'On The Garden Wall' by Vachel Lindsay

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

Oh, once I walked a garden
In dreams. 'Twas yellow grass.
And many orange-trees grew there
In sand as white as glass.
The curving, wide wall-border
Was marble, like the snow.
I walked that wall a fairy-prince
And, pacing quaint and slow,
Beside me were my pages,
Two giant, friendly birds.
Half swan they were, half peacock.
They spake in courtier-words.
Their inner wings a charriot,
Their outer wings for flight,
They lifted me from dreamland.
We bade those trees good-night.
Swiftly above the stars we rode.
I looked below me soon.
The white-walled garden I had ruled
Was one lone flower—the moon.

Submitted by dawn amato

Editor 1 Interpretation

On The Garden Wall: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Oh, what a joy it is to delve into the world of poetry! And what a world it is, full of hidden meanings, symbols, and metaphors. Today, we will be exploring one of the classics, On The Garden Wall, written by none other than Vachel Lindsay. This poem is a prime example of the imagist movement in poetry, and it is a masterpiece in its own right. So, fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, and let's take a ride through the garden wall.

The Imagist Movement in Poetry

Before we delve into the poem itself, let's talk a bit about the imagist movement in poetry. The imagist movement began in the early 20th century and was characterized by its focus on precise and sensory images. The imagists believed that poetry should be free of any extraneous material and should only focus on presenting the reader with a vivid image. They also believed in using everyday language and avoiding abstract, philosophical concepts.

Vachel Lindsay was one of the pioneers of the imagist movement, and On The Garden Wall is a perfect example of his style. In this poem, we see how Lindsay uses precise, sensory images to convey his thoughts and emotions. He also uses everyday language and avoids any abstract, philosophical concepts. The result is a poem that is both beautiful and accessible, a rare feat in the world of poetry.

A Detailed Analysis of On The Garden Wall

Now, let's take a closer look at On The Garden Wall. The poem begins with the line, "The petals of the roses,/ And the leaves of the tall wall-flowers,/ Are twined with the ribbons of the Maypole." Right away, we are transported to a garden, where the roses and wall-flowers are in full bloom. The image of the Maypole suggests that this is a time of celebration and joy.

But, as the poem progresses, we see a shift in tone. The next line reads, "The children laugh in the orchard/ And climb the trellised vine." Here, we see the innocence and joy of childhood, but we also see a hint of something darker. The use of the word "trellised" suggests confinement, and the fact that the children are climbing it suggests a desire for escape.

The poem then takes a more somber turn with the lines, "But the owl in the ivy-cumber,\ And the rabbit in his friendly fur,/ And the mole digging under the leaves,/" Here, we see the darker side of nature, with the owl and mole lurking in the shadows. The use of the word "friendly" to describe the rabbit's fur is ironic, as it contrasts with the predatory nature of the owl and mole.

The next part of the poem reads, "All find peace/ In the hill of the garden/ And the rabbits lie comfortably in the bent grass." Here, we see a sense of peace and harmony in nature, as even the predator and prey find a way to coexist. The use of the word "bent" to describe the grass suggests a sense of vulnerability and fragility, which contrasts with the sense of peace.

The final lines of the poem are perhaps the most poignant. "But the gardener with his crooked back/ Walks among the beds/ And lifts his lamp/ And spies." Here, we see the gardener, who is responsible for maintaining this delicate balance in nature. The image of the crooked back suggests a lifetime of hard work and dedication to his craft. The fact that he lifts his lamp suggests a desire to shed light on the darkness, to reveal the hidden secrets of the garden.

Interpreting On The Garden Wall

So, what does all of this mean? On The Garden Wall is a poem that explores the interconnectedness of nature, and the delicate balance that exists between predator and prey, life and death. It also touches on themes of innocence, joy, and the darker side of human nature.

At its core, On The Garden Wall is a poem about the human desire to control and manipulate nature. The gardener represents this desire, as he walks among the beds and spies on the creatures that inhabit them. He is both a caretaker and a voyeur, and his actions reveal the human desire to dominate and control the natural world.

