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Their Lonely Betters

Their Lonely Bettersis a short lyricpoem with four stanzas written by W.H Auden. During the start, thespeaker is sitting in his garden as he reflects on the issue ofspeech, and the sense of passingthe time ashuman capacities that are unique. Reflecting on the poem, a briefsynopsis, as well as an explanation of the use of figurative speechis to be explored in detail.

In the first stanza, thespeaker reflects on the way birds and vegetables sing and rustlerespectively giving a clear picture to the reader that they do nothave language as a gift (Auden,W. H). As the poemcontinues, Auden contrasts the abilities of communication with thoseof humans mentioning that none of them could have a rhyme, rhythm, orassume responsibility for time. In other terms, the poem seems to bea reflection, especially when Auden uses the word “I.”The human state is not preferable even in the title of the poem.He says we are “lonely” for the very same reasons that we are“better” (Auden, W.H). Moreover,it suggests that comparisons could be made between the two statesjust like the “rustling flowers” need to wait for some “thirdparty to get malted”, so do humans have an ironic agency taken offtheir hands by the language, and so they need to “count days andwait for certain letters” (Auden,W. H).Inthe same manner,during the emotional extremes, we also make noises while weeping orlaughing. The poem employs the traditional form of rhyming and doesnot lose the beauty and ease of poetry. It is a show of mastery ofpoetry by W H Auden.

Majestically and calmly, Audensweeps through the four verses that endon a poignant and neat final line that attracts the readers’interests of finishing the whole piece (Auden,W. H). Mentioningthe mating of birds and the simplicity that exists without thedeceitful masking of the language creates a bit of bitterness in thepoem. Thisis also a figureof speech. It reflects his personal life because he had a difficultlove-life, and thus, integrates the way language confuses the worldaround us leading to misunderstandings and conflict (Auden,W. H). Forever, we areimagining, longing and questioning other places and people humansare never content. It is a matter that is on both sides ablessing or a curse.The third stanza mentions Auden’s idea about the capability ofknowledge of what is about to happen. He says that none of the birdsknows that it is dying, or it is capable of lying like humans do(Auden, W. H).There is no absoluteawareness of lies or mortality. To capture the responsibility of timeand the need to keep the memories, Auden uses symbolism andforeshadowing (Auden,W. H). He says thatbirds cannot maintainthe rhythm or rhymes as humans do. All these things happen becausehumansare aware of death, lies, and other things. Another figurative speechis the assumption of responsibility for time (Auden,W. H). Auden usespoetry to represent time. In this regard, one cantell that humans play God by use of poetry. In thefinal stanza, he says “let them leave language to their lonelybetters” (Auden, W.H). It adds up thewhole poem.

Auden means that the birdswill maintain their innocence of happiness and the “lonely betters”(Auden, W. H),who are us the humans, will continue being lonelywith our liesand language. These are the sources of beauty and delight that makeus superior to other animals that are unable to speak. However,he also insists that these factors complicate our lives.Through language, we lie and betray one another, promises get broken,and misunderstandings ensue. The reason is that we use language toexpress what we do not feel as humans. The two last lines involveexpressingweeps and laughter when words or speech fail us. Therefore, Audenmeans that we weepwhen we have no words to explain our hurt and we laugh when no wordsexplaindelight and happiness. These feelings relief some weight in ourchests. He says that “words are for those who promise to keep”(Auden, W. H).Inthe end, Auden reminds us that language is necessary forcommunication, promising, bargaining, and negotiation, among otherthings that animals do not do. This statement reaffirms the need tomaintain ahealthycoexistence with one another (Auden,W. H). Additionally, heuses a rhyme scheme that is constantly maintained with an AABBformat. The rhyme also makes the words unique. It is not seen in theentire poem because the second stanza is an exception with the words“knew” and “through” failing to rhyme. Thus, the lines createanother form of emphasis in the poem’s meaning by personifying therobin with the words “ran through”(Auden, W. H). In realsense, we know that the robin is not human. In depicting the emotionsof the poem, Auden uses imagery. He says he was sitting on a “beachchair” depicting the loneliness he had. Moreover, he is in a gardenand yet the beach chair is used around shores. This cements thelonely nature of the poet. He also uses “vegetables and birds”,symbolizing animals and plants in distinguishing their nature withthat of humans. During the last stanza, there is a comma in thewords “We, too,”impacting on the line’s sound (Auden,W. H). The poet sighs,may be meaning that we are the same as the other animals in makingnoises. Also, the sonar poetry device is used and at the same time,Auden writes about the effects of sound on humans and the otheranimals (Auden, W. H).He says we both use sound when weeping and crying. All these aspectsare figurative in the poem.

In conclusion, the poem TheirLonely Betters is apiece that depicts various aspects of life. First, it involves areflection of the poet. Auden had a complicated life founded on liesand deceit,and he was communicating the pains of language to the reader. He usesvarious figures of speech like foreshadowing, rhymes,and rhythm, among others. The poem involves humans, who are languagespeakers and other non-speaking organisms like birds and vegetables.As much as Auden displays the harm of language,he also concedes that it is necessary for humanity.

Work Cited

Auden,W. H.&nbspSelectedPoetry Of W.H. Auden:TheirLonely Betters.1st ed., New York, Vintage Books, 1971,