‘I wish I could remember’ is a poem about someone looking back on a meeting that took place between the figure and someone else. They cant remember because they didn’t think it was important at the time so they didn’t think of remembering it. The poem shows they cant remember what the weather was, ‘summer or winter’ showing that they didn’t even pay particular attention to something as large as that, neither could they remember weather it was “bright or dim” this contrasts highlight her total lack of any memory to work on, compounding her sense of desperation.
Repetition of the word ‘first’ shows the author is very precise and leaves the reader in no doubt she wants to know the very earliest meeting, it is a lexical set of time, also ‘day’ ‘hour’ and ‘moment’ shows a lexical set of time and with the purpose of Christina Rossetti is being very explicit. Rossetti has also used punctuation that emphasises the determination to remember, she uses comers after the words day and first. Alliteration in addition emphasises determination, moment, meeting and me all start with the letter ‘m’.
‘Rossetti suggests it wasn’t worth remembering at the time using the word, “unrecorded” out of the quote “so unrecorded did it slip away”, “slip away” shows it went away slowly, using a verb it suggests a gentle gradual process, “that would not blossom yet for many a may” blossom being the metaphor that suggests slow growth of her love, however the simile ‘as traceless as a thaw of bygone snow’ shows there is no memory of the meeting, it melted away like snow, leaving no sign it was ever there. She blames herself for not realising its importance the words she uses to describe herself “blind and dull” shows this, she is being self critical.
Christina Rossetti uses a lexical set of sight using both, see and foresee in the quote “so blind was I to see and to foresee” she also uses a lexical set of nature showing the slow development of the growth which, as the quote implies, came naturally. In the sestet it show the reader why she wants to remember, the reason being they were the best days. It starts with “if only” detecting a desperate tone. Rossetti uses and exclamation mark in the sentence: “a day of days!” which emphasises its importance. The punctuation, a comma and a semi colon shows extra emphasise. Mean, meant and much shows she didn’t realise the significance. There is an echo of the first line, a circular movement. If she knew what she knows no she would have remembered it when it happened, this gets revealed in the very last line, “did one but know”.
There are many differences between the two poems, one of which is the structure cousin Kate is a lyric Ballard, which is a poem of about 40-50 lines, which express thoughts and feelings of the poet, or imagined speaker. Tones of lyric ballads often change, but are personal and reflective dealing with powerful emotions such as love, anger and betrayal. ‘I wish I could remember’ is a patriarchal sonnet, which is a very structured regimented poem, which consists of fourteen lines with a set rhyme scheme written in iambic pentameter, lines of ten syllables, which is very difficult to write.
The petarchan sonnet; octave- is to present the following ideas, the sestet- completes the idea or to comment upon it. Rossetti’s view on the two poems show positive thoughts for “I wish I could remember” by suggesting it was the superlative days in effect of her wanting to remember, however she has vast pessimistic views on cousin Kate showing antagonism and discontent. One wants to retain information and one wants to overlook. On another point of view they are both dismal people as on is saddened as they want to forget and has something there that is going to remind them of it, “Cousin Kate” and the other “I wish I could remember” is upset while they cant memorize the thing they want to recall.
They are equally from a female perspective, which is strange as the author, Christina Rossetti is a female and they usually write from a male point of view. My personal view on ‘Cousin Kate’ is that it is a heartbreaking account and shows immense sentiment furthermore with ‘I wish I could remember’ I didn’t really enjoy this poem it was very tedious and it wasn’t very ‘to the point’ of who what they forgot.