The Poem “Lament”
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There is a sense that there is some feeling between them with the words ‘or too much’. Perhaps there is something left between them, but because of the lack of communication they don’t know how to express it anymore. It would be so out-of-the blue now that they don’t dare show it.
The line ‘chastity faces them, a destination for which their whole lives were a preperation’ is the most negative in the poem. It basically tells us they will never be intimate again, never have sex, and this is the way they were always doomed to end up. We can infer that Jennings thinks this is the way we will all end up.
In the last stanza we see a similie, ‘Silence between them like a thread to hold and not wind in’. Both the man and woman are aware of the silence. They are holding onto it- standing seperately. The act of winding in that thread would be having a conversation, and they are both too scared to do that, as that may result in them having to admit that their relationship has gone wrong and there isn’t anything left to salvage.
In the last two lines we learn that the poem has been written from the point of view of a daughter. This tells us although she may have a good idea of the relationship between her parents, she is not an omnipotent narrator, but her view may be affected by her relationship to the parents. I would imagine that she would be writing this poem in her late teens or early twenties. She also suggests the couple has a passionate relationship, ‘whose fire from which I came has now grown cold’. This looks at her as a product of fire, or passion and love, which has now dissapeared and only the loveless shells of her parents remain.
The poem is a negative view of couples who have been together for a number of years. It looks at relationships as doomed to fade and love to be an entity that disappears. The second stanza looks into the past and future of their relationship. The are tossed up like ‘flotsam’- like wreckage from a ship. They are the leftovers of a former passion, floating aimlessly.