17 pages 34 minutes read

Derek Walcott

Midsummer XXVII

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1984

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Literary Devices

Form and Meter

Walcott writes “Midsummer XXVII” in free verse, a form of poetry that does not use regular rhyme and rhythm but rather mimics typical speech. Free verse is a popular form of poetry that became increasingly popular in the 20th century and beyond because it makes poetry more accessible to readers. From the first lines of the poem, the free verse of “Midsummer” establishes a direct and clear connection between the speaker and the reader. He describes to them the landscape he observes, and lets them into his thoughts about what he sees. The poem is filled with enjambment, which occurs when a phrase or sentence continues from one line into the next without end punctuation, adding to the effect that the reader is being let into the speaker’s thoughts as they occur.

Metaphor and Personification

Walcott makes metaphors—comparisons between two unlike things for dramatic effect—using several animals on the island. He writes, “an early pelican coasts, with its engine off” (Lines 5-6). This comparison is not literally true, of course. The pelican is a pelican, but like a machine, the speaker’s changing perceptions make him relate the animal to a plane engine that calls to mind war.