How do you understand the last sentence in the poem "An Outline"?poem online:...

How do you understand the last sentence in the poem "An Outline"?

poem online:




1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is much sadness in this poem.  There is a great deal of melancholy present.  Think about the opening stanza and how we, as children, cut or severed the bonds that ended up forming our world.  Rejection of parents, friends, and teachers all became part of this world.  In stanza one, the theme of isolation and self - severance helps to capture much of what consciousness is.  Throughout this growth process, the challenge becomes how to raise children and have connections in a consciousness where severing them is practiced or had been practiced.  It is here where Manhire might be confronting the reader with a paradox:  On one hand, we are able to live our lives having cut people off and sever all bonds.  Yet, we also want to ensure that this doesn't happen to us when we reach our point of maturation.  It might be due to the fact that we believe we can do right what others did wrong.  However, it might also be motivated out of fear that what we did to others will be done to us.  Perhaps, there is a hidden speck of karma that might be present, as well.  It with all of these in mind where the last line enters.  The last stanza confronts the reader with a situation where those who had severed bonds are standing on the threshold waving to loved ones, to people that we desperately wish will wave back.  In the arc of our lives, we better understand that we wave for both those we love and we wish to wave back and to those whom we bid farewell to long ago.  The realization that accompanies us is that the road that goes back home is far.  In my mind, this means that we both understand the course of our present and future with our children, and also understand it in terms of our past, to the live we once led.  It is through parenting that we see a bizarre conception of time where we live past, present, and future in an almost simultaneous modality.

We’ve answered 317,441 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question