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The wanderer seems to be seeking both understanding and peace in this poem. He speaks of the family and friends he has lost over the years, most of them killed during war. He has been hardened by life and by battle. The narrator paints the wanderer as a lonely man...

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The wanderer seems to be seeking both understanding and peace in this poem. He speaks of the family and friends he has lost over the years, most of them killed during war. He has been hardened by life and by battle. The narrator paints the wanderer as a lonely man who is "never too hasty with feelings." Nonetheless, the wanderer feels compelled to tell his stories and share his grief.

The poet uses imagery of great stone walls, frigid landscapes, and frosty mornings to illustrate the wanderer's own coldness. He is a man who has lived many winters and who has lost many people he loved. These losses have taken a great toll on his spirit. As he shares his stories, he is sharing a part of himself that he tries so hard to keep from the world.

In the sixth stanza, the wanderer explains how he views everything on this earth as temporary: "Here is treasure lent, here is a friend lent, here is a man lent, here is a kinsman lent." He wants to share what he has learned with others so that they will not make the mistakes that he has made by being "too hasty with feelings" and "too hot with words."

The horrors the wanderer has experienced still live vividly in his memories. To find peace, and to understand all that he has been through, he talks through the memories but ultimately "sits alone with his mystery."

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