Chapter 14 Checklist
Who is speaking in the poem?
The poem is narrated by Sheppard himself
Is the narrator’s voice close to the poet’s or is the voice of a fictional or historical
As mentioned, it is from Sheppards point of view as the author. But it can be
looked at broadly saying that it refers to everybody’s life and not just his own
How does the speaker address the listener
? Sheppard directly addresses the listen-
er, he asks them to ask him mistakes he has made and other direct questions pointed
directly at the reader.
Does this poem directly reveal an emotion or attitude?
It reveals one of acceptance
and wisdom. The quote “Ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made,”
exemplifies those ideals.
Does it indirectly reveal any attitudes or emotions?
The poem is pretty straight for-
ward, although left for some interpretation, it seems evident the theme and voice of the
Does your reaction differ from the speaker?
Sheppard places little importance on the
emotions of love and hate, and I place every bit of importance on those emotions, but
then again he speaks broadly from a wider point of view determining that life goes on
despite my personal reactions.
What adjectives would best describe the poem’s tone?
Calm, accepting, wise
Chapter 15 Checklist
The significant words in the poem are ice, mistakes, life, thought, hurt, strongest,
liste, silent, current, stillness. There seems to be a highlighted word in every line, des-
pite the fact they aren’t full sentences. They appeal to me because of the structure of
the sentence around them. “I will listen to what you say” the natural beat of tone places
emphasis on this word, and through natural speaking beats he emphasizes the others.
These words help to provide emphasis on the metaphor and symbol of the poem,
being life and the river. They help to exemplify exactly how he feels without loosing the
simplicity of the poem.
There are a lot of harsh words, like current, mistake, hate that harshen the poem
and add voice. If such words were replaced with synonyms the voice would be re-
placed. The harshness of the word helps the reader to identify with the poet.
Sheppard uses an abstract diction, he doesn’t identify with any of the 5 senses
but rather speaks clearly about the happenings of life. Through that use of diction you