The Ending

Big Question: While Poem 1’s concern is fear of the lack of time in the future, Poem 2’s concern deals with a regret of past experiences.

Keats Longfellow

One actual sentence = one death, pleasing to the eye (almost perfect box)

Two sentences – past/ future

1 semicolon – midway/ turning point/ present

Not as symmetrical, less pleasing


personification, repetition, tone shift

Imagery, repetition, tone

English sonnet rhyme scheme



Although each section has a pair for Structure, literary device and sound device, I think the best way to organize this essay is before and after the poem’s shift, because that is where their similarities and differences are most prominent.

Thesis: Both poems demonstrate a loss of time but Poem one emphasizes seizing life to initiate a hopeful future while Poem two dwells on the past experiences, causing a fearful future.

  • Body Paragraph: The first chunk of the poems present their similarities because both speaker’s share a dreary tone and pessimistic outlook on life.

– In the first poem there is repetition of the word “never” which affirms the speaker is dwelling more on what he won’t get to do once he dies instead of focusing on what he is still able to do. He talks about the things he will not have the chance of doing as opposed to seeing the value in all the things he can still do.

– Again, in poem two, negative words are repeatedly used such as “not” and “nor” to indicate the speaker is absorbed by the regret and the things not accomplished than the time he still has left.

– Both poems share a dreary tone of self-pity throughout their first chunk which emphasizes their similarities at the beginning. They both focus on what they should have done instead of what they could do.

  • Body Paragraph: The second chunk of the poems highlights their differences as the first poem ends with a hopeful future and the second poem concludes with a fear of the future.

– The structure in poem one is not only much more pleasing to the eyes, with a very symmetrical shape that is box-like with lines in similar lengths, but it also contains only one period and actual sentence. Since the speaker has one life, one chance before he dies, and one death, he has decided to life to the fullest, just as there is only one period.

– The structure in poem two is much more jagged and less symmetrical; the line lengths are uneven and seem to have no defined structure. There also contain two periods: at the beginning and at the end. These are much shorter sentences and indicate his life is much choppier and unorganized just as the sentences are much more abrupt. The only semicolon is in the middle (the half-way point) which represents the present and how he is contemplating his past and has the ability to alter his future but when he doesn’t, the second sentence is just as abrupt and the first.

– The rhyme schemes also help determine where the shift is and in the first poem, after the shift the repetition of the word “when” changes to “then”; instead deciding “when” he will have time, “then” he makes time and begins to see the value in the things he can still do. The tone switches to an appreciated tone. However, the shift in the second poem just switches from regretful to dismal.



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