“And when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grass-hopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets. (12th Chapter of Ecclesiastics)"
Here are pictures, symbols, images, phrases haunted with the accumulated connotations of man’s centuries of experience with life and death. Many passages of English prose from the writing of Ruskin and Carlyle glow with poetic fire. Synge’s prose play Riders to the Sea is called a poetic drama because its language has the pulsations of verse, the symbolic significance, and contrapuntal depth of poetry: “They are altogether this time, and the end is come. May the Almighty God have mercy on Bartley’s soul, and on Michael’s soul, and on the souls of Sheamus and Patch, and Stephen and Shawn, and May He have mercy on my soul, Nora and on the soul of every one is left living in the world.” Cadences are often counterpointed in a parallel structure:
The most tangible characteristic of poetry is rhythm secured by regularity of metrical pattern. Much prose has every element of poetry except the regularity of metrical pattern. But all poetry including verse libre has some pattern of recurrent rhythm. Read More: How to analyze a poem: Technicality & Ethics A poet uses words in such a way as to suggest more than what they mean. A prose writer aims at making statements, at giving information and conveying ideas and facts. In poetry, language is used to move and thrill, and arouse deeper awareness of things. Over the gates of Hell, Dante says, are these words:
The significance of these words stir the imagination of generations. Milton’s words are simpler, but invested with greater poetic intensity and with tragic note: “Hope never comes that comes to all.”
Many prose -writers use words which arouse our feelings and our imagination by their evocative power. As for example James Joyce writes “But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires”. (Araby). It has the image pattern of poetry but not its rhyme pattern. H. E. Bates in his Ox gives this pregnant sentence: ‘Money is money, death is death, the living are the living. The living were the future”. The words are simple, but the combination and the arrangement and the structure produce a poetic resonance and depth of meaning. Again, Joseph Conrad’s beautiful suggestive sentence has the richness and evocative power of poetry: “In the merciless sunshine the whisper of unconscious life grew louder, speaking in an incomprehensible voice round the dumb darkness of that human sorrow.” (The Lagoon)
Prose has different styles — plain prose, rhetorical prose, subjective prose, prose with psychological notations, and poetic prose. Eighteenth century prose writers like Addison and Steele practiced simple, precise plain prose. Dr. Johnson’s prose is elegant but sometimes bombastic and circumlocutory. Burke writes rhetorical prose: “If reconciliation fails, force remains, if force fails, nothing remains”. (Antithetical style). Bacon is a master of rhetorical prose: ‘some books are to be chewed, some to be swallowed, and some to be disgusted’; Prose is sometimes metaphorical as in ‘they are the current coin and counters of verbal intercourse, and to refuse them, and to deal only in freshly-minted coin is possible only to a few autocrats.’ (The Times Literary Supplement) Read More: How to analyze a poem: Technicality & Ethics
There is difference between good prose and bad prose just as there is difference between good poetry and bad poetry. In good poetry, substance, manner, rhyme and metre are fused into significant form. Bad poetry is that poetry which has rhyme jingles and technical brilliance but which is empty of meaning. Bad prose is clumsy, intricate and involved, while good prose is precise, elegant and free from ponderousness. Prose style is adapted to the matter that the writer deals with. As in good poetry, matter and style should be adjusted to each other. Milton writes in a grand style to achieve the grandeur of his subject-matter which deals with heaven, earth and hell. Similarly, Addison and Steele speak about ordinary manners and morals of men and society, and his style is easy and precise. D. H. Lawrence in his story A Peasant and the Cock (The Man who died) writes in an easy, colloquial prose. Victorians like Carlyle and Ruskin often write in a cumbrous metaphorical style. Conscious heaviness makes the style artificial. Good prose style is characterized by the lack of affectation and deliberateness in the cultivation of style. Style would come naturally and will be dictated by the subject-matter. Read More: How to analyze a poem: Technicality & Ethics
2. Angelou, M. (1993). Life doesn’t frighten me. New York: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang.
(Original work published 1978)
3. Aylesworth, J. (1998). Old black fly (S. Gammell, Illus). New York: Holt.
4.Terry, A. (1974). Children’s poetry preferences. Champaign, IL: National Council of
Teacher of English.