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Q) Analyse the following poem.

Your response must include detailed discussion of how

meanings are shaped in the poem.

‘Walking in Moonlight’ as the title connotes romance, perhaps making it a love poem. It is
written in the first person and the poem is acknowledges another presence, besides the
speaker, evident through the use of “our”, thus suggesting the poem is a one-sided
conversation between her and her partner.

The poem’s informal and casual style is clear as “dirty old town”, the dong, is referenced.
This reference can be read as humorous when the title creates expectations of romance.
The poem has a nostalgic and reminiscent tone of voice which is presented through time
imagery, evident with “skimmed forward”, “old age”, “leapt so many chasms” and
“everlasting”. These words create the sense of time travel, the speaker is journeying
through her memories from the past and the future, perhaps communicating the message
that love is timeless and present in every day. This is also supported with the poem being in
free verse as it jumps in time, portrayed through the uses of “unbelievable old age” as aging
is familiar to all but never promised, and with the use of “magical sameness”, “magical” in
the sense that it’s a universal experience to “find nothing as unexpected as the loves”.

The caesuras used in the first stanza: “the streets of home. “ and “to looking back again. “
could present a halt in time which then gives the first stanza a slower rhythm, a pause for
reflection perhaps, in contrast to the second stanza which has no caesuras. “And here it is,
just as I thought, or nothing like it” proposes an enigma to readers as it’s not clear what “it”
is, thus adding to the ambiguity of the poem’s meanings.

Contrastingly, the speed of the second stanza is faster, determined by the word “leapt” as it
yields an image of moving or jumping quickly. The sibilance in “stony, slushly, grassy-
smooth, crazily steep” also applies speed. The shift in pace almost embodies an enthusiasm
as the speaker communicates her heroic crusade through time, only to confirm the
importance of the “loves along the way”. The use of “clawed back” and “struggled along”
create that heroic imagery as readers can depict the speaker journeying through hardships
in different places, fascinated by her findings.

The repetition of “this” adds to the speaker’s enthusiasm and fascination. Perhaps she is
now older, recalling that “walk with moonlight” once again but as she does this, it’s as if
she’s experiencing that walk for the first time, emphasised by “this magical sameness, this
surprise”. “predictable” and “sameness” are juxtaposed with “magical” and “surprise” which
adds to the familiar ambiguity of the meaning of this poem. Perhaps the speaker’s message
is to live in the moment, so that when you reminisce, you get to re-live those moments.

In conclusion, Ruth Bidgood shapes the meaning of time, familiarity and ambiguity through
her uses of sibilance, caesuras, juxtapositions and free verse.