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Water Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Lowell Type: poem Views: 25

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It was a Maine lobster town—
each morning boatloads of hands
pushed off for granite
quarries on the islands,

and left dozens of bleak
white frame houses stuck
like oyster shells
on a hill of rock,

and below us, the sea lapped
the raw little match-stick
mazes of a weir,
where the fish for bait were trapped.

Remember?  We sat on a slab of rock.
>From this distance in time
it seems the color
of iris, rotting and turning purpler,

but it was only
the usual gray rock
turning the usual green
when drenched by the sea.

The sea drenched the rock
at our feet all day,
and kept tearing away
flake after flake.

One night you dreamed
you were a mermaid clinging to a wharf-pile,
and trying to pull
off the barnacles with your hands.

We wished our two souls
might return like gulls
to the rock.  In the end,
the water was too cold for us.

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Over all, this poem details a relationship long since finished.
The description of the town in lines 5-8 describe a place of desolation, which is meant to be reflected in the relationship.
A sense of fragility is also shared between the imagery in the poem, and the relationship the man is reminiscing about. This is seen in the phrase \"raw little match-stick mazes\".
The author also uses the sea as a symbol of time, where he repeats the word drenched in line 21.
In the last line of the poem, what the speaker is means is that circumstances influence human choices, and the main idea of the poem is expressed in term of erosion.

| Posted on 2013-03-15 | by a guest

.: :.

From this poem (I once wrote an essay on it) I understood that two souls longed to be together and happy. however, the water was too cold part led me to believe that the unhappy people died, possibly that they had killed themselves... My friends who also wrote the essay said I was far off, but I got accepted to a school for it :D

| Posted on 2011-11-11 | by a guest

.: :.

First, let me begin with the thesis that I have come up with for this poem that I\'ve had to analyze for a class.
\"In his poem \'Water,\' Robert Lowell uses imagery, symbolism, and a nostalgic tone for the speaker to convey his reminiscing thoughts about moments in his past relationship that he wishes had never ended.\"
In the first three stanzas of the poem, Lowell sets up the setting by describing a quaint Maine town where everything seems simple and beautiful. This is a symbol for the beginning of a relationship, when everything is easy and beautiful for both parties involved.
However, starting in the fourth stanza, the speaker begins talking to his past loved-one. He mentions the magic-feeling of the relationship when it seemed like the rocks were turning colors. However, in the next stanza, he goes back to reality by saying \"but it was only/the usual gray rock\" (17-18).
In the 6th stanza, he refers to their relationship slipping away \"flake by flake\" (24). He continues to reminisce, and in the very last sentence he says, \"In the end, the water was too cold for us\" (31-32).
The symbols include the seagulls, the rocks, the water, and the \"simple Maine town\"
There are tons of imagery in the poem including the colors, the magic (mermaid, colors turning purple, ect.), the rocks, and the sea.

| Posted on 2011-05-01 | by a guest

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