Warning Poem Commentary

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Jenny Joseph's "Warning" is a humorous poem written about aging in a way that is unconventional by society's standards. Wanting to break the general rules of growing old, the speaker fantasizes about her future as an old woman, and the trouble-free, rule-breaking days she will live out when she grows older. This poem encourages people to enjoy life in the present, and not wait to live a fanciful life. With no rhyme scheme or noticeable structure, this poem appears to be strictly humorous and at first glance, but underneath the surface, it forces the audience to question the expectations of the elderly that society upholds, and apply the general meaning of the poem to themselves on a more personal level. Written in free verse, this poem has twenty-two lines, with four stanzas. The first stanza is the longest, bearing eleven verses, the second and third are quatrains, and the last stanza is a tercet carrying just three verses. With no apparent structure, the poet creates rhythm using repetition. There are many anaphoras, beginning in the first verse with 'I shall', which is used throughout the poem and the majority of the lines begin the same, with 'And' being used the most frequently. Parallelism is used first when the speaker states she will wear a red hat that 'doesn't go and doesn't suit me' (line 2), establishing a melodic tone to the poem. 'Satin sandals' (line 4) is the only real use of sibilance in the poem. The lack of structure in the poem appears purposeful. The speaker does not wish to follow the rules of aging or follow a similar path to other women like her, so the poem is written in the same way. It does not rhyme or try to be especially clever like other poems. Instead, it follows the structure it wants to. Being relatively straightforward, this poem does not contain meaningful enjambement or many literary devices in general. This creates a very

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