To Awaken an Old Lady

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Eric Peuterbaugh English 19 September 2012 William Carlos Williams William’s “To Waken An Old Lady” In this poem the speaker is attempting to portray the life of a woman. More specifically, the poem is speaking of the later years and eventual death of an old lady. The title of this poem is a metaphor for the afterlife of an old lady. Her death leads to her awakening. The speaker uses, “a flight of small cheeping birds,” as a metaphor for old age (2-3). The death of the old lady comes “by a dark wind-”(9). Though the dark wind is the metaphor that brings the old lady to her death, the actual death does not occur until “the flock has rested” (12). The speaker ends the poem with “a shrill piping of plenty” which can be thought of as the woman’s loved ones in mourning (17-18). In the final line, the speaker uses alliteration with “piping of plenty” (18). This poem follows no particular rhythm, and has no rhyme scheme. In lines two and three, the main theme of the poem is introduced by a metaphor. “A flight of small cheeping birds” describes line one, which is, “old age.” The next three lines are also a metaphor for what old age is like. “Skimming bare trees above a snow glaze” emphasizes the dreariness and solemnest of the end of the woman’s life (4-6). Lines seven and eight lead the reader to the inevitable. The old lady gains, only to fail. Line nine implies an illness, or her body’s failing. She is near death, which is characterized by the dark wind. The poem’s only break comes on line ten. “But what?” This line is the question that leads to the old lady’s demise. It is the simple, yet astounding thought that makes the poem so dramatic. The reader is lead to the conclusion of the life of an old lady. Line twelve is the absolution of the woman. “The flock has rested,” and the old lady is now dead (12). The next three lines are a summary of

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