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Understanding Poetry Solitude   How still it is here in the woods. The trees Stand...

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seanprk8 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM via web

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Understanding Poetry

Solitude

 

How still it is here in the woods. The trees

Stand motionless, as if they did 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.

 

What is the author's feelings about the topic of the poem? I barely understand this poem at all.

 

Thank you in advance

 

2 Answers | Add Yours

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 22, 2011 at 4:08 AM (Answer #1)

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The poem posted, "Solitude",  is a work written by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was a Transcendentalist. Transcendentalists were artists (included authors, poets, painters, etc.) who wished to part with culture and society's doctrines based upon their dislike of empirical ideologies.

Instead, the Transcendentalists focused upon the individual. They believed that honest reality came for the understanding of one's own spirituality. Given the overlap with the Romantic movement, nature was very important to the Transcendentalists.

Therefore, based upon the thoughts and ideologies of the Transcendentalists, the poem "Solitude" shows Thoreau's grounding in nature and finding one's self through one's own appreciation for nature.

Thoreau enjoyed being alone. The poem helps one to understand why. In nature, he is able to concentrate on the elements and himself alone. He, according to a personal interpretation, finds strength and power in the solitude that nature provides him. While not truly alone, nature is all around, he can listen to the things which allow him to look with all of his senses.

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paralysedforce | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 21, 2011 at 2:14 PM (Answer #2)

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The author is describing the sounds and feelings he gets as he is alone in a scene of nature, and he paints a picture using sounds, and this is called synesthesia (mixture of senses). The author is obviously relaxed, engulfing in everything his ears can handle, and analyzing all that is around him, aside from himself.

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