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CHRISTMAS EVE, 1917, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

Robert Seymour Bridges' "Christmas Eve, 1917" is a poem that reflects on the holiday season during the midst of World War I. The poem was first published in Bridges' collection of poems, "October and Other Poems" in 1920. 

The poem "Christmas Eve, 1917" reflects on the holiday season during a time of war, capturing the emotions of hope, fear, and uncertainty that must have been prevalent during that period. The poem begins with an evocative image of the "Yuletide blaze" and "candles burning bright", which provide a moment of comfort and joy amid the darkness of war. However, the poem's tone shifts as the speaker reflects on the absence of loved ones and the fear of loss that accompanies wartime.

Throughout the poem, Bridges employs a range of poetic elements to convey the complex emotions of the holiday season during wartime. The use of imagery, including the contrasting images of light and darkness, creates a vivid picture of the emotional landscape of the time. The repetition of the phrase "the darkened earth" emphasizes the feelings of fear and uncertainty that permeated the period.

In addition to the themes of hope, fear, and uncertainty, the poem can be read as a commentary on the power of tradition and ritual in times of crisis. The image of the Christmas tree, with its "candles burning bright", serves as a reminder of the traditions and rituals that can provide a sense of continuity and comfort during difficult times.

In conclusion, "Christmas Eve, 1917" is a powerful poem that reflects on the holiday season during the midst of World War I. Bridges' use of poetic elements, such as imagery and repetition, creates a vivid picture of the emotional landscape of the time. The poem's themes of hope, fear, and uncertainty, as well as its commentary on the power of tradition and ritual in times of crisis, make it a timeless reflection on the human experience during times of war and conflict.


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