What is Lyrics in English Literature

What is Lyrics?

A lyric is a short poem in which a single narrator speaks to express his state of mind. The narrator in the lyric may be speaking alone and thinking about himself. In this process the reader can understand his feelings. For example, Emily Dickinson says “I Heard a fly Buzz” which explains to the reader the state of mind of the poet at the time of death. She further says:

“I heard a Fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.”

Here the narrator is communicating to the reader the atmosphere that surrounded him at the time of death. Another example of this kind is that of John Donne’s “Canonisation” where the narrator talks to another person, may be a lover and explains to the reader that their love can be canonized or immortalized. The narrator “I” can be anyone, the poet himself or herself or any imaginary narrator.

While “I” address the reader there may also be public addresses like in Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain”. It is a poem written on the death of Abraham Lincon and here “I” represents the public.

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