What are the themes within "Tonight I Can Write"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This poem is above all a poem about the power of memory and bittersweet nature of reminiscence. In this poem the speaker talks about lost love and how painful memories can be. The speaker conveys his sadness and anguish by juxtaposing the memories of the passion he felt for this woman with the reality of his loneliness and loss in the present:

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

The way in which the poem starts off by saying "Tonight I can write the saddest lines" seems to suggest that the poet has been so incapacitated by the pain this relationship has caused him that he is only now, after a period of some years, able to write this poem and reflect on this ended relationship. Although this pain is something that blocked his creative talent, he is now able to finally go down memory lane and write about this relationship so that he can find some element of closure and put this relationship behind him, as is suggested by the last two lines of the poem, that establish this will be the last verse the speaker will write for her. Memory and reminiscence are therefore key themes of this poem.


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