Analysis the poem "The Human Cry" by Irving Layton

Essay by jojozhao March 2006

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The overall tone of the poem "The Human Cry" by Irving Layton is euphemistic and implicit. Layton describes his feeling and emotions about the cycle of life in a special way by comparing two different attitudes facing the death. Throughout the poem he tries to tell us the true meaning of life and the emotion of human should be free because after going through life, everyone ends up in the original place.

Layton's thought is immediately evident in the title. Beyond the title, Layton creates a kind of sorrowful atmosphere that suggests this whole poem is about the cry of human. This poem is a free verse concrete poem and it does not have a formal form or any rhyming scheme. Layton is using this free verse form, because the whole poem tries to express his own feeling about life and death freely. The main striking feature of this poem in form is its indenting.

Every word after indenting is emphasized. There are two stanzas in the poem, which are very similar in the structure. Stanza 1 describes that when we are young, we always tend to hide our true feeling and emotions or in other words we try to romanticize our sadness in a more optimistic way. Stanza 2 is saying that when we start to get older and older, the true emotions start to run free and we start to realize that sometimes the best thing to do is to be true to yourself, without any disguises.

The diction in this poem is very precise. Layton tries to pick the most accurate words to express his feeling about the cycle of life. In stanza 1, he mentioned if a "friend", "bookseller", or "aunt" died, he would gather his tears into an "urn". In this sentence, "friend", "bookseller",