Is the following poem, "Masque," set in the past or present?Masque I’m standing back, now, looking back at last on all those crowded days and nights relentlessly erupting on face and steet  ...

Is the following poem, "Masque," set in the past or present?

Masque

I’m standing back, now,

looking back

at last

on all those crowded

days and nights

relentlessly erupting

on face and steet

 

each face, voice, mannerism

meticulously chosen and applied

for fear

that yours would be the one,

the one that slipped,

or didn’t fit,

 

the one the rest saw

over their shoulders

as they shrank away from you.

Asked on by wanderista

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accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

If we read this poem carefully, we can find the answer to the question that you are looking for in the first few lines. Let us consider the first stanza and the way in which the time in which it is set is clearly talked about:

I’m standing back, now,

looking back

at last

on all those crowded

days and nights

relentlessly erupting

on face and steet

The poem begins therefore with the speaker very much in the present, but standing back from the action of what is going on around them. Even though the poem is in the present, the past is something that is considerably important in understanding this poem, as the speaker says that he and she is standing back from the action so as to examine the past more clearly and to "look back" on the events that have led them to this point. Whilst there is a definite separation between the present of this poem and the past that the speaker remembers, at the same time the past is shown to impact the present as the speaker is left wondering how the past has resulted in his or her present situation.

 

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