Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Clouds their Backs together laid

The Clouds their Backs together laid
The North began to push
The Forests galloped till they fell
The Lightening played like mice

The Thunder crumbled like a stuff
How good to be in Tombs
Where nature's Temper cannot reach
Nor missle ever comes
(F 1246)

Started 10/19 and continued 10/20...
This poem vividly depicts the wild forces of nature unleashed upon the earth. There is a sense of opposition as the clouds stand "their backs together laid" and the north "began to push". Immediately Dickinson creates struggle as the powers of nature build and unleash themselves upon the world below. The forests "fell" and the lightening wreaks its danger "like mice." There is a powerful carelessness in the abilities of nature. Nature does not care about damage that might be done, nor about the panic it induces upon anything below. It is self-centered and self-pleasing in its abandon.

And yet, nature cannot touch the speaker. He or she is safe "in Tombs / Where nature's temper cannot reach." There is a large sense of irony in this statement from the speaker, because while he or she is safe from the wild danger of nature and its fury, it remains that the speaker is dead. One theme that can be derived from this poem is that safety has its sacrifices. To be safe from the looming clouds and the pouring rain and careless thunder, one also gives up the chance to see the glory of a sunset or the hallowed morning of fresh fallen snow or the riotous splendor of first spring or the fiery blaze of autumn harvest. There is a sense of give and take, and while there is security from the unpredictable forces above, the tomb is for the dead.

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