'Under The Waterfall' by Thomas Hardy
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Satires of Circumstance1914'Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,In a basin of water, I never missThe sweet sharp sense of a fugitive dayFetched back from its thickening shroud of gray.Hence the only primeAnd real love-rhymeThat I know by heart,And that leaves no smart,Is the purl of a little valley fallAbout three spans wide and two spans tallOver a table of solid rock,And into a scoop of the self-same block;The purl of a runlet that never ceasesIn stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;With a hollow boiling voice it speaksAnd has spoken since hills were turfless peaks.''And why gives this the only primeIdea to you of a real love-rhyme?And why does plunging your arm in a bowlFull of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?''Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone,Though precisely where none ever has known,Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized,And by now with its smoothness opalized,Is a grinking glass:For, down that passMy lover and IWalked under a skyOf blue with a leaf-wove awning of green,In the burn of August, to paint the scene,And we placed our basket of fruit and wineBy the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine;And when we had drunk from the glass together,Arched by the oak-copse from the weather,I held the vessel to rinse in the fall,Where it slipped, and it sank, and was past recall,Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyssWith long bared arms. There the glass still is.And, as said, if I thrust my arm belowCold water in a basin or bowl, a throeFrom the past awakens a sense of that time,And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme.The basin seems the pool, and its edgeThe hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge,And the leafy pattern of china-wareThe hanging plants that were bathing there.'By night, by day, when it shines or lours,There lies intact that chalice of ours,And its presence adds to the rhyme of lovePersistently sung by the fall above.No lip has touched it since his and mineIn turns therefrom sipped lovers' wine.'
Editor 1 Interpretation
Under the Waterfall by Thomas Hardy: A Masterpiece of Poetic Sensibility
Are you looking for a piece of literature that evokes the beauty and melancholy of human experience in a masterful way? Look no further than Thomas Hardy's "Under the Waterfall," a poem that captures the essence of a moment of fleeting happiness in the midst of life's turmoil. With its vivid imagery, understated language, and poignant symbolism, this poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry as an art form.
Before we dive into the poem itself, a bit of background on Thomas Hardy is in order. One of the greatest writers of the Victorian era, Hardy was a prolific novelist, poet, and dramatist who explored the complexities of human nature and the harsh realities of rural life in his works. Born in 1840 in rural England, Hardy worked as an architect before turning to writing full time, and his experiences in both fields informed his writing.
Hardy's poetry is characterized by his keen observations of the natural world and his ability to find meaning in even the most mundane details of everyday life. His works are often melancholic, reflecting his own struggles with love, loss, and the passage of time.
"Under the Waterfall" is a prime example of Hardy's poetic sensibility. The poem describes a moment of intimacy between two lovers who have sought refuge from the world in a secluded spot beneath a waterfall. The speaker describes the scene in vivid detail, from the "silver-steady-dashing" of the water to the "soft plash" of the lovers' footsteps on the mossy rocks.
The language of the poem is understated and lyrical, with a strong emphasis on sensory details. The use of repetition, as in the repeated use of the word "fall" to describe both the waterfall and the lovers' descent into passion, creates a sense of rhythm and musicality that underscores the emotional intensity of the scene.
But what really sets the poem apart is its use of symbolism. The waterfall itself is a powerful symbol of the passage of time and the transience of human experience - just as the water rushes past the lovers, so too does life rush by, fleeting and ephemeral. The mossy rocks, meanwhile, represent the enduring nature of nature itself, and serve as a reminder that even in the midst of life's chaos and uncertainty, there are moments of beauty and connection to be found.
The poem's concluding lines, in which the speaker reflects on the fleeting nature of the moment they have shared, are some of the most powerful in all of Hardy's poetry. They capture the bittersweet nature of love and human connection - that even as we grasp at moments of happiness and intimacy, they are all too quickly gone.
So what does "Under the Waterfall" mean, exactly? As with many works of poetry, the meaning of the poem is open to interpretation. Some readers may see it as a celebration of love and the beauty of the natural world, while others may see it as a meditation on the transience of life and the inevitability of loss.
To me, the poem speaks to the power of human connection in the face of life's challenges. Even as the world rushes by in all its chaos and uncertainty, there are moments of beauty and intimacy to be found if we are willing to seek them out. The lovers in the poem have found a fleeting moment of happiness and connection, and even though it will soon be gone, it is a reminder that such moments are possible even in the darkest of times.
In conclusion, "Under the Waterfall" is a masterpiece of poetic sensibility that captures the essence of a moment of fleeting happiness in the midst of life's turmoil. With its vivid imagery, understated language, and poignant symbolism, this poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to help us make sense of the world around us. Whether you are a fan of poetry or simply looking for a piece of literature that speaks to the complexities of human experience, "Under the Waterfall" is a must-read.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Under The Waterfall: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his exceptional literary works that have stood the test of time. One of his most celebrated poems is "Poetry Under The Waterfall," which is a beautiful and thought-provoking piece of literature. This poem is a perfect example of Hardy's ability to capture the essence of nature and human emotions in his writing.
The poem is set in a picturesque location, where the speaker is standing under a waterfall. The opening lines of the poem set the tone for the rest of the piece, as the speaker describes the beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape. The speaker is in awe of the natural beauty around him, and he is inspired to write poetry.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with its own unique message. The first stanza is a description of the waterfall and the natural surroundings. The speaker describes the waterfall as a "silver blade" that cuts through the rocks and creates a misty spray. The speaker also mentions the "green and gold" of the trees and the "blue and white" of the sky, which add to the beauty of the scene.
The second stanza is where the speaker begins to reflect on the power of poetry. He describes how poetry can capture the essence of nature and convey emotions that cannot be expressed in words. The speaker says that poetry is like a "spell" that can transport the reader to another world. He also mentions how poetry can bring people together and create a sense of community.
The third and final stanza is a reflection on the speaker's own life and the role that poetry has played in it. The speaker says that poetry has been a constant companion throughout his life, and that it has helped him to make sense of the world around him. He also mentions how poetry has helped him to connect with others and to find meaning in his own life.
One of the most striking aspects of this poem is the way that Hardy uses imagery to create a vivid picture of the natural surroundings. The waterfall is described as a "silver blade," which is a powerful image that conveys the strength and beauty of the water. The trees are described as "green and gold," which creates a sense of warmth and comfort. The sky is described as "blue and white," which adds to the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the scene.
Another notable aspect of this poem is the way that Hardy explores the power of poetry. He describes poetry as a "spell" that can transport the reader to another world, which is a powerful image that conveys the transformative power of literature. He also mentions how poetry can bring people together and create a sense of community, which is a testament to the unifying power of art.
Overall, "Poetry Under The Waterfall" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that showcases Hardy's exceptional talent as a writer. The poem is a celebration of nature, poetry, and the human spirit, and it is a testament to the enduring power of literature. Whether you are a fan of poetry or simply appreciate beautiful writing, this poem is a must-read.
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