Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, AUX CARMELITES, by KATHARINE TYNAN

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

AUX CARMELITES, by                 Poet's Biography

"Aux Carmelites" by Katharine Tynan is a poignant poem that juxtaposes the ascetic, devoted life of a nun, Madame Louise, with the opulent, frivolous world of Versailles. .


Contrast between Spiritual and Material Worlds: The poem juxtaposes the serene, devout life of Madame Louise at the Carmelites with the hedonistic revelries of Versailles. The poet underscores how one finds peace and contentment in a humble, spiritual existence, while the other indulges in ephemeral, worldly pleasures.

Sacred Love vs. Earthly Love: The nightingale, symbolizing passionate, earthly love, contrasts with the angel by Madame Louise's side, representing divine, unconditional love. These two forms of love - one ephemeral and heartbreaking, the other eternal and comforting - are central to the poem.

Sensory Imagery: Tynan effectively employs sensory details to evoke the atmosphere of both settings. The sounds of "violins," "dancers," and the "bird of love with his wild heart-break" vividly contrast the silence surrounding Madame Louise.

Symbols of Devotion and Luxury: The crucifix and the "rush chair" symbolize simplicity and devotion, while the revelries of Versailles epitomize opulence and indulgence. This sharp contrast serves to highlight the profundity of Madame Louise's spiritual journey.

Emotional Depth:

Tynan masterfully captures the emotional tranquility of Madame Louise. The repeated line, "Madame Louise sleeps well o' nights," suggests her inner peace and contentment. Despite the allure of Versailles, Madame Louise finds solace in her humble surroundings, hinting at the ephemeral nature of materialistic joys.


Katharine Tynan, in "Aux Carmelites," delves deep into the human psyche, drawing a poignant comparison between the inner peace that spiritual devotion brings and the fleeting nature of worldly pleasures. Through vivid imagery and emotional resonance, the poem reminds readers of the transient nature of earthly delights and the eternal comfort of spiritual solace.

Copyright (c) 2024 PoetryExplorer

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net