Structure of The Poem Night Watch

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The poem Night Watch by Miller Oberman, just like any other poem has a physical structure that helps to identify it as a poem. For example, it has stanzas, lines and a specific message to be conveyed to the readers.


The poem is arranged into seven stanzas each with six lines. These kinds of stanzas are referred to as a sestet due to the six lines they have. The stanzas have divided the poem in a manner that does not harm its balance but beatifies it. They allow the poet, Miller, to shift his mood and bring up different subject matters in the poem. For example, in stanza two, Miller tells us what was happening in to the person being spoken about in the poem by changing from one mood to another. The rhyme scheme of the poem is not flexible, that is it is irregular. For example, in stanza three the rhyme scheme is “ABBBBCD” and stanza four the rhyme scheme is “DEFGDB”.

Miller has a good choice of words. He uses the words “the sky charred to a gray coal” to refer to the state of the sky. This was to mean that the sky was getting dark or night was falling. He refers to the horse to be “remembering water” to mean that the horse was thirsty and needed some water. Miller uses imagery as word choice to express his message. He says that “family trees of words” to mean that there are a lot of words to describe supernatural things. Miller used simile as a mode of choosing words. For example, he says “pages fine and crisp as onion skin” to give a picture of how the pages of the old book felt like.

One of the themes in the poem is loneliness. Miller describes how desolate the land, in which the person being referred to was travelling on, was. He says that “They saw nothing else alive. Not a crow. Not mouse or earthworm”. To mean that the area was lonely without any living thing. Another theme is naming. The person ridding on the horse named his horse as “Supernatural”. This name is symbolic in that it symbolized the horse to be a rare species with an unusual strength and brings joy and calmness to life (Jefferys, 2017). This is seen by how calm the horse was despite the fact that it had fallen down. Therefore, naming of beings is important because it portrays character.

The poem Night watch talks of a man who was ridding on a horse and was getting away from something or was running towards something, going through a lot of struggle while on the run. His mode of transport, that is his horse, holds him for a long time while travelling and when the horse grows tired, it collapses and they fall down (Oberman, 2017). This makes the man think of the horse as a special being and its name also suggests its character, horse to mean run and supernatural to mean special and rare. To me the poem is all about appreciating what we have and giving credit where it is due because what we have can be of great help in terms of need and that the name of a thing or person describes their character.


It is important to give names appropriately to people or pets around us because it influences their character and that everything we have has importance.


  1. Jefferys, A. (2017, March 10). What does it mean to describe the theme of a poem? Retrieved from http://penandpad.comOberman, M. (2017). The unstill ones: Poems (pp. ix-x). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  2. Poetry structure and its usage in poems. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aresearchguide.com

Cite this paper

Structure of The Poem Night Watch. (2020, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/structure-of-the-poem-night-watch/



What is the structure of a poem examples?
The structure of a poem refers to how the poem is organized and the way its elements are arranged. Examples of poetic structures include sonnets, haikus, free verse, and ballads.
What is the theme of the poem the night?
The theme of the poem is that night is a time for reflection and peace. The poet describes the beauty of the night sky and the feeling of calm it brings.
What makes a poem a poem?
A poem is a piece of writing that is usually short, has rhythm and rhyme, and expresses emotions.
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