The poems ‘Remember’, ‘Piano’ and ‘Poem at Thirty-nine’ – melancholy emotions Essay

‘Poem at Thirty-nine’ and ‘Piano’ explore melancholy emotions while ‘Remember’ does not in my opinion. The reasons I do no completely agree is because the three poems all have hidden feelings and meanings. ‘Poem at Thirty-nine’ shows melancholy emotions because it presents the loss of the persona’s father and ‘Piano’ portrays how D. H. Lawrence misses his childhood. However ‘Remember’ is not a sad poem but it might seem so because it is explaining Rossetti’s feelings towards death. ‘Poem at Thirty-nine’ is a free verse structured poem by Alice Walker.

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There is sadness in the poem and it is presented by showing the feeling that the persona misses her father, instead of using and introducing grieving words and actions in the poem.

Walker repeated the first line ‘How I miss my father’ half way down the poem. However, the full stop at the end of the sentence was replaced with an exclamation mark. This shows the persona has been more emotional than before because the memories start to become more powerful in that point in the poem. Walker might have adopted a persona to show the audience how much she was missing her own father.

The structure of this poem is a free verse, therefore it does not have any rhyme pattern. However, they use assonance such as ‘of good food. Now I look and cook just like him’, the rhymes are ‘whoever strays my way’ and ‘cooking, writing, chopping wood’. These rhymes add to the free flowing of the poem. Walker writes the poem in free verse so she can revive the feeling with her father any time. The poem is written in free verse so every time when Walker thinks of her father, she can use it to convey herself the habits of her father.

There is assonance of the ‘a’ sound and the example is ‘as a way’. It creates a flowing feeling. The flowing feeling gives an effect that there is no limit to what Walker’s father does for her. The poem also contains alliteration of the ‘t’ sound, they are ‘He taught me that telling the truth’ and the persona’s dad is teaching her. This could be Walker’s father teaching her in real life. The line ‘though many of my truths must have grieved him’ contains an alliteration of the ‘m’ sound.

The alliteration of the ‘m’ sounds like it is saying that it is my (the persona) fault but not her dad. This could mean Walker felt regret of what she had done to her father before in real life. The poem ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti is not a sad poem and the style is a Petrachan sonnet. It explains Rossetti’s positive feeling towards death. The poem might seem tragic because it is about death and people usually relate death to sadness. A reason that Remember is not a melancholy poem is the use of euphemism. ‘silent land’ is used instead of heaven and hell.

It helps to beautify and conceal death in this poem. Rossetti might have used euphemism here because she is Catholic and they tend to follow traditions more strictly. This is to make death less melancholy to help the reader grieve. There is a regular beat in the poem, because the poem consists of a rhyme pattern and the poem was written using iambic pentameter. The rhyme pattern in the poem is ABBABBACCDDECE. Rossetti includes a rhyme pattern and iambic pentameter because she was trying to make the reader keep calm and forget Rossetti when she dies.

Some people might argue that this poem is poignant, since the octet explained that we should feel sympathy when the persona dies. However, since the poem is a Petrachan sonnet, there is meant to be a turn (the sestet) which will differ from the feeling of the octet completely to emphasise the previous feeling of pity for the persona. The word ‘Remember’ is an imperative. It is repeated numerous times in the poem. Rossettti repeated the word ‘Remember’ to constantly remind the reader to remember her when she is gone.

Constantly telling people to remember her in the poem supports the fact the poem does not possess sad feelings. However, after the turn in the poem, it was only repeated once, and this is the complete opposite. Apart from that, the use of words after the turn, such as ‘do not grieve’, ‘forget’ and ‘smile’ also indicate there is an opposite feeling. This is probably because at the turn, Rossetti changes her feeling completely and demands everyone to forget her and be happy. The poem ‘Piano’ by D. H. Lawrence is a sad poem. In my opinion, the poem is tragic because the persona misses his childhood.

It could show a desire for D. H. Lawrence to return to his childhood and home. ‘I weep like a child for the past’ would suggest longing for the past. The persona also feels the lost the comfort for home, the phrases ‘to the old Sunday evenings at home’ and ‘cosy parlor’ suggest the persona’s feeling for home. This could lead to D. H. Lawrence not able to return to his home country suggesting he might be viewed as a traitor in World War I. There are some words that resembles the sound of the piano, possibly because the poem is called ‘Piano’.

The examples are: ‘boom of tingling strings’ and ‘piano appassionato’. They were effective because it reflects the title of the poem. It suggest the persona longed for his childhood which D. H. Lawrence use to over his fear of isolation. The line ‘boom of tingling string’ was especially effective, because ‘boom’ and ‘tingling strings’ sound completely opposite and they form a contrast (With ‘boom’ sounding loud and noisy and ‘tingling strings’ sounding soft and gentle). ‘Piano’ is a structured poem. There is a rhyme pattern and the rhyme scheme is AABBCCDDEEFF.

Apart from the regular rhyme scheme, there are also some irregular rhymes. Examples of the irregular rhyme are ‘tingling strings’, ‘vain for the singer’ and ‘piano appasionato’. The rhymes in the poem are effective because when reading it sounds more flowing which allows the poem to simulate the sound of a piano. The phrase ‘me, my manhood’ shows that the persona is now adult. It also suggests the persona is adapting to adult life. D. H. Lawrence organizes ‘Piano’ as a structured poem suggests that his memories of childhood are vivid and comprehensive.

The word ‘insidious’ was used to describe the magic of the sounds of the piano. ‘Insidious’ means something captures you without noticing and in this context it illustrates how strongly the piano had reminded D. H. Lawerence back to the memory of his childhood. In conclusion I do not completely agree with the question. Instead, I think only the poems “Poem at 39” by Walker and “Piano” by DH Lawrence are melancholy while “remember” by Rosettii is not. This is because all three poems express hidden feelings and memories.

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