Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Analysis of "The Cherry Trees" by Edward Thomas

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Cherry Trees" by Edward Thomas
Originally read: August 25, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Edward Thomas


So this article analyzing this poem from the blog Move Him Into the Sun analyzes this poem not only on the technique level, but also in relation to World War One and England giving a historical context to the poem.

As always the big question is if this poem can stand on it's own without historic context and coax the reader to look deeper.  To me, yes and no.

I think the overpowering technique here is implication through images.  "The cherry trees bend over and are shedding." The poem starts out with pure description, yet this is set up that the speaker will refer to and imply with a deeper meaning.

"On the old road where all that passed are dead."  Yes, the line is a bit of a turn and a bit harsh; however, since the strongest technique is images the meaning behind them further develops due to rumination.

"Their petals, strewn the grass as for a wedding," the simile indicates the shift from a pure image perspective to something more implicit.  The poem then hinges on the word "wedding" in which can be a reference to an actual wedding; however, the rhyme scheme as is (ABAB) and the flow, I believe the wedding is the communion of two ideas -- the beauty of nature and the dead looked upon in beauty.

Does that mean this poem is a riff on the whole "company man" ideal.  No.  The poem doesn't go that far with to imply such.  The end line, "This early may morn when there is none to wed" puns on the word "morn" to bring out a quality of lamentation, but the key is "none to wed."

The difference between the actual and the scene.  The visual may be something that can be combined, but the emotional context is "not to wed."  Also this could refer to everyone being dead or missing so, literally, no one is around to be married.

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