Are there any metaphors in the poem "Afterlife" by Sara Teasdale?or any other poetic devices

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no magic anymore,

We meet as other people do,

You work no miracle for me,

Or I for you.


You were the wind and I the sea--

There is no splendor any more,

I have grown listless as the pool

Beside the shore.


But though the pool is safe from storm

And from the tide has found surcease,

It grows more bitter than the sea,

For all it surcease.

In "After Love" by Sara Teasdale, the words in bold are metaphors.  In the first stanza, magic and miracle are metaphors that in which the figurative comparisons are named, but the literal are not.  Magic is a metaphor for the esctatic feelings of the lover for another, but the speak no longer has these feelings.  Likewise, miracle suggests the feelings that transform her as a person of great joy and happiness when she sees her lover.

In the second stanza, there are two metaphors that name both the literal and the figurative meanings:  the lover as the wind and the speaker being the sea, with a tide of emotions--an implication that the speaker has been energized by the love, driven by him. Now, without him, she is merely a pool of standing water that has grown "listless as the pool" [simile] without the excitement of the tide, the lover.

Finally in the third stanza, the speaker does not find happiness--only "surcease" without the lover--for without him the pool becomes "bitter" [personification] in spite of all its peace and sucease.  It stagnates.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As far as I know, Teasdale did not ever write a poem called "Afterlife" or "After Life."  She wrote a poem called "After Love," though, so I will talk about that poem.

This poem has a central metaphor in which the compares herself to the sea and the other person to the wind.  The idea here is that the wind used to move her.  She was in love with the other person and he (presumably) moved her emotionally.

But now they are not in love anymore and she is more of a pool that has become stagnant.  She is more peaceful, but also more bitter.

So the metaphor here is that she is the ocean and then a pool.  He is the wind.