Poetry is an art where the poet plays around with words to pass a message that is always hidden in a few words. Poets concentrate in using a few words imaginatively, arranging the words in a creative ways such that a very long story is told in very few words. Also, poetry has to sound as good music to the listener. Poets from different parts of the world always take reference in things that are found in their environments. This fact is what always brings out the difference in the way in which poems from various regions of the world can be compared and contrasted with each other. The same can be said about poems done in the context of the United States of America and those done in the Middle East. By and large, the differences are seen through the terms of reference because these two regions of the world have attributes that are distinct from each other.
When we put the poem This Moment by Eavan Boland to perspective, there is so much that can be said about it considering the way he just uses a few words to illuminate on ordinary domestic life. “This Moment” is a poem that depicts intense tenderness that entails ordinary events. In fact, Boland uses very short sentences to bring out nature at its best. Through the poem, images that are sensual and suggestive language are used in order to bring out the climax that culminates at an end of the day that brings nature together. Boland appreciates the happenings of everyday life. Such images are, among others, the ripening of an apple, which is a very slow process that many people do not remember to care about it. Such is an incident, that does not call on people to take notice, but she captures it in such a way that it contributes to the overall theme of this short poem.
Imagery in this poem reflects nature and the cosmos. A story is told from an onlooker’s perspective, one who seems present but absent at the same time. The setting is chosen very carefully, a neighborhood that is full of life that suddenly lets in the loneliness of an evening, where children are taking their places in the houses and homes whereas the streets are left empty. The poet then invites everyone to have a look at what is happening together with her. When the home of Boland is put against this context, it suits in perfectly. At the time, she was living in the suburbs of Dublin. She may have known the suburb and the goings on and therefore choose to pen them down without necessarily mentioning names. But then, the image remains in the background as the poems relates to any street in the world.
There is one thing that makes this poem stand out and be identified as a work of art and not a mere means of self expression, which is anonymity of the subjects that the poet uses. The anonymity for sure gives the poem a universality that makes it be identified to ant part of the world because there are no connotations that single out any part of the world. The happenings in the poem can happen anywhere. The world then comes out as a place that is in constant flux, where even the “.rinds slanting around fruit” (Boland 497) bring out the subtle magic way in which things happen. The description amounts to an image that brings out the natural yet continuous way in which things happen without humans having to lift even a finger.
Such are the moments that bring out life at its best. There is a force that makes these things happen the way do in order to complete a certain cycle of life.
If one can look at the poem from another angle, the image of light comes out clearly as one that is used to paint the way in which things happen out of sight without people caring much about them. It is no wonder that she starts the poem by taking reference to “A neighborhood/ At dusk” (Boland 497). It is at dusk, when the night approaches that the world is covered with darkness. When there is no light, nothing can be seen, and when this is the case, all that will happen in the darkness will be happening out of sight, and no one will see. Perhaps things’ happening out of sight is symbolic of the way people fail to take stock of the simplest things that happen in their lives. The approaching dusk then could signify the daily distractions that keep people away from noticing nature and how it takes it course. This fact could further be brought out by the way in which the ripening of an apple is referred to in the poem and the way people fail to see how the ripening process occurs.
The poem also paints an image of how family life comes in to take the space that was initially occupied by street life. During the day, children are depicted to be out playing. At the right time when the children can play no more, they have to return home, to their parents. And thus, the picture is painted of how, “A woman leans down to catch a child/who has run into her arms/this moment (Boland 497). As dusk approaches, it announces to everyone that it is time they called it a day and it is at this point that the children who have been out playing in the streets all day have to return into the safe arms of their mothers. The embrace of a child and mother takes on a deeper meaning of the impending night, and all that it will bring on to the surface of the earth. Otherwise, the mother may not have come out to pick up her child. Children have to return to their families where it is warm and secure, away from where things happen out of sight.
It is funny how the poem creates a particular moment in time. It is the time when not only human behavior changes, but also light changes and this insinuate something about things that happen all over the world. It is at this precise moment when stars are almost coming out of their hideout to light up the sky. It is at this moment when one of the house windows is deep yellow implying that the household has put on lights and ready to take on the night. The woman is about to pick up her child and soon all the children and families will be safe inside their homes. Change is inevitable, and it is at this point that there is a transition from one point of time to the next. The poet seems to be concentrating on this change that comes when dusk approaches and night time comes. The main image which is seen throughout the poem is this inevitable change that everyone has no option but to accept. It is against such a background that a person will get to understand the overall theme that Boland talks about in the poem.
The character traits of motherhood that are put on display in this poem act as a gauge that can measure the way this poem come out artistically. It is well known the world over, that mothers play an integral role in the lives of their children. But it is not a routine happening that mothers are always there to pick up their children and take them in at the end of the day. At least not in this era and age, when mothers go out of their homes to go and work in order to provide for their households. In this case, mothers are brought out as caring and, therefore, help in the creation of this poem by giving an experience that is in many parts of the world identifiable to women. These mothers prepare meals and for bedtime and then come out to pick their children and take them in for the night. Their warmth and caring nature stands out as one major theme of this poem. One, therefore, cannot ignore the fact that it is the nature of women as mothers that are brought out in the poem. Mothers in this poem give meaning to the nature of mothers when it comes to caring for their households.
There are many other stylistic features which are used in the poem that have helped in bringing out the overall image of love and tenderness of this moment in time. Among the several of them, the soothing and calm tone adds to the beauty and joys of motherhood that are brought out in the poem. Many people do not stop to take a breath and enjoy not a single moment in time. They are not to blame because this is where the world is at the moment. But the entire poem celebrates a very concrete image which is a description of an evening that is not specific to any specific part of the world. The image is engraved in the mind of the reader in an easy way. There is the image of flying moths; there is