Can someone please explain this poem, "Time's Fool," focusing on the methods employed by the poet?Time’s fool, but not heaven’s: yet hope not for any return. The rabbit-eaten dry branch and the...

Can someone please explain this poem, "Time's Fool," focusing on the methods employed by the poet?

Time’s fool, but not heaven’s: yet hope not for any return.

The rabbit-eaten dry branch and the halfpenny candle

Are lost with the other treasure: the sooty kettle

Thrown away, become redbreast’s home in the hedge, where the nettle

Shoots up, and bad bindweed wreathes rust-fretted handle.

Under that broken thing no more shall the dry branch burn.

Poor comfort all comfort: once what the mouse had spared

Was enough, was delight, there where the heart was at home;

The hard cankered apple holed by the wasp and the bird,

The damp bed, with the beetle’s tap in the headboard heard,

The dim bit of mirror, three inches of comb:

Dear enough, when with youth and with fancy shared.

 

I knew that the roots were creeping under the floor,

That the toad was safe in his hole, the poor cat by the fire,

The starling snug in the roof, each slept in his place:

The lily in splendour, the vine in her grace,

The fox in the forest, all had their desire,

As then I had mine, in the place that was happy and poor.

Asked on by ryounis

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

"Time's Fool," by Ruth Pitter, is a poem of remembering the past and observing what changes have taken place with the passage of time. The narrator uses allusions to contrast the former use of objects found in the ruins of a former dwelling with the new uses.

In the first stanza, the kettle formerly used for cooking food over the fire now holds a bird's nest. The handle that had been used to suspend the pot over the fire is now tangled with weeds. A fire will never burn under this pot again.

the sooty kettle Thrown away, become redbreast’s home in the hedge, where the nettle Shoots up, and bad bindweed wreathes rust-fretted handle. Under that broken thing no more shall the dry branch burn.

The second stanza contains the narrator's fond memories of growing up in the home, which was poor in material things but rich in love and shared joy in being alive. "Poor comfort all comfort: once what the mouse had spared was enough, was delight, there where the heart was at home." The narrator remembers sharing a bed, a mirror, a broken comb with siblings and finding "delight" in doing so.

While growing up, everything had been "in his place" - the tree roots growing below the house, the flowers in the garden, the fox in its den. In the past, all had been where it wanted to be and was content in that place, including the narrator. "all had their desire, As then I had mine, in the place that was happy and poor." However, time has gone by, and now the narrator is coming to understand the foolishness of thinking that things will remain unchanged forever.

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