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Think its good to share some thought on poetry. Please tell YOUR interpretations of these two poems.
I walked abroad in a snowy day;
I asked the soft snow with me to play;
She played and she melted in all her prime,
And the winter called it a dreadful crime.
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter — bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”
The desert is not necessarily a bad or evil place. It can be a sanctuary for tortuous souls, or a place for spiritual quests. John the Baptist likes it.
The creature though mean and evil by all appearances, is not necessarily so. The description fits ascetics who neglect all grooming from being totally lost to spiritual pursues. Devotees of many Asian self denying sects fit.
Eat: not necessarily for nourishment or a destructive act. It can be symbolic of profound empathizing or knowledge seeking. Eat naturally brings to mind the Eucharist.
Bitter…BUT I like it – implies obviously that the bitter taste is not a good taste. In the same breath he offers BECAUSE it is bitter, implying that he is exploring for insights, not after delights of the palate. But why does he like the bad taste? Perhaps simply because bitterness is proof of humanity, warts and all.
The creature finally makes peace with his flawed self.
This is Crane looking at himself in a dream. In mental wretchedness but still with enough equanimity to call his inner demon ‘friend,’ he explores his own tortuous and flawed nature, to finally come to self acceptance.
Blake being a profound social thinker, the exaggerated pathos in ‘soft snow’ must be about a lot more than just a flight of fancy. And it being so provoking and mystifying, by such renown mystic, the less than dearth of public commentaries about this poem is both hard to understand and perfectly understandable. Wonder provoking and mystifying all around– mystic, poem, public !
Discussing the poem with my friends,I found out a bit about what kind of poet he was. And then I came up with this:
If we suppose the winter as a society (a government, in fact) in which there’s no liberty or freedom as such, and the the snow as the people who have become ‘cold’ because of their government, now if you who know the truth and are ‘warm’ with it, and make make someone like yourself, warm with the truth (when you take the handful of snow, your warmth makes it warm as well), then the government will indeed it call it “a dreadful crime).
Yours is the first I’ve seen. And makes sense.
Death is in there definitely- the snow dies like some innocent naive maiden at the hand of a dangerously clumsy if romantic lover, as if death is the inescapable price of love and truth and liberty. And the paternalistic high power only tries to protect its children from all that danger, and it’s angry because the children disobey. No?
Yes that could be. The stark tone of the accusation does invite that interpretation- anger on the surface, but theatrical, hiding a devious and ironic smile underneath.
Still, the poem starts out quite brightly- celebratory of the cold weather, no traces of irony, the snow not frigid or sad, but alive and playful ‘in all her prime,’ no ? ‘Melted’ is the sad part, the anticlimax. All of which justifies the accusation.
That conflict can be resolved with this: that the lively snowy maiden is nothing but an empty artifice, a deception. But that seems too farfetched and ‘un-poetic.’ I don’t like it.
By combining yours and the ‘cold society’ theory of mine, we get:
Although at the first sight, you call it a “snowy day”; everything is covered with snow, it needs a little play; the snow will go away,so, just tolerate and persevere, you’ll overcome the atmosphere.
But, still, I don’t get the significance of soft snow, especially that the name is also Soft Snow.