"Thoughts After Ruskin" by Elma Mitchell, is the poem that will be looked at for this essay. The poem will be analysed and commented on, with the aim of showing the use of skills that have been acquired during the "Reading Poetry" module. .
In "Thoughts After Ruskin", one of the first things that stand out is the actual layout of the poem on the page. The poems structure consists of five sections, with a very distinct and longer seventeen line third section. This section is distinct, both in the layout on the page, as well as the actual grammatical style. It is enveloped at either end between two shorter, four to five line sections. The first section is the one that is most like a normal stanza, in that it begins by following a rhymed quatrain of abac, even though the syllable count is not consistent. "Roses" ends the first line; "soap" the second; and "noses", the third, however, this pattern is not continued and is disrupted with the addition of the word " places" which ends the forth line of the stanza. We go on to read a five lined unrhymed stanza, and from here, the reader can no longer expect to read a poem with a strictly structured rhyme scheme, but it is each of the shorter sections of the poem that are closest to having an iambic "da dum" rhythm. Subsequently, this diversion from the traditional reflects the whole content and tone of the poem, and leads the reader onto the third section. This section adopts a challenging layout on the page where line and syntax are re-arranged to evade and exploit our usual expectations. This technique proves effective, as it also reflects the unexpectedness of the allegories and descriptions that are to follow. We as readers are used to hearing women being compared to objects of beauty, but it is not very often that they remind us of " blood and soap" (line 2).
The movement of the words reflect the meaning and tone trying to be conveyed, and the divergence from a more formally structured poem, makes "Thoughts After Ruskin" interesting and powerful.