Why does the poet use the sun as the main image in the poem?

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lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In “Count that Day Lost,” the sun is used as the main image in the poem. First, consider what sunshine means to us. The sun is a symbol not just of day, but of light and happiness. The author begins the poem with the idea of the end of day: “If you sit down at set of sun” (line 1). This fixes the idea of the sun in the reader’s head and prepares us for its mention later on. The controlling idea in the first stanza is the idea of kindness; specifically, being kind to someone. The author says that if a person is kind just once in his or her day, that is a day well spent. The kindness of a glance, here, is compared with sunshine: “One glance most kind That fell like sunshine where it went…” (lines 6-7). Sunshine brightens our days in the same way that the kind glance makes someone feel better.

In the second stanza, the main idea is that if one does not take the time in his or her day to make someone else feel better, essentially this is a wasted day. The poet uses a comparison between a smile and sunshine “that brought the sunshine to one face”(line 13).  This is an image to which we can all relate, as when someone smiles, it is like the sun coming out.

The references to sunshine in the poem are important because they are happy references. They reinforce the poet’s point that in order to really have a worthwhile day ourselves, we should bring happiness and light to someone else.

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