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Give the summary of the poem "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire,of a Child in...

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tragicflaw | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:28 PM via web

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Give the summary of the poem "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire,of a Child in London".

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:51 PM (Answer #1)

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In my opinion, this poem is about the poet's attitudes towards death.  He rejects the way that people usually think about death.  To him, death is just a natural process, one in which the person goes back and becomes one with nature.

You can see this, for example, in the second stanza.  There, the poet is saying that he will not really acknowledge the child's death until he, too, is dead.  But look at how he characterizes death there.  He says that, in death, he will "enter again" the round bead of water and the ear of corn.  He is saying that he has come from natural things (water and grain) and will be going back there.

In other words, death is a return to nature and he will not presume to mourn the child's death because it is just part of a natural cycle.  Through the rest of the poem, the poet restates this theme in various ways.

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