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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

SONG (10), by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

 

Song ("When I am dead") is a deeply personal and reflective poem by Christina Rossetti. It was published in her collection of poetry, "A Pageant and Other Poems," in 1881.

The poem is written in the first person and is addressed to the speaker's loved ones, asking them to remember her fondly after she has passed away. Rossetti explores themes of death, memory, and love, and she employs vivid and evocative language throughout the poem.

One of the most striking features of the poem is its use of repetition. The phrase "when I am dead" is repeated multiple times throughout the poem, creating a sense of inevitability and finality. This repetition also serves to emphasize the speaker's desire to be remembered and to have her legacy live on after her death.

Another notable feature of the poem is its use of imagery. Rossetti paints a vivid picture of her final resting place, describing it as a "lonely grave," surrounded by "daisies and sweet violets." This imagery serves to create a sense of peace and tranquility, even in the face of death.

The poem also explores the power of memory and the enduring nature of love. The speaker asks her loved ones to remember her "sometimes," and to "think of me in the long dark hours / When winds are wild and strong." In doing so, Rossetti emphasizes the importance of memory in keeping loved ones alive, even after they are gone.

In terms of form, the poem is structured as a series of quatrains, with a simple ABAB rhyme scheme. This simplicity of form allows the focus to remain on the poem's powerful themes and imagery.

Overall, "Song ("When I am dead")" is a moving and deeply personal poem that explores themes of death, memory, and love. Rossetti's evocative language and use of repetition and imagery serve to create a sense of inevitability and finality, while also emphasizing the power of memory and the enduring nature of love.


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