Linda Pastan is an American poet of Jewish background. She was born in New York on May 27, 1932. Today, she lives in Potomac, Maryland with her husband Ira Pastan, an accomplished physician and researcher. She is known for writing short poems that address topics like family life, domesticity, motherhood, the female experience, aging, death, loss and the fear of loss, as well as the fragility of life and relationships. Love poem is a very simple poem yet it has a deep dimension if you read analytically.
In fact she didn’t get straight to the point that she was primarily addressing which is the “love poem”.
Pastan goes on to describe the form of the poem rather than going on to talk about the love itself that she wanted to write about. At the first reading, you think that she is describing the creek; however, she is in a way describing their relationship and their love. In line 6 and 7 “its dangerous banks” refer to the stream of life that is taking everything on its way, yet they are standing on the bank of that stream holding and grabbing each other keeping the two of them close and not letting anyone of them go.
She says that in spite of standing considerably far from all these events in life that might draw them apart from each other, yet they must hold tight to each other in order not to be drifted into the strong stream of life and forget about their love. “As our creek after thaw” is a simile, she is comparing the defrosting creek to their lives. She is saying that problems, turbulences and doubts cause the life between lovers to freeze. “ carry with it … very scruple” extended metaphor where she compares the problems and arguments to twigs, dry leaves, and branches.
“Swollen” is a simile she compares the over-stressed relation to something physically engorged. “get our shoes soaked” is a metaphor comparing getting absorbed into the disputes and arguments, to being soaked with water. To A Daughter Leaving Home This is a fairly simple poem about a mother whose daughter was learning how to first ride a bike. It tells of the mother’s fright as the bicycle gains speed and hurries away from her. She is worrisome of her daughter possibly falling and hurting herself. Though, when relating the title to the poem, one can easily see that it is all a metaphor for when a daughter finally packs up and leaves home.
The speed of the bike corresponds to the speed of which children seem to flee from the home and how far away they can seem. The mother’s worry reflects the anxiety of what might happen to the newly departed daughter. Will she be okay? Does she have enough money for food? Will a young boy break her precious heart? But in the poem the daughter does not fall. In life, the child generally does not meet the worst of his or her parent’s fears. Some hard times come and will always come, but they will always come out alright in the end. The goodbye at the end makes us think of acceptance.
The mother accepts that her daughter can continue on her own. “Thud” is the symbol of the daughter’s dependence on her mother, but she doesn’t need it anymore. The tone in “handkerchief waving goodbye” is a very sad one, leaving the mother behind. There is a simile in “like a handkerchief… ” she compares the daughter’s hair to a handkerchief of somebody waving goodbye. The whole poem is allegorical, the poetess is not just telling the story of the daughter riding the bicycle for the first time; she is in fact giving the reader a simplified image of what a mother feels about the independence of her daughter.
She is also emphasizing the refusal of the mother to let go of her child at least at the beginning of the daughter’s call for independence. Lady of shallot * The first four stanzas describe a pastoral setting. The Lady of Shalott lives in an island castle in a river which flows to Camelot, but little is known about her by the local farmers. And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers, ” ‘Tis the fairy The Lady of Shalott. ” * Stanzas five through eight describe the lady’s life.
She has been cursed, and so must constantly weave a magic web without looking directly out at the world. Instead, she looks into a mirror which reflects the busy road and the people of Camelot which pass by her island. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott. * Stanzas nine through twelve describe “bold Sir Lancelot” as he rides past, and is seen by the lady. All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn’d like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot.
* The remaining seven stanzas describe the effect of seeing Lancelot on the lady; she stops weaving and looks out her window toward Camelot, bringing about the curse. Out flew the web and floated wide- The mirror crack’d from side to side; “The curse is come upon me,” cried The Lady of Shalott. * She leaves her tower, finds a boat upon which she writes her name, and floats down the river to Camelot. She dies before arriving at the palace, and among the knights and ladies who see her is Lancelot. “Who is this? And what is here? ” And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear, All the Knights at Camelot; But Lancelot mused a little space He said, “She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott. ” Form The poem is divided into four numbered parts with discrete. The first two parts contain four stanzas each, while the last two parts contain five. Each of the four parts ends at the moment when description yields to directly quoted speech: this speech first takes the form of the reaper’s whispering identification, then of the Lady’s half-sick lament, then of the Lady’s declaration of her doom, and finally, of Lancelot’s blessing.
