Anaphora, Anaphora

I was on a hike with three grandchildren when I asked them to stop.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “you’ll have to speak up louder. I can’t hear you.”

“Why not?” asked Luke.

“I’ve only one hearing aid in my ear. The other one’s faulty and has gone back to the factory.”

“What difference does one hearing aid make?” asked Dara, suspiciously.

I teased them: “It means I can only hear every second word.”

There was a pause. Sian chipped in.

“Granddad Granddad – where where – are are – we we – hiking hiking – to to??”

She’ll go far.

I love anaphora, the concept of word repetition, in a poem. When you get the rhythm right, it has the powerful effect of pulling the audience with you. The following examples will probably be familiar to all my readers which shows anaphora’s potency. In Shakespeare’s “Richard II” for example, John of Gaunt’s monologue hits the spot

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Maya Angelou used “you may” to great effect in her poem “Still I Rise” where she says that nothing can get her down:

 You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Another of my favourite poets, Robert Frost, used repetition in “Fire and Ice” discussing the end of the world:

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

I love a trigger which sends me searching favourite poems. Triggers, for some reason, happen a lot with grandchildren. They, hilariously, spent the rest of the hike giving me grief with their repetitions. In a café for lunch, I noticed people around me whispering, probably wondering what was wrong with the old guy.

First published in Swindon Link

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