Passion by Kathleen Raine -Analysis and AnnotationWatch this thread
The poet was going through a traumatic period in her life whereby she longed for some contact with the man she loved. She felt as though everything was abandoning her and she couldn't find peace. She felt as though nature itself was against her. She waited for him to call her but as time passed and the phone remained mute her body grew weak. She was heartbroken and broken in spirit too. She had lost all inspiration to write; to communicate with the language she knew best. Just as things appeared bleak the sky ‘spoke’ to her in language clear. Nature would nourish her and see her through this difficult period. Unlike humans, nature would never forsake her. Soon she was able to understand that the same spirit that permeated the natural world was in her too and that she had all she desired.
The first stanza of the poem emphasizes the poet's suffering. The poet was burning with desire as she lay under the sky that seemed to hurt her. “Each cloud a ship without me sailing” gives the reader a sense of the abandonment the poet feels. This line is a metaphor that extends the idea of the abandonment that the poet is feeling as each cloud pass leaving her. Her soul lacked peace and each tree surrounding her was a representative of peacefulness.
The Second stanza of the poem gives the reader the idea of a sense of longing. The poet was 'waiting' to hear the voice of a loved one. The 'mute telephone' is a personification that emphasizes the fact that her loved one wasn't contacting her. She wanted the phone to ring but it was silent. It was this silence that caused her physical as well as emotional pain. It is at this point in the poem when it is brought to our attention that the poet is suffering from heartbreak.
In stanza 3 we learn that the reader was so distraught that she was unable to articulate her feelings through the language she knew best; writing. This was brought to our attention because of the alliteration 'forsook my fingers'. It was as if her ability to write was far beyond her reach because of her emotional state.
In stanza 4 the sky speaks to her, this was as common as the heart and more familiar than the love that she was pining for. 'The sky said' is a personification that represents nature which communicates with the speaker throughout the poem. Speaking to her soul, the sky told her that she already had what she was pining for and that she's lacking nothing.
In the fifth stanza the authoritative voice that represents nature tells her that she is one with the 'clouds, stars, the wind' and the restless sea. She is one with nature. The same spirit that permeates nature is also part of her.
The sixth stanza emphasizes the poet's unity with nature. She can regain her spirit and be without fear, she can die or live that doesn't change the fact that she is indeed a part of nature. In the line 'This world you with the flower and the tiger share', the words tiger and flower are both symbols that are representative of nature. The tiger represents power while the flower represents fragility.
In the seventh stanza the poet finally accepts the fact that she is one with nature. Her idea of nature being against her has changed and she feels a sense of comfort with nature instead. She sees no need for the unrequited love.
In the last stanza her view of the world has changed and she sees it as it would be on the Day of Judgment. The writer uses imagery to show the world as she now sees it.She sees the world full of light, everlasting love and eternity.