Each stanza contains nine lines with the rhyme scheme AAAABCCCB. The “B” always stands for “Camelot” in the fifth line and for “Shalott” in the ninth. The “A” and “C” lines are always in tetrameter, while the “B” lines are in trimeter. In addition, the sentence structure is line-bound: most phrases do not extend past the length of a single line. Commentary Much of the poem’s charm comes from its sense of mystery and ambiguity; of course, these aspects also complicate the task of analysis.
That said, most scholars understand “The Lady of Shalott” to be about the conflict between art and life. The Lady, who weaves her magic web and sings her song in a remote tower, can be seen to represent the thoughtful artist isolated from the movement and activity of daily life. The moment she sets her art aside to gaze down on the real world, a curse befalls her and she meets her tragic death. The poem thus captures the conflict between an artist’s desire for social involvement and his/her doubts about whether such a commitment is viable for someone dedicated to art.
The poem may also express a more personal dilemma for Tennyson as a specific artist: while he felt an obligation to seek subject matter outside the world of his own mind and his own immediate experiences—to comment on politics, history, or a more general humanity—he also feared that this expansion into broader territories might destroy his poetry’s magic. Part I and Part IV of this poem deal with the Lady of Shalott as she appears to the outside world, whereas Part II and Part III describe the world from the Lady’s perspective.
In Part I, Tennyson portrays the Lady as secluded from the rest of the world by both water and the height of her tower. We are not told how she spends her time or what she thinks about; thus we, too, like everyone in the poem, are denied access to the interiority of her world. Interestingly, the only people who know that she exists are those whose occupations are most diametrically opposite her own: the reapers who toil in physical labor rather than by sitting and crafting works of beauty.
Part II describes the Lady’s experience of imprisonment from her own perspective. We learn that her alienation results from a mysterious curse: she is not allowed to look out on Camelot, so all her knowledge of the world must come from the reflections and shadows in her mirror. Tennyson notes that often she sees a funeral or a wedding, a disjunction that suggests the interchangeability, and hence the conflation, of love and death for the Lady: indeed, when she later falls in love with Lancelot, she will simultaneously bring upon her own death.
Whereas Part II makes reference to all the different types of people that the Lady sees through her mirror, including the knights who “come riding two and two” (line 61), Part III focuses on one particular knight who captures the Lady’s attention: Sir Lancelot. This dazzling knight is the hero of the King Arthur stories, famous for his illicit affair with the beautiful Queen Guinevere. He is described in an array of colors: he is a “red-cross knight”; his shield “sparkled on the yellow field”; he wears a “silver bugle”; he passes through “blue unclouded weather” and the “purple night,” and he has “coal-black curls.
” He is also adorned in a “gemmy bridle” and other bejeweled garments, which sparkle in the light. Yet in spite of the rich visual details that Tennyson provides, it is the sound and not the sight of Lancelot that causes the Lady of Shalott to transgress her set boundaries: only when she hears him sing “Tirra lirra” does she leave her web and seal her doom. The intensification of the Lady’s experiences in this part of the poem is marked by the shift from the static, descriptive present tense of Parts I and II to the dynamic, active past of Parts III and IV.
In Part IV, all the lush color of the previous section gives way to “pale yellow” and “darkened” eyes, and the brilliance of the sunlight is replaced by a “low sky raining. ” The moment the Lady sets her art aside to look upon Lancelot, she is seized with death. The end of her artistic isolation thus leads to the end of creativity: “Out flew her web and floated wide” (line 114). She also loses her mirror, which had been her only access to the outside world: “The mirror cracked from side to side” (line 115).
Her turn to the outside world thus leaves her bereft both of her art object and of the instrument of her craft—and of her very life. Yet perhaps the greatest curse of all is that although she surrenders herself to the sight of Lancelot, she dies completely unappreciated by him. The poem ends with the tragic triviality of Lancelot’s response to her tremendous passion: all he has to say about her is that “she has a lovely face” (line 169). Having abandoned her artistry, the Lady of Shalott becomes herself an art object; no longer can she offer her creativity, but merely a “dead-pale” beauty (line 157). Prophyria’s lover.