07/06/2024

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child’s death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.

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Analysis (ai): This poem defies conventional mourning rituals. The speaker rejects the idea of lamenting a child’s death in a time of significant loss. Instead, he chooses to celebrate the child’s life and connection to nature. This poem is a departure from the author’s works, as his earlier works focused on a more traditional form and tone.

The poem reflects the grim realities of post-World War II Britain, where countless lives were lost. The speaker’s decision to find solace in the natural world mirrors the desire for regeneration and hope amidst devastation.

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