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It is with imagery—including personification, simile, metaphor, and sensory details—that Edward Thomas describes a particular piece of land, specifically one that is home to fruit trees in his poem, "After Rain."
In twenty-six lines, Thomas sets out to share his observations of how the landscape appears after more than twenty-four hours of rain:
The rain of a night and a day and a night
Stops at the light
Of this pale choked day.
Though the rain has ceased to fall, the dawn ("stops at the light") is still "pale," as the rain struggles to shed light on the aftermath of the steady shower. He sees that the road under the trees shows new color with a trimming of "bright thin grass." The storm in this November season has stripped the "hazel and thorn / And the greater" tree limbs of their leaves.
The road under the trees has a border new
Of purple hue
Inside the border of bright thin grass:
For all that has
Been left by November of leaves is torn
From hazel and thorn
And the greater trees.
In the copse, no more leaves flutter to the ground when the wind picks up. Note the sensory details in the following description of the surface of the land:
On grey grass, green moss, burnt-orange fern...
Leaves from the ash tree are strewn about. However, hardier than the leaves—and what still remains hanging on "the myriad branches...so hard and bare" is stubborn fruit that has refused to be removed. Here, again, notice the sensory images employed:
...twelve yellow apples lovely to see
On one crab-tree.
And on the innumerable twigs of each tree in the "dell" rest drops of:
Crystals both dark and bright of the rain
That begins again.
The author uses precise details to describe what he sees, in an attempt to capture this moment in time and convey it to the reader. Personification is used with "pale choked day" and "peering sun." It is present again with the splaying of the ash tree leaves that appear "As if they played."
A lovely simile describes the splayed ash leaves on the ground:
The leaflets out of the ash-tree shed
Are thinly spread
In the road, like little black fish, inlaid,
As if they played.
A metaphor compares the raindrops on the "twigs" to "Crystals both dark and bright of the rain..."
Although Thomas is often described as a war poet (serving and dying in World War I), some of his poetry concentrated on things closer to home:
Thomas's poems are noted for their attention to the English countryside...
This poem showcases the landscape of a land he knew and, it would seem, loved. His attention to detail, along with the positive way in which he shares his observations (e.g., rain compared to "crystal," leaves similar to "little black fish," and "yellow apples lovely to see") allows us to infer that this was a special moment for him: nature made a striking impression on him as he noticed how trees and grass...and even fruit...appeared so changed after the continuous rain. Perhaps he is taking a walk during a break in the rain, which begins again by the poem's end. However, he never once complains about the weather, but rather praises the scene he discovers, glistening with newly fallen drops of rain.
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