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Use of Sound and Other Fun Stuff in “Five Nights of Bleeding”

I enjoyed this poem a lot and I’d mostly attribute my admiration of it due to its use of sound and imagery though the white space, diction and repetition were quite intriguing too. I mean, just look at sentence phrasing here, “it was a night named friday”: I have no idea how this adds to the poem at all but you have to love that he’d didn’t go with the simple and mundane ‘friday night’. Anyway (had to get my fangirl moment of that out of the way), back to the main point of this post.

“bitterness erupts like a hot blast”

There’s a great use of consonance (ho’t’ blas’t’) and assonance (bitt’er’ness ‘er’upts) here; what’s better is that it draws attention to the lovely simile used. It succeeds in giving an abstract noun a physical image and one that suits the mood of the poem with its spontaneous violence.

“it was a soun shaking doun your spinal column”

This line is eye-catching because of its rhyme of soun and doun. It’s interesting because, while in the vernacular of English used in the poem soun and doun are an example of perfect rhyme, in English as we know it this would’ve been slant rhyme because soun would be followed by the sound of ‘d’ at the end of the word. Also, the auditory imagery of this “bad music” resonating violently down your very back is so strong, it makes you want to shiver.

“the rhythm jus bubbling an back-firing / raging an rising, then suddenly the music cut”

Alright, (cracks knuckles) let’s break this down –

Alliteration: ‘b’u’bb’ling an ‘b’ack-firing / ‘r’aging an ‘r’ising

Consonance: ‘th’e rhy’th’m

Sound Repetition: bubbling ‘an’ back-firing / raging ‘an’ rising; bubbl’ing’ an back-fir’ing’ / rag’ing’ an ris’ing’

And yet the most powerful part of these two lines is when “suddenly the music cut”. Here’s why, these two lines are using medium-specific content or self-conscious medium, that is to say, that the rhythm of the music being talked about in the poem is mimicking the actual rhythm (in terms of metre, syllabes and rhyme) in the poem. There’s a rise and fall in the way the poem is recited here, the voice almost following a since curve as it rising and falls – much like the rhythm is said to rage and back fire (simultaneously, using the diction that makes us subconsciously think of a gun I might add). Yet, when we reach the end of the line, the soft sounds of “rhythm” and “jus” (without the ‘t’, this is important) and “rising” and “raging” (with a soft g, again important) that create a euphony disappear and the harsh repetition of ‘c’ makes itself known, creating cacophony. The when “suddenly the music cut” has much less use of complex sound and repetition, save of the consonance of ‘c’, compared to the rest of the two lines. The rhythm of the poem also imitates the tension, casually rise and falling till “suddenly the music cut” and then there’s a steep rise in tension as the readers wonder ‘why, why did it cut? what is about to happen?’

That’s all I have to say here on the awesomeness of this poem because it’s not my essay week, so have a great weekend!


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