Friday, March 8, 2013

Analysis of "The Poplar" by Richard Aldington

Original poem reprinted online here: "The Poplar" by Richard Aldington
Originally read: December 26, 2012
More information about the Poet: Richard Aldington





Weirdly enough, after reading this again, the first thing that pops up in my head is the use of exact color.  "White" is mentioned four times in the poem referring to "stream" "wind" "lining" "mist" "road" and the image just stays as "description" well perhaps.


"between the white stream and the road"
"I know that the white wind loves you,"
"The white lining of your green petticoat"
"the white mist curling and hesitating / like a bashful lover around your knees."
"And go walking down the white road"

So I've been trying to figure out if there just description or if they add another element (that's not my interpretation to the color) to it.  And all I can think of is "white lining" is the time frame -- it's snowing and it's outlining the poplar's shape.

So, I think it's safe to assume (it's never safe to assume) that white is a positive force in the poem -- purity, kindness, good.  Then there's two mentions of rain.

"blue rain"
"grey rain"

"The sky darts through you like blue rain / and the grey rain drips on your flanks / and loves you"

The image and description is a bit surreal.

I write in my notes, "The shift to 'the physical (human)' I don't know if I find it a bit too much. Poplar = woman or what (how engrossed is he [the speaker] is with the woman though...)"  Well that doesn't fit with the color part so much.  But...[30 minutes of research goes by]


What if...what if the poem is an eckphrastic poem.  Something was a bit off with this poem in terms of construction and focus of color.  Also this line "I have watched you since I was ten" is a bit too specific.  Also, in the poem, the poplar doesn't age.  The poem is too focused as though he was looking at a painting.  (I have a weird sense of this).  Then I looked around the internets and found this:





Seascape by Gustave Courbet completed 1873.  Poplar against the waves.  What if the speaker views this poem, then projects the poplar as a woman; however, the two ideas co-mingle to the last stanza: "There are beautiful beeches / Down beyond the hill / Will you always stand there shivering?"  Then the poem has many  facets -- one, referring to the painting as still frame of time, and two, a reference to that particular woman -- will she always be enthralled with staying the same distant person (according to the speaker).

Probably I went off on a tangent too much, but I found a nice painting along the way.

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