“This Moment” by Eavan Boland is a short poem describing a suburban scene at dusk. Using simple language, it creates a sense of expectation and waiting, followed by the resolution of a mother hugging a child, the moment that could be perhaps be described as the climax of the poem. Some aspects of the poem that stand out are its visual impact, its sense of time, structure and repetition, and the use of repeated images and sounds.
Written in free verse, the poem uses short sentences with some repetition of specific words, such as moths and stars, to focus the reader in on the details of the moment. The first mention of these words is primarily to set the scene, while their second mention ("Stars rise. / Moths flutter.") is to build the urgency and immediacy of the scene and to give the feeling that more is happening than is at first noticeable, as was suggested in the lines “Things are getting ready / to happen / out of sight.”
The visual impact of this poem is of note. The simple but effective use of the colors black and yellow provide contrast. The simile used to describe the window—“yellow as butter”—is an example of how the poem uses specific details to achieve a feeling that the beauty of the moment is in its very ordinary nature. Butter is a reminder of the very down-to-earth nature of the moment, and reminds us of the “neighborhood” setting.
The tender, gentle tone of the poem is achieved through the simple, gentle images, the short lines and line breaks that are not too startling, and the use of repeated s sounds in the final stanza: “Stars rise. / Moths flutter. / Apples sweeten.” These too give a sense of inevitability and conclusion, the idea that all these things happening in nature and among humans are happening as they should be, creating a kind of sense of peace after the earlier waiting and expectation.