'A Year's Spinning' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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He listened at the porch that day,To hear the wheel go on, and on;
And then it stopped, ran back away,While through the door he brought the sun:But now my spinning is all done.2
He sat beside me, with an oathThat love ne'er ended, once begun;
I smiled--believing for us both,What was the truth for only one:And now my spinning is all done.3
My mother cursed me that I heardA young man's wooing as I spun:
Thanks, cruel mother, for that word--For I have, since, a harder known!And now my spinning is all done.4
I thought--O God!--my first-born's cryBoth voices to mine ear would drown:
I listened in mine agony--It was the silence made me groan!And now my spinning is all done.5
Bury me 'twixt my mother's grave,(Who cursed me on her death-bed lone)
And my dead baby's (God it save!)Who, not to bless me, would not moan.And now my spinning is all done.6
A stone upon my heart and head,But no name written on the stone!
Sweet neighbours, whisper low instead,"This sinner was a loving one--And now her spinning is all done."7
And let the door ajar remain,In case he should pass by anon;
And leave the wheel out very plain,--That HE, when passing in the sun,May see the spinning is all done.
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Year's Spinning: A Literary Criticism
I couldn't be more thrilled to write about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "A Year's Spinning." This is a poem that has stood the test of time, and as I read through it again, I am struck once again by its beauty and depth.
The poem takes us through the seasons of the year, as the speaker spins wool on a spinning wheel. Each season is described in beautiful detail, from the "icy glistening" of winter to the "rustling gold" of autumn. But it's not just a celebration of the changing seasons; it's also a meditation on the passage of time and the cycles of life.
The poem is divided into four sections, one for each season. Each section has a consistent rhyme scheme and meter, giving the poem a sense of structure and rhythm. The language is beautiful and evocative, with vivid imagery that brings each season to life.
The poem begins in winter, with the speaker spinning wool by the fire. The winter is described as a time of stillness and quiet, when "the snow falls soft and slow." The speaker reflects on the passing of time, and how even in the midst of stillness and quiet, time is always moving forward: "Time goes, you say? Ah, no! / Alas, Time stays, we go."
As the poem moves into spring, the mood shifts. The speaker describes the "sweet showers of April" and the new life that emerges after the cold winter. This section of the poem is full of energy and movement, with the spinning wheel itself becoming a metaphor for the cycle of life: "Life spins from out the darkness; / And the living chariots run / By the wheel-spokes flashing sparkles."
Summer is described as a time of abundance, with the "ripening and the falling fruit." But even in the midst of plenty, the speaker reflects on the fleeting nature of life: "The ripe fruit like golden rain / Falls, and fades, and falls again." The spinning wheel continues to turn, reminding us that time is always moving forward.
Finally, we come to autumn, with its "rustling gold" and falling leaves. The speaker reflects on the passage of time and the inevitability of death, but also finds hope in the idea that life will continue beyond her own death: "The cycle of the circling year / Leaves something ere it go."
One of the central themes of the poem is the passage of time and the cycles of life. The spinning wheel becomes a powerful metaphor for this, reminding us that time is always moving forward and that life is full of cycles and seasons.
Another theme is the connection between the natural world and human experience. The changing of the seasons is a reflection of the changing of human life, with each season bringing its own challenges and opportunities.
Finally, the poem is a meditation on mortality and the inevitability of death. But even in the face of death, there is hope and the sense that life will continue beyond our own mortality.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "A Year's Spinning" is a beautiful and evocative poem that celebrates the changing seasons while also reflecting on the passage of time and the cycles of life. The poem is full of rich imagery and powerful metaphors, and it remains a testament to Browning's skill and artistry as a poet.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has the power to transport us to different worlds, evoke emotions, and inspire us to see the beauty in the mundane. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "A Year's Spinning" is a classic example of how poetry can capture the essence of a moment and make it timeless. In this 2000-word analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of this beautiful poem.
Firstly, let's take a look at the title of the poem, "A Year's Spinning." The word "spinning" immediately conjures up images of a spinning wheel, which was a common household item in the 19th century. However, the title is not just referring to the physical act of spinning wool or cotton. It is also a metaphor for the passage of time. The spinning wheel represents the cyclical nature of life, where one year ends and another begins, and the cycle repeats itself.
The poem is divided into four stanzas, each representing a different season of the year. The first stanza describes the winter season, where the speaker is spinning wool by the fire. The second stanza is set in spring, where the speaker is spinning in a garden surrounded by flowers. The third stanza takes place in summer, where the speaker is spinning in the shade of a tree. The final stanza is set in autumn, where the speaker is spinning in a room filled with the golden light of the setting sun.
The structure of the poem is significant because it reflects the cyclical nature of life. Each stanza represents a different season, and the repetition of the spinning wheel in each stanza reinforces the idea of the cycle of life. The poem begins and ends with the same line, "Heavens! what a spinning-wheel," which creates a sense of symmetry and completion.
Now let's delve into the language of the poem. One of the most striking features of "A Year's Spinning" is the use of vivid imagery. In the first stanza, the speaker describes the wool as "white as winter snow," and the fire as "red as winter berries." These images create a sense of warmth and coziness, which is typical of the winter season. In the second stanza, the speaker describes the flowers as "blue and red and white," which creates a sense of vibrancy and color. The use of color is significant because it reflects the new life and growth of spring. In the third stanza, the speaker describes the tree as "green and high and shady," which creates a sense of coolness and protection. The use of the word "shady" is significant because it reflects the relief from the heat of summer. In the final stanza, the speaker describes the room as "golden," which creates a sense of warmth and comfort. The use of the word "golden" is significant because it reflects the beauty and richness of autumn.
Another significant feature of the language in "A Year's Spinning" is the use of repetition. The phrase "Heavens! what a spinning-wheel" is repeated at the beginning and end of the poem, which creates a sense of unity and completion. The repetition of the spinning wheel in each stanza reinforces the cyclical nature of life. The use of repetition is also significant because it creates a sense of rhythm and musicality in the poem.
The poem also contains a sense of nostalgia and longing. The speaker is spinning wool, which is a traditional household activity that was common in the 19th century. The use of the spinning wheel is significant because it reflects the speaker's connection to the past. The poem also contains a sense of longing for the passage of time. The speaker is spinning wool, which is a slow and meditative activity. The use of the spinning wheel is significant because it reflects the speaker's desire to slow down time and savor the moment.
The themes of "A Year's Spinning" are significant because they reflect the cyclical nature of life. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each representing a different season of the year. The repetition of the spinning wheel in each stanza reinforces the idea of the cycle of life. The poem also contains a sense of nostalgia and longing, which reflects the speaker's connection to the past and desire to slow down time.
In conclusion, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "A Year's Spinning" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of the cyclical nature of life. The structure of the poem reflects the passage of time, and the use of vivid imagery and repetition creates a sense of rhythm and musicality. The themes of the poem are significant because they reflect the speaker's connection to the past and desire to slow down time. This poem is a timeless classic that reminds us to savor the moment and appreciate the beauty in the mundane.
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