How does the poet in the following poem, "Masque," feel about what she is describing?Masque I’m standing back, now, looking back at last on all those crowded days and nights relentlessly...

How does the poet in the following poem, "Masque," feel about what she is describing?

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 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There seems to be a sense of weary relief in the voice of the speaker as she finally is able to escape the action and stand back and reflect upon the past and her relationship with the "you" of the poem that she is addressing. Her past is based on "crowded days and nights" that "relentlessly erupt," which give the idea of the exhaustion of the speaker. At the same time, there is a sense of fear when the speaker begins to talk about the "you" of the poem. People, presumably the speaker, have been incredibly careful about the kind of behaviour and mask that they put on around the person that the speaker is addressing for fear that the speaker's mask would not fit and that they would see his face for what it is. The way in which the final stanza alludes to "the rest" seeing the person that the speaker is addressing and "shrinking" away from him as a result injects a note of fear and terror into the speaker's thoughts, as we are left to think about the kind of face that this person has and what kind of fearsome individual he must be to make others cower from him so.

We can therefore establish the feelings of the speaker of the poem through the kind of words that are used and, in turn, how those words help create a tone of both exhaustion and fear.

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