'Otherwise' by Cilla McQueen - Poetry commentary

Essay by gogeramaHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2006

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Love can be a great emotion full of joy though it is not the case in 'Otherwise', Cilla McQueen seems to cut into one of the rather disheartening issues, a long distant relationship. The free verse structured poem written in first person tells the story of two lovers living on 'opposite' sides of the world. The title indicates that otherwise expresses contrast between what is reality and what is hoped for. McQueen divided her poem to reflect this contrast, and uses it to symbolize an essential difference between these lovers.

The Poem consisting of two stanzas begins with examples of how hopeless the speakers love is. McQueen Specifically in the first stanza illustrates the way things are and uses the line endings of the lines to emphasize the images which clearly clarify the division between the two people. The speaker also defines the distant loved one as the 'other' which indicates her or him, being the 'opposite' which is supported by the stars which 'assemble in unfamiliar patterns'.

The speaker furthermore continues explaining how different there cultures are since the speaker doesn't 'often watch traffic or television' and instead watches nature and how 'hour by hour the huge tide' comes in and leaves again. One can conclude that the speaker is trying to define himself and express how things are not equal between them. But at the same time the speaker is contradicting himself by still showing how in love he or she is. For example when she notices how the 'Tide absently fingers rocks and shells', which shows how the speaker is absent from the world noticing the smallest things trying to get his or her mind of the beloved one.

The dissection here of stanza one and two is most certainly deliberately put in by McQueen at this...