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The best way to understand a poem is to examine it stanza by stanza and look at the overall whole once finished.
The poem "The Lake" begins off as such:
The yard half a yard,/ half a lake blue as a corpse,/ The lake will tell you things you long to hear:/ get away from here./ Three o'clock. Dry leaves rat-tat like maracas.
Here the speaker seems to be alluding to the deadness of the lake. The imagery of the blue corpses and dry leaves signal death.
Whisky-colored grass/ breaks at every step and trees/ are slowly realizing they are nude./ How long will you stay?/ For the lake asks questions you want to hear, too.
Here the lake seems to recognize the fact that autumn is coming and, just as the leaves are leaving, the lake expects the speaker to leave as well.
Months have passed since, well,/ everything. Since buildings stood/ black against sky, rain hissed from sidewalks/ and curled around you./ O, how those avenues once seemed menacing!
The speaker seems to have changed their feelings about the area by which the lake "lives." It seems that with things going away, the area no longer seems threatening.
I know what you miss/ sings the lake. Car horns groaning/ in rush hour. Sweet coffee.Wind/ pounding like hammers. Warmth of a lover./ Crickets humming love songs to the street.
The lake begins to recognize that the way they (the lake and the speaker) feel about the changes taking place are different for them both. That being said, the lake does recognize the feelings of the speaker much better than the speaker recognizes the feelings of the lake.
Here, Ager seems to be speaking to the fact that chagne brings about different feelings for different "people" (the lake has been personified given its ability to speak).
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