Solitude How still it is here in the woods. The trees Stand motionless, as if they do not dare To stir, lest it should break the spell. The air Hangs quiet as spaces in a marble frieze. Even this little brook, that runs at ease, Whispering and gurgling in its knotted bed, Seems but to deepen with its curling thread Of sound the shadowy sun-pierced silences. Sometimes a hawk screams or a woodpecker Startles the stillness from its fixed mood With his loud careless tap. Sometimes I hear The dreamy white-throat from some far-off tree Pipe slowly on the listening solitude His five pure notes succeeding pensively. Archibald Lampman Interpretation #1 – Well-developed Archibald Lampman‟s poem „Solitude‟ creates an image of a beautiful, secluded place in nature. From the tone of the poem, it seems like this is a place the author is particularly fond of. Lampman uses words such as „still‟, „dreamy‟, and „pure‟ to portray an image of nature unspoiled by the presence of people. The purpose of Lampman‟s poem seems to be simply to present a vivid image of a place that is special to him, and to share the beauty of nature with others. The poem brings to mind times when the sunlight hits the leaves in such a way that they are lit with an almost magical quality. „Solitude‟ also creates the idea of stillness, silence, and the beauty of simplicity. Lampman is simply creating an image within his poem, one of the graceful tranquility of nature. If there is a message to be found within this poem, it is that we must appreciate the beauty of our environment as it is, without attempting to „improve‟ it. This painting expresses the same images as the poem „Solitude‟, especially the idea of „shadowy sun-pierced silences‟. The painting also has the same dreamy, ethereal quality as the forest described in the poem. Although this painting does not contain any water, it successfully captures the mood and picture of a still, beautiful forest. Interpretation #2 – Requires further development The poet is describing one of Canada‟s landscapes. The landscape is of the woods probably up North because of the quietness that is constantly described in „Solitude‟. Lampman is saying that even though the woods are quiet there is still life and actively happening in the woods. When the poet says “How still it is here in the woods, the trees stand motionless, as if they do not dare to stir, lest it should break the spell” he is saying how still the forest is. The author is comparing how the air is as loud as an architectural part of a building: “hangs quiet as spaces in a marble frieze”. A weakness of the poem is that the author is saying that the forest is silent yet there are noises and activity in the forest: “how still is it is here in the woods . . . sometimes a hawk screams or a woodpecker starts the stillness from a fixed mood”. The strength is of how the poet describes the stillness of the forest it yields a great image in your head, it seems peaceful: “even this little brook, that runs at ease, whispering and gurgling in its knotted bed”. When the poet says “the air hangs quiet as spaces in a marble frieze” the word frieze stands out because I didn‟t know what it meant. The poet‟s view of Canadian landscape seems to be a peaceful, quiet and active, beautiful place to be. This image best represents the poem because it shows a peaceful forest and a field, also a little brook is present all described in the poem.
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