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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

WHEN THE GRASS SHALL COVER ME, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" is a poem by Ina Donna Coolbrith, an American poet who lived from 1841 to 1928. The poem reflects on the ephemeral nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Context:

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" was published in Coolbrith's collection of poetry, "A Perfect Day and Other Poems," in 1881. The poem reflects the broader cultural interest in the theme of mortality in American literature during the late 19th century.

Content:

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" is a poem that reflects on the speaker's awareness of her own mortality. The poem describes the image of the speaker's grave being covered by grass, and reflects on the ways in which this image captures the transience of human life.

Form:

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" is written in free verse, with a style that reflects the speaker's sense of resignation and acceptance of death. The poem is divided into several stanzas, each containing a different aspect of the speaker's reflection on mortality.

Poetic Elements:

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" makes use of several poetic techniques and devices, including imagery, metaphor, and repetition. The use of imagery, such as the image of the grass as a symbol of the natural cycle of life and death, adds to the poem's emotional impact, while the metaphor of the grass covering the speaker's grave reinforces the theme of the inevitability of death. The repetition of the phrase "when the grass shall cover me" throughout the poem emphasizes the speaker's acceptance of her own mortality and the need to appreciate life while it lasts.

Summary:

"When the Grass Shall Cover Me" is a significant work of poetry that reflects on the transience of human life and the inevitability of death. The poem's use of imagery, metaphor, and repetition adds to its emotional and poetic impact, while also conveying a sense of resignation and acceptance of death. Overall, "When the Grass Shall Cover Me" is a noteworthy example of Ina Donna Coolbrith's ability to explore important themes of life and mortality in a poetic form.


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