In the poem “Ballad of Birmingham”, by Dudley Randall, many different things can be analyzed. The difference in the two translations; one being a literal translation, telling the true meaning of the poem, and the other being a thematic translation, which tells the author’s theme and symbolism used in his/her work. Another thing that all poets have in common is the usage of poetic devices; such as similes, metaphors, and personification.
Before translations and devices, readers should first acknowledge the structure of the poem. In structure there are 8 different topics: speaker, setting, occasion, tone, rhyme, meter, number of lines and stanzas, and language of the poem. In the “Ballad of Birmingham”, the speaker is a mother and her child, the setting is in their house probably in the same room, and the occasion is that the child is wanting to go somewhere and the mother is weary of it, choosing a more “safer” place for her to go. Next, there is the tone. The tone of this poem is the child wanting, and mother putting her foot down, and then in the end the tone changes to sadness. When discussing rhyme, rhyme is the repetition of words that sound the same and this poem does use the device of rhyme, such as: play today, and me-free. Next would be meter, which correctly numbers the poem as to which words are used with rhyme. This poem is metered like: ABCB, DEFE, GHIH, JKLK, MNON, PQRQ, STUT, AND VWXW. The language of this poem is modern English, and the last thing, number of lines and stanzas is 32 and 8. That would be that correct structure of this poem.
In all poems there are also the two most common translations. Literal translation is the easiest and most informative. ...
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...rds. Dudley Randall tells a wonderful story of a mother’s love for her child, a child’s need to be a part of a struggle for independence, the sacrifice of not wanting her child to march the streets out of fear, and allowing her to go to the church to sing in the children’s choir, and the sadness and strife the mother went through when she realized her daughter was gone.
Lastly, a poet will usually use some types of poetic devices to enhance the quality of the poem; such as similes and metaphors. Randall doesn’t use many of these things but he does use personification once in a while; for example when he said “she clawed through the bits of glass and brick”. He also uses hyperbole, which is an exaggeration, when he says “she bathed until she was rose petal sweet”. In sum, this poem is excellent in its storytelling and I would recommend this to anyone.
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