Monday, February 18, 2019

Not what you might think …

 Forgotten Poems # 56: "The Voice of Spring," by Felicia Hemans.

Mortality baffles Spring in this poem, because what can the season of rebirth know about death? And that's surprising and interesting because the poem has initially led us to imagine Spring as human-like, with feet and a voice. We might expect human emotions and human sympathy to go along with all the personification. And yet Spring can't grasp the human interlocutors' grief for "the loved who have left," taking several stanzas to even realize that "Ye have look'd on death since ye met me last!" and then abruptly leaving as soon as that realization sinks in: "For me, I depart to a brighter shore, / Ye are mark'd by care, ye are mine no more." Even the poem's gestures toward a vision of heaven — "a land where there falls no blight" — ring a bit hollow, since Spring can go there at will but the grieving humans can't.

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