What would be a critical analysis with literary devices of the poem ''Thoughts'' by Sara Teasdale?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Thoughts" is a personal poem of reflection consisting of five stanzas, each following a regular pattern of rhyme with the second and fourth lines rhyming perfectly:

When I am all alone 
Envy me most, 
Then my thoughts flutter round me 
In a glimmering host; 

Some dressed in silver, 
Some dressed in white, 
Each like a taper 
Blossoming light; 

Most of them merry, 
Some of them grave, 
Each of them lithe 
As willows that wave; 

Some bearing violets, 
Some bearing bay, 
One with a burning rose 
Hidden away -- 

When I am all alone 
Envy me then, 
For I have better friends 
Than women and men.

The theme of the poem is that the speaker's being alone is a rich experience to be envied for she is alone with her own thoughts that give her more satisfaction than human relationships.

The primary literary device is personification. She describes her thoughts in human terms. They are dressed; they demonstrate human emotions, being merry or grave. They have the physical characteristic of being lithe. They come bearing gifts.

Similes are also found in the poem. Each thought is "like a taper blossoming light." Each one is "lithe as willows that wave." Connotative language is also employed. A "silver" thought suggests preciousness or nobility, whereas a "white" thought suggests purity.

Implied metaphors can be found in the references to "violets," "bay," and a secret "burning rose. Violets are beautiful spring flowers often associated with youth and innocence; bay suggests domesticity, since it is an herb often used in cooking; a burning rose may be interpreted as a passionate desire of some kind. These implied metaphors communicate the variety of the speaker's private thoughts. Finally, imagery is present in the poem with the words "flutter," "glimmering host," and "blossoming."