I Am in Need of Music Analysis

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Elizabeth Bishop’s poem I am in need of music is a beautiful expression of the importance of music in a person’s life. The poem vividly describes the physical and emotional necessity of music, comparing it to water that covers a person from head to feet and overwhelms them with its greatness. Using imagery and sensory details, Bishop captures the transforming power of music, emphasizing the need for melodious and rhythmic music to calm and soothe a person’s nerves. The poem highlights that music is like magic, lifting up the soul and releasing the pressures of life. Overall, the poem is a powerful ode to the eternal importance of music in the world.

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Elizabeth Bishop’s poem captivated me with its vivid mages and rhyming lines, which defines the means Of music in person’s life. Poetry is one of the most beautiful means of expressing human feelings and emotions. Elizabeth Bishop, as a skillful poet, is known for being able to fit the most complex phenomena into a simple form of a short poem. In her I am in need of music, bishop brings music to level of a physical and emotional necessity for a human being and discusses eternal importance of music in the world.

The poem starts with the comparison of music with water that covers a person form head to feet and overwhelms the person with its greatness: l am in need of music that would flow Over my fretful, feeling fingertips. Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips, With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow’ Thus, while reading these lines, one can clearly imagine how music takes over a person and virtually makes the person drown inside of its invisible tides and flows. Using imagery and sensory detail, Bishop provides a beautiful description of the music in the poem.

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Uses words such as “liquid-slow” and “flow,” allows the reader to feel the flowing, transforming power of music throughout their bodies. Bishop emphasizes that the protagonist needs endless music, “l am in need of music that would flow” (line 1). The protagonist does not need music per SE, but music that is melodious, rhythmic. The woman needs music that will calm her “… Fretful, feeling fingertips” (linen). The woman is agitated, nervous and restless. She needs something to ‘cool’ her down. The woman is going through a nerve-wrecking time, “… Y bitter-tainted, trembling lips” (line 3). She yearns for nothing more than music that would slowly bring healing, comfort and reassurance: With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow. Oh, for the healing swaying old and low, Of some song sung to rest the tired dead, (line 4-6) The woman’s need for a soothing media is so intense that Bishop emphasizes she needs it to engulf her whole being like, “… Water on my head, And over quivering limbs,” (line 7-8) The woman admits that the effects of melody are magical.

They offer rest and relief for the heart. To complete her ode to music, bishop calls it magic that makes a person forget the difference between dream and reality. Music lifts up the soul and releases some pressures from life. It’s like magic because when we hear the right song or melody everything just seems to fall into place and get through your whole odd. “Reading further the lines, one becomes absolutely sure that music is compared to water not only In its physical qualities but also in its great importance for the life on the planet.

Those living today and those that are already dead all enjoy music in this form or another. Bishop also describes her desire that music would fall “like water on her head,” and revive her from her problems. There is a magic made by melody” Thus, while reading the poem by Elizabeth Bishop, one cannot but get the feeling of something magical happening. Even if a person is not in the mood o think about music after having read this poem, these ideas come to their mind and change the perception and role of music in their lives.

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I Am in Need of Music Analysis. (2018, Mar 17). Retrieved from


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