David Malouf

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How does "Revolving Days" by David Malouf deal with heartbreak and nostalgia?

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"Revolving Days" by David Malouf is a poem dealing with heartbreak because the speaker has lost his relationship with his beloved. The poem is about nostalgia because the speaker has idealized memories of the time he was with his beloved and longs to return to those days.

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The poem "Revolving Days" is about heartbreak in that it is the story of the narrator losing the person he loves. He foreshadows this loss from the beginning of the poem when he says falling in love was a "mistake." The heartbreak comes in because, as the speaker says, his love has "lasted and has lasted" while beloved has moved on.

Part of the heartbreak comes about because the narrator was not ready for this beloved to walk into his life. He wasn't yet sure who he was and tried to impress his beloved by trying on new identities as one might a new shirt, to see which would be most pleasing. This didn't work, and the speaker was left behind. As the poem ends, the speaker reassures the beloved that while he or she is still in his thoughts and in his heart, he will let the past be the past.

Nostalgia is a longing for an idealized happy past. The poem deals in nostalgia in that the speaker idealizes and yearns to have back the past with his beloved. Since the relationship broke up, everything could not have been as good as the speaker remembers it. Nevertheless, the "old tug at the heart, the grace unasked for," is how he recalls the time now gone. He wants something which he knows can never return.

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