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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ON THE DEATH OF AN INFANT OF FIVE DAYS OLD, by                 Poet's Biography

Elizabeth Boyd was an American poet who lived during the 19th century. Her poetry was included in anthologies of American literature during the mid-19th century, but her work is not widely known today. "On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" is a short poem that reflects on the grief and sorrow experienced by a mother after the death of her newborn infant.

Context:

"On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" was likely written during the early 19th century, a time when infant mortality rates were high and medical care was limited. The poem reflects the common experience of losing a child during infancy and the emotions that accompany such a loss.

Content:

"On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" reflects on the experience of a mother who has lost her newborn infant. The poem explores the feelings of grief, loss, and sorrow that the mother experiences in the wake of the infant's death.

The mother's emotions are conveyed through vivid and powerful images that evoke a sense of deep pain and sorrow, such as the image of the "mute cradle" that once held the infant and now stands empty, and the image of the mother's tears falling "like the drops of evening dew." The poem also expresses the mother's sense of confusion and despair in the face of this tragedy, as she wonders why her child was taken from her so soon and struggles to come to terms with her loss.

Form:

"On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" is a short, free-verse poem that does not conform to a specific rhyme scheme or meter. The use of free verse reflects the emotional intensity and rawness of the mother's experience.

Poetic Elements:

Boyd employs a variety of poetic techniques in "On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old," including imagery, metaphor, and symbolism. The use of imagery and metaphor helps to create a vivid and evocative picture of the mother's grief and the weight of her loss, while the use of symbolism helps to convey the deeper meanings and themes of the poem.

Summary:

"On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" is a poignant and deeply affecting poem that captures the emotions and experiences of a mother who has lost her newborn infant. The use of vivid imagery, metaphor, and symbolism creates a rich and evocative portrait of the mother's grief and the weight of her loss, while the use of free verse gives the poem a raw and emotional quality that reflects the intensity of the mother's experience. Overall, "On the Death of an Infant of Five Days Old" is a powerful and moving poem that captures the universality of grief and the depth of human emotion in the face of loss.

 


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