I Have a Rendezvous with Death

by Alan Seeger

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 207

Alan Seeger's poem "I Have a Rendezvous with Death" has two main characters: the speaker and Death.

The speaker reflects on life as he thinks about how spring will arrive and flowers will bloom while he must go off to war. He knows that while "Spring brings back blue days and fair," he will be fighting and be forced to face his own mortality. Life goes on, nature still changes, but his own life could be taken in war. The speaker's constant reminder, "I have a rendezvous with Death," indicates that the reality of war is always on his mind, yet he is determined to do his patriotic duty: "I to my pledged word am true, / I shall not fail that rendezvous."

Death is also a character here since the speaker feels he has an appointment with him. Death is an unknown; personifying death makes it a less fearsome entity that the speaker can deal with on his own terms: "It may be he shall take my hand/ And lead me into his dark land." The speaker knows he faces the chance of not returning home from war. However, he also knows "It may be I shall pass him still." He is determined to fight the odds.

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