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"Piano" is a poem filled with imagery and concrete details. As the narrator listens to the woman singing, he is swept back to his childhood, and soon these memories overwhelm him, and he finds himself weeping. His romantic view of his childhood contrasts with his present reality, and he longs for that childish innocence again.
The poet uses onomatopeia at several points as he describes the "boom" of the "tingling strings," as well as the hymns his mother played on the "tinkling piano."
A particularly strong image stands out when he remembers himself as a "child sitting under the piano/ ... And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings." The memory of the feel of her feet, the sight of her smile, and the sound of her voice helps to transport him back to his childhood, so that he is no longer hearing the woman presently singing but instead is hearing his mother.
The memory is so strong that his "heart ... weeps to belong/To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside/And hymns in the cosy parlour." The contrast between the cold outside and the warmth inside creates another strong image here. He personifies the piano with his next words, calling it their "guide" on these winter nights.
Hyperbole takes over in the final stanza as he talks about "the singer (bursting) into clamour," "the glamour/Of childish days" and how his "manhood is cast/Down in the flood of remembrance." The combination of all this leaves him weeping - a very sentimental response to his present musical experience.
D. H. Lawrence's poem, "Piano" concerns its theme with the power of memory to recall and also to create illusionary states in the attempt of the adult to separate it from misperception. Typical of Lawrence's other poetry, this poem is a "burst of unified perception" as the poet recalls Sunday evenings in which his mother played the piano.
The visual image of the first stanza, that of a small boy sitting beneath the piano, recalls the nurturing of his mother and the boy's contentment in the soft light of dusk and security with the "small, poised feet of a mother" near him. In addition to this visual imagery, there is, of course, an appeal to the auditory senses with the phrase, "the boom of the tingling strings" and some to the feelings of the boy.
Visual and auditory imagery is again employed with "the heart of me weeps to belong,"to the past again; the "mastery of song," as "winter outside" and "hymns in the cozy parlor: where "the tinkling piano" acts as the guide. While this stanza borders on the nostalgic, the ironic tone prevents the illusionary from dominating.
The poet returns to himself with a crescendo of auditory imagery. In a passionate tone--apassionato--the present singer "burst[s] into a clamour," jar the poet from his sweet nostalgia to the realities of the present. Thus, it is in vain to harbor the illusions, the "glamour" of old days played by the great black piano (visual imagery). As he entertains his remembrances, the idolatry with which he held his mother returns, causing him to miss the "childish days" of innocence.
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