“Contemplations” is a poem of thirty-three seven-line stanzas that consider various aspects of nature and biblical history and reflect upon their spiritual significance. The title suggests that the poem is a collection of isolated reflections, but within the poem are several sequences that each develop an idea over a number of stanzas.
The poem begins with Anne Bradstreet noticing the beauty of fall colors in New England as the sun sets. Many readers have shared the experience of delight in the beauty of nature. Bradstreet does not stop with her description of nature and the effect nature’s beauty has on her. She goes on in the next stanza to relate this common experience to her spiritual beliefs: If God is known by his works on Earth, and since nature as experienced is so beautiful, then how wonderful must God be, who created all of this. Selecting a single oak tree from all the beauty around her, the poet marvels on the longevity of the oak and is inspired to think about the spiritual parallel—eternity.
In the next four stanzas Bradstreet contemplates the sun, acknowledging its glory, which caused it to be considered a god by some societies. In language reminiscent of the biblical Song of Songs, Bradstreet compares the sun to a bridegroom rushing from the chamber to make his daily and seasonal journeys. At the end of the sequence, Bradstreet again uses the physical phenomenon as an emblem reflecting the glory of the Creator.
In the next section she describes herself wandering alone. She looks toward heaven in the hope of being able to glorify God in some way, but she is stymied by a sense of her own inadequacy. This leads her to...
(The entire section is 686 words.)