Summarize the poem "Piano" by D. H. Lawrence.

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carol-davis's profile pic

carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Written in 1918 by D.H. Lawrence, the poem "Piano" uses first person point of view with the poet as the narrator.  The poem  has three quatrains with a set rhyme scheme of aabb in all of the stanzas.

Nostalgia reigns.  A smell, a noise, a word, a song, a poem---any of these sensory experiences can draw a person back to another time or place when something special happened in his life.  This is the essence of this poem.

A woman is singing a beautiful song to the poet. It swallows him up in a memory of times of yore: The man now a child sits under the piano listening to his mother playing and singing.  As she entertains, he presses her feet which makes his mother smile. 

The poet does not want to revisit this time; however, he  unable to stop the memories.

 In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong

He begins to weep for the time when he sat at the feet of his mother. His memory goes further; he yearns for the Sunday, wintry evenings,  singing hymns  led by the sound of the piano.

Back in the present, the woman's singing has changed from sweet music  to just noise. He know longer wants to hear the music of the present. His memories  entice him  back to his youth.  Despite being a grown man, he weeps for the child lost the past.

Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

What a beautiful poem used to remind the reader that even a grown man can hunger for his formative years where the world is not so much with him. Weeping, the man covets the life of the child of a bygone time.

sunshine250495's profile pic

sunshine250495 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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'Piano' written by D.H. Lawrence is a nostalgic poem. The speaker is listening to his lover sing for him in tune to the piano. The music of the piano serves as a guide who taking the poet's hand takes him for a journey down the memory lane, as is potrayed when he says:

Taking me back down the vista of years

The poet remembers his innocent childhood when during Sundays in winter he would sit inside his cosy parlour, with his mother's feet in his lap listening to her play the piano and sing hymns. Thus, music becomes not only magical but also divine. The speaker feels guilty and angry at himself, because as a man he is supposed to have better control over his feelings, but in the conflict between past and present the past wins, and the speaker starts weeping. He also feels guilty since instead of listening to the young woman who is singing passionately for him, he remembers his own mother's song. The speaker's tears bridges the gap between adulthood and childhood.

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