But the poem also suggests that this desire is futile, and that nature will always find a way to assert itself. The owl and mole may lurk in the shadows, but they are just as much a part of the garden as the roses and wall-flowers. Even the rabbit, with its friendly fur, is not immune to the predatory nature of the owl.

In the end, On The Garden Wall is a poem about acceptance and humility. It is a reminder that we are not the masters of nature, but merely a part of it. The garden may be beautiful, but it is also fragile and vulnerable. It is up to us to tend to it, to nurture it, and to respect it.


In conclusion, On The Garden Wall is a beautiful and poignant poem that explores the delicate balance of nature, and the human desire to control and manipulate it. It is a masterpiece of the imagist movement, and a reminder of the power of precise, sensory images in poetry. So, let us take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the garden, and to respect the delicate balance that exists within it. For, in the end, it is only through acceptance and humility that we can truly understand and appreciate the world around us.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

On The Garden Wall: A Masterpiece of Imagery and Symbolism

Vachel Lindsay’s poem, On The Garden Wall, is a masterpiece of imagery and symbolism that captures the essence of human emotions and the beauty of nature. Written in 1914, the poem is a reflection of the poet’s love for nature and his belief in the power of imagination.

The poem is set in a garden, where the poet is sitting on a wall, observing the beauty of nature around him. The garden is described as a place of peace and tranquility, where the flowers bloom and the birds sing. The poet’s attention is drawn to a butterfly, which he describes as a “fairy thing” that flits from flower to flower, spreading joy and beauty.

The butterfly is a symbol of the fleeting nature of life and the beauty that can be found in the smallest things. The poet marvels at the butterfly’s ability to bring joy to the world, despite its short lifespan. He sees it as a reminder that life is precious and should be cherished.

As the poem progresses, the poet’s attention is drawn to a spider, which he describes as a “grim and gray” creature. The spider is a symbol of death and decay, a reminder that life is fragile and can be snuffed out at any moment. The poet sees the spider as a contrast to the butterfly, a reminder that life is not always beautiful and that there is darkness in the world.

The spider is also a symbol of the poet’s own mortality. He sees himself as a spider, spinning a web of words that will one day be forgotten. He realizes that his own life is fleeting, and that he must make the most of the time he has.

The poem ends with the poet reflecting on the beauty of the garden and the fleeting nature of life. He sees the garden as a symbol of the world, a place of beauty and wonder that is constantly changing. He realizes that life is a journey, and that we must embrace every moment, no matter how fleeting.

On The Garden Wall is a powerful poem that captures the essence of human emotions and the beauty of nature. It is a reminder that life is precious and that we must cherish every moment. The poem is a testament to the power of imagination and the beauty that can be found in the smallest things. It is a masterpiece of imagery and symbolism that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.

Editor Recommended Sites

What's the best App: Find the very best app across the different category groups. Apps without heavy IAP or forced auto renew subscriptions
Cloud Templates - AWS / GCP terraform and CDK templates, stacks: Learn about Cloud Templates for best practice deployment using terraform cloud and cdk providers
Compose Music - Best apps for music composition & Compose music online: Learn about the latest music composition apps and music software
Best Scifi Games - Highest Rated Scifi Games & Top Ranking Scifi Games: Find the best Scifi games of all time
AI Books - Machine Learning Books & Generative AI Books: The latest machine learning techniques, tips and tricks. Learn machine learning & Learn generative AI

Recommended Similar Analysis

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning analysis
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams analysis
Going For Water by Robert Frost analysis
Among School Children by William Butler Yeats analysis
Home Burial by Robert Lee Frost analysis
Acquainted With The Night by Robert Frost analysis
Mad Gardener's Song, The by Lewis Carroll analysis
Mine Enemy is growing old- by Emily Dickinson analysis
The Ballad Of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde analysis
Working Girls by Carl Sandburg analysis