Outer composition

The poem “Listen Mr Oxford don” by John Agard is separated into eight stanzas of different lengths: stanza 1 has five verses, stanzas 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 have four verses, stanza 6 has seven verses, while stanza 8 has six verses, with the last verse being separated from the rest. The variation in length gives the poem a musical quality, which makes it sound like a typical Caribbean song.

Throughout the poem, the author combines several traditional rhyming patterns. As an example, consider stanza 3:  

I ent have no gun
I ent have no knife
but mugging de Queen’s English
is the story of my life (p. 69, ll. 12-15)

In this stanza, “knife” rhymes with “life”, which is an example of an alternate rhyme (ABCB).

However, the rhyme scheme in stanza 4 is AABB, as “axe” rhymes with “syntax” and “hammer” with “gramma...

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