The poem Otherwise is short, simple and eloquent. The author, Cilla McQueen, describes two lovers that are located on “opposite” sides of the world. McQueen uses the title to emphasize the conflicts. The speaker’s emotions are expressed through two main themes; love and distance. Imagery and diction maximize the emotions associated with these themes. Additionally, she uses many literary devices throughout the poem for effect.
From the onset, the title Otherwise is vital to the poem foreshadowing conflict, contrast and turmoil. The word sets the scene for two different sides of love. In this case, love is not presented as joyful and precarious but rather as agonizing and painful due to distance. It is the title
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The author utilizes simple structure coupled with a rich, descriptive vocabulary to compare the speaker’s life at present to a metaphorical life with her lover in the future. She parallels her life to “water spirals”. The water spirals represent the circular pattern of the speaker’s life. This monotone pattern is due to the longing for her lover. The spiral revolves around a central point; for the speaker this central point is her lover living on another hemisphere. The reader imagines the speaker’s daily activities to be repetitive, dull and without purpose as she awaits her lover’s arrival. This metaphor symbolizes the complexity of both love and nature; both elements are beautiful in all their intricacies. On the contrary, the second stanza presents the desired, hoped for, dream images, “we would walk together quietly right to the very end”. This passage incorporates the “would” aspect to illustrate that this is a metaphysical situation conjuring up a happy and hopeful image of the two lovers walking along the beach until “the end”, death. These powerful images and choice of words underline the differences between the state of reality and the state of dream effectively expressing how painful it is to be apart and the bliss of being together forever. The scenes are vivid and clear making the reader feel empathy for the speaker.
There are a variety of literary devices that