The poetic depiction of the time that’s passed away establishes an idea of aging, and being lonely in the world of lost years. The author of the given piece of writing is Constantine P. Cavafy who manages to create a unique composition that expresses emotions and experiences of an old man. For this to be achieved, he uses a wealth of linguistic means, which are being described in the paper.
The text type of the presented poem is narrative. It illustrates the slice of the character’s life. The poem is told from the author’s point of view in indirect speech that helps the reader to participate in the thoughts and feelings of the main character. The author focuses on emotive aspect of the character’s life, which appeals to the audience. Thus, the general character of sentences has to be taken into consideration. Sentences are short with attributes and co-ordinate clauses joined with conjunction “and” which shows the connection between the ideas of the poem: “…he feels it, he sees it. And yet the time…” The study of syntax and vocabulary suggests that the author did not use dialect.
Parallelism, Epithets, Metaphors in the Poem
Parallelism appears in the text. A repetition of the same syntactical structure “he ponders now” and “how short a time” emphasizes an emotion of sadness. It also makes the poem more rhythmical.
Among lexical means we find epithets, which express the attitude towards the described concept of time, and losing it, for example: old, miserable. There is a repetition of the word “time” in the poem and it indicates the past, but implicitly. To make the point clear, the author arranges the notion of time according to terms “yesterday” that stands for the past and “tomorrow” that represents the future: “Tomorrow. There is ample time”. The chief character of the poem suffers over his past and the events, which “seems like yesterday”.
The usage of a trope creates a vivid image. A prolonged metaphor “Every lost chance now mocks his senseless wisdom” is a powerful means of conveying emotions to the reader. It helps to perceive grief and pain of the character. We can also find contradictory words in the metaphor. The oxymoron “senseless wisdom” conveys regrets and the frustration of the main character.
The author aims at evoking a sense of being a witness of a particular situation that is described in the poem. It is a complete story, in which the begging has its logical ending. The image of a man “bent over the cafe table” is carefully depicted by means of an antithesis. The contrast is achieved by the remarkable use of vocabulary. The café is said to be noisy in the first line of the text, and then the old man falls asleep, which means that the noise is gone and the hero is left with his thoughts in silence of his memories and the agony of the soul. The choice of appropriate words determines this effect of the poem.
The character is completely absorbed in his past. We can conclude this from the words of the poem, which define the three dimensions of the perception of his reality: “He knows…he feels… he sees it”. Words define the gradation of the idea in different ways from all possible angles.
The writer’ purpose is to reproduce his ideas and emotions, to make the audience feel and understand. Language plays a great role in the arrangement of the information and influences the reader. Constantine P. Cavafy uses various syntactical expressive means in the work under the analysis: short sentences, parallel structures, conjunctions; lexical expressive means: emotive vocabulary, attributes, metaphors. That is why the poem leaves a deep impression on the audience.