What are some main themes of Edward Thomas's poem "After Rain"?

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vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Thanks for these questions!  Here are some further thoughts:

1. I wasn't sure either about the reference to "purple." I suspected that it might refer to some kind of purple flower, although this is by no means clear.

2. The leaves that look like fish are indeed black, but they are also artfully arrayed, almost as if they are part of a beautifully designed pattern, and the tone seems literally playful, rather than dark or gloomy: the leaves look

thinly spread

In the road, like little black fish, inlaid,
As if they played." [emphasis added]

3. Some apples are simply yellow in color (rather than red).  Here, the yellow apples add a bright color to the poem and are explicitly described as "lovely":

yellow apples lovely to see

In any case, these are excellent questions, and I agree with you that "purple" is a bit confusing.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One theme explored in Edward Thomas’s poem “After Rain” is the age-old topic of mutability, or earthly change. The change in this case has been caused by a heavy autumn rain that has lasted for a day and a half, stripping most trees of most of their remaining leaves and thus transforming both the trees and the ground beneath them.  In the daylight of the second day, the speaker can see the change that has occurred:

. . . all that has
Been left by November of leaves is torn
From hazel and thorn
And the greater trees. (8-11)

Rain, which we normally consider a symbol of life and renewal, has here been partly destructive, and yet, of course, the rain has only hastened a process of change that was inevitable: the leaves would eventually have fallen in any case. Change – especially the change of the seasons – is inescapable. The rain, by speeding along that change, has produced many examples of beauty:

The leaflets out of the ash-tree shed

Are thinly spread

In the road, like little black fish, inlaid,
As if they played. (15-18)

The rain, though, has not only created beauty but has also revealed potential food that had previously been hidden:

What hangs from the myriad branches down there
So hard and bare
Is twelve yellow apples lovely to see
On one crab-tree. (19-22)

In this poem, then, Thomas celebrates the natural cycle of the seasons and the beneficent processes of nature. The landscape changes thanks to the rain, but the change is not unwelcome.




Sources:
skampani's profile pic

skampani | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

i have a few doubts:

1.does the 6th line of the poem 'of a purple hue' give an imagery of a shadow of the trees? if not, what does it refer to?

2. you have mentioned that "The rain, by speeding along that change, has produced many examples of beauty:

The leaflets out of the ash-tree shed

Are thinly spread

In the road, like little black fish, inlaid,
As if they played."
But i feel that although the patchwork of leaves creates a beautiful imagery , the leaflets are spread like 'black fish'. The choice of the color black gives a very negative feeling.

3. Even in line 20-22 ,"So hard and bare
Is twelve yellow apples lovely to see
on one crab -tree," 
the color "yellow" when used to describe apples seems rather unappealing. Why do you feel Thomas chooses to do so???

This poem is lovely with all the descriptions and colors
but i don't quite understand these parts of it. Please help

 

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