "saw," "slant," "shore," and "seaman." 

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