Essay: Night the Crystals Broke

Pages: 9 (2346 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The purpose of the poem is to underscore the many meanings of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. His very name implies the great legacy that King left.

XII. Legacy Part 2: The Ballad of Martin Luther King

Encased in verse, King, it would not be the first

Time that freedom rang from your song

Your light shed gold upon our planet

Delicate balance of truth, fiction, glory, cruelty

You were taken from us, but You did your duty

King, your legacy lives and lingers and lives long

You, the hero, your inspiration, your dream

Indelible impressions on immature souls

Now yours is encased in stone.

Commentary: This poem contains several poetic devices including alliteration (legacy lives, lingers…lives long) and also "indelible impressions on immature souls." There is also half or internal rhyme that is both internal and end rhyme. For example, "Encased in verse, King, it would not be the first" contains an internal half line with "verse" and "first." The vowel sound rhymes, but they are not truly rhyming words. The word "encased" is used twice, once in the first line of the poem and then again at the end. Encased suggests being wrapped or covered; King is symbolically wrapped by his legacy. His image has been carved into a large block of stone for posterity in the new monument in Washington, D.C. King's death also connotes a different types of casing: the casing of a casket. In fact, the imagery of being encased in stone suggests the stone used in cemetery mortuaries. The poem is about the death of King, and the legacy that he left behind.

XIII. Voices

From the television they spoke

Action to provoke

In her tormented mind

All thoughts did evoke

She was one of a kind

Only she'd never find

A way out

Of the traps in her mind

Sometimes they would shout

Scream, spew cursing about

Tell her she's the one

Of her mind, she's out.

They pumped her up with drugs

As if she were a common street thug

It felt like she was being mugged

To stop that pain that she lugged.

Commentary: "Voices" is a quatrain with a "chain rhyme" scheme. Its rhyming pattern is aaba, bbcb, ccdc, dddd. The effect of this pattern is actually similar to that of a sonnet, because the fourth and final verse is different from those prior. In a sonnet, the last two lines form a thematically and formally distinct rhyming couplet. "Voices" is a powerful quatrain, one about a young girl with some type of mental illness, most likely schizophrenia. The title refers to her hearing voices in her head. The voices come from the television and all around her; and she is "out" of her mind. Ironically, the only way to help her is to add torment and near torture to the already persistent inner pain she experiences on a daily basis. The final verse suggests that she was taken to a psychiatric ward. Because the reader does not know what happens to the girl, there is a sense of lingering dread.

XIV. Miss T

A ballad for Temperance, Queen of Restraint

She once writhed on the floor for any who adored her

Lying with any and all, be they male or female

Prior to her reign, Miss T, she drank herself into stupors

Again and again.

Then one day, Miss T, she heard the jokes, you see

She listened into ballads like these

Sung by her friends, the lasses and lads

All who she thought liked her, well, they liked her

In the way they liked the puppy in the room next door

Upon hearing of her soiled name, Miss T. became

Temperance, changing her name

Becoming the Queen of Restraint

But in name only, the shame.

This ballad is executed in the lyrical style of old or middle English ballads. There is no regular rhyming scheme, but occasionally end rhymes and internal rhymes are used to enhance to sonority of the verse. The humor embedded in the tone, theme, and style of the poem make it memorable and conducive to being read out loud.


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Kallich, M., Gray, J.C. & Rodney, R.M., 1973. A Book of the Sonnet. Ardent Media.

Lee, M., 2007. Poetry Criticism. Gale.

Leech, G.N., 1969. A linguistic guide to English Poetry

Lefevere, A., 1975. Translating poetry: seven strategies and a blueprint.

Marotti, A.F., 1982. "Love is not Love": Elizabethan sonnet sequences and the social order. ELH 49.

Preminger, A., Warnke, F.J. & Hardison, O.B., 1974. Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton University Press, 1974.

"Rhyme." Retrieved online:

Snell, A.L.F., 1918. Pause: a study of its nature and its rhythmical function in verse, especially blank verse. The Ann Arbor Press.

Vendler, H., 2006. A lament in three voices. In A Poetry Criticism Reader. Ed. J. Harp and Weissmiller.

Victor, W. 2010. Creative writing now. [Online]. Accessed: [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Night the Crystals Broke.  (2012, April 23).  Retrieved June 16, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Night the Crystals Broke."  23 April 2012.  Web.  16 June 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Night the Crystals Broke."  April 23, 2012.  Accessed June 16, 2019.