Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

Formal Description of "There Are Gains for All Our Losses"

The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with five lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abccb, with the second and fifth line having a slant rhyme (example: line 2 ends with pain; line 5 ends with again). In addition to the rhyme scheme underlining the last syllable of the last line, the meter also highlights this last syllable by stressing it. The poem is in trochaic tetrameter with a few things to note. The first line of each stanza has eight syllables, all of which conform to trochaic tetrameter. The last syllable of the first line in every stanza is unstressed, leading the reader to jump to the next line for the next stressed syllable. However, the rest of the lines of each stanza have seven syllables, forcing these lines to be classified as catalectic verse, which means that there is an incomplete foot. The trochaic pattern is continued in the catalexis, putting emphasis on the last syllable of the last four lines of each stanza. This emphasis forces the slant rhyme between lines 2 and 5, placing stress on the last syllable in “again,” forcing the last syllable to be read like gain. Interestingly, by forcing the word again to sound like gain, the poet infuses the first line of the poem into the last line of each stanza, creating continuity. The author uses alliteration throughout the poem to keep the poem moving at a quick pace (example: line 8 repeats the s-sound & line 9 repeats the f-sound). Despite discussing the sad subject of aging, the poem’s rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration keep the poem moving along at a steady, quick pace. Throughout the poem, Stoddard uses different versions of a refrain as the last line of each stanza: “And it never comes again.” This encloses each stanza and gives a sense of finality to the end of the poem.