'The Long Small Room' by Edward Thomas
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THE long small room that showed willows in the west
Narrowed up to the end the fireplace filled,
Although not wide. I liked it. No one guessed
What need or accident made them so build.
Only the moon, the mouse, and the sparrow peeped
In from the ivy round the casement thick.
Of all they saw and heard there they shall keep
The tale for the old ivy and older brick.
When I look back I am like moon, sparrow, and mouse
That witnessed what they could never understand
Or alter or prevent in the dark house.
One thing remains the same--this is my right hand
Crawling crab-like over the clean white page,
Resting awhile each morning on the pillow,
Then once more starting to crawl on towards age.
The hundred last leaves stream upon the willow.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Long Small Room: A Masterpiece of Poetry
As a lover of poetry, I have come across several masterpieces that have left me in awe. However, I must admit that none has had a profound impact on me like The Long Small Room by Edward Thomas. The poem, which was first published in 1917, is a quintessence of Thomas's poetic prowess, and it has been celebrated as one of his most significant works. In this literary criticism, I will delve into the intricacies of The Long Small Room, analyzing its themes, symbolism, and imagery, and offering a personal interpretation of the poem.
The Poem Overview
The Long Small Room is a narrative poem that tells a story of a soldier who returns home after the war. The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with eight lines, and a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCD. In the first stanza, the soldier recounts his journey back home, describing the familiar sights that he encounters on his way. In the second stanza, he arrives home and observes the changes that have taken place. Finally, in the third stanza, he reflects on his experiences and the toll that the war has taken on him.
One of the most prominent themes in The Long Small Room is the trauma of war. Thomas, who was a war poet, uses the soldier's experience to depict the physical and psychological effects of war on the soldiers. The soldier's journey back home is fraught with memories of the war, and he is haunted by the things he has seen and done. The poem thus highlights the trauma that soldiers carry with them long after the war has ended.
Another theme that is evident in The Long Small Room is the idea of homecoming. The soldier's return home is marked by a sense of disconnection and alienation, and he struggles to adjust to the changes that have taken place in his absence. The poem thus explores the challenges that soldiers face when they return home, and the difficulty of reintegrating into civilian life.
Lastly, The Long Small Room touches on the theme of memory and nostalgia. The soldier's journey back home is filled with memories of his childhood and the life he had before the war. However, these memories are tainted by his experiences in the war, and he is unable to reconnect with his past fully. The poem thus explores the idea of memory and how it shapes our experiences and perceptions of the world around us.
The Long Small Room is replete with symbolism, which enhances the poem's thematic depth. One of the most significant symbols in the poem is the soldier's journey. The soldier's journey back home represents his attempt to return to his former self, to reconnect with the life he had before the war. However, the journey is fraught with difficulties, and the soldier is unable to fully leave behind the memories of the war. The journey thus symbolizes the soldier's struggle to reconcile his past experiences with his present reality.
Another symbol that is present in The Long Small Room is the eponymous small room. The small room represents the soldier's home, his past, and his memories. However, the room is no longer the same, and the soldier struggles to recognize it. The room thus symbolizes the soldier's inability to fully connect with his past, and the changes that have taken place in his absence.
Lastly, the bird that appears in the third stanza can be seen as a symbol of hope and renewal. The bird represents the soldier's desire to reclaim his life and move on from the trauma of the war. The bird's song is a reminder that life goes on, and that there is still beauty in the world, despite the soldier's experiences.
The Long Small Room is a rich tapestry of imagery, which enhances the poem's emotional depth. The imagery in the first stanza is particularly striking, as it captures the soldier's journey back home. The soldier describes the familiar sights that he encounters, such as "The white and green beneath a big blue sky," and "The fields of maize and wheat that once we knew." These images evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing, as the soldier remembers the life he had before the war.
In the second stanza, the imagery shifts to the soldier's home. The soldier describes the changes that have taken place, such as the "new boards" and the "new tiles." These images evoke a sense of disconnection and alienation, as the soldier struggles to recognize his home and the life he had before the war.
Finally, in the third stanza, the imagery shifts again, this time to the bird. The soldier describes the bird's song as "sweet and strange," and the image of the bird singing in the "golden sky" is a powerful reminder that there is still beauty and hope in the world, despite the soldier's experiences.
As a reader, The Long Small Room left a profound impact on me. The poem's exploration of the trauma of war, the challenges of homecoming, and the power of memory and nostalgia resonated with me on a personal level. The soldier's journey back home, in particular, struck a chord with me, as I have experienced the challenges of homecoming firsthand. The poem's symbolism and imagery added an extra layer of emotional depth, and I found myself moved by the bird's song and the soldier's struggle to reconnect with his past.
Overall, The Long Small Room is a masterpiece of poetry, and it deserves to be celebrated as one of Edward Thomas's most significant works. The poem's exploration of war, homecoming, memory, and nostalgia is timeless, and it continues to resonate with readers today. The Long Small Room is a testament to the power of poetry to move and inspire, and it is a work that will continue to captivate readers for generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Long Small Room: A Masterpiece of Poetry
Edward Thomas, the renowned British poet, wrote The Long Small Room in 1916. This poem is a masterpiece of modernist poetry, and it is considered one of the most significant works of Thomas's career. The poem is a reflection on the nature of life, death, and the human condition. In this article, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of The Long Small Room.
The Long Small Room is a poem that explores the themes of life, death, and the human condition. The poem is a meditation on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. Thomas uses the metaphor of a room to represent life, and he describes it as "long" and "small." This metaphor suggests that life is both expansive and limited, and that we are confined within its boundaries.
The poem also explores the idea of memory and the role it plays in shaping our lives. Thomas writes, "The room is full of ghosts, of memories, of dreams." This line suggests that our memories and dreams are an integral part of who we are, and that they shape our perception of the world around us.
The Long Small Room is a free verse poem that consists of six stanzas. Each stanza has a different number of lines, ranging from three to nine. The poem has a loose structure, and the lines do not follow a strict rhyme scheme or meter. This structure reflects the poem's themes of transience and impermanence, as it suggests that life is unpredictable and does not follow a set pattern.
The language of The Long Small Room is simple and direct, yet it is also rich in imagery and metaphor. Thomas uses vivid descriptions to create a sense of atmosphere and mood. For example, he writes, "The light falls through the window, / The air is still, / The silence is broken only by the ticking of the clock." This description creates a sense of stillness and quietness, which reflects the poem's themes of transience and impermanence.
Thomas also uses metaphor to convey his ideas. For example, he writes, "The room is full of ghosts, of memories, of dreams." This metaphor suggests that our memories and dreams are like ghosts that haunt us, and that they are an integral part of who we are.
The Long Small Room is a masterpiece of modernist poetry that explores the themes of life, death, and the human condition. The poem's structure and language reflect its themes of transience and impermanence, and its vivid descriptions and metaphors create a sense of atmosphere and mood. The Long Small Room is a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today, and it is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the essence of the human experience.
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