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Word Count: 1,485
Prayer of Steel Carl Sandburg 1878-1967 Lay me on an anvil O God Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar Let me pry loose old walls Let me lift and loosen old foundations Lay me on an anvil Oh God Beat me and hammer me into a steel spike Drive me into the girders that hold a skyscraper together Take red-hot rivets and fasten me into the central girders Let me be the great nail holding a skyscraper together through blue nights into white stars A formalist reading of the poem Prayer of Steel is a short poem composed of 9 lines the ninth being the longest The cohesive devices in the poem will be analyzed on three levels lexical grammatical and phonological The analysis will be made first of the individual stanzas then of the overall structure of the whole poem Leechs concept of cohesion will be referred to where necessary General observations The title Prayers of Steel is an example of foregrounding steel is a kind of metal thus it is inanimate and cannot perform the action of saying prayers an action performed only by a human being Obviously the poet has deviated from the generally observed rulles of the language and it is significant that these are prayers of steel not of rubber The inference is that whatever the speaker wishes to accomplish will require a great deal of strength and determination From the title foregrounding then extends into the poem so that we have cohesion of foregrounding in which the foregrounded features identified in isolation are related to one another and to the poem as a whole as can be observed below Cohesion in the individual stanzas Stanza 1 Lexical cohesion First we observe that among all the images used in the first stanza there is semantic association whereby worsd of related meanings are grouped together Steel- in the title- is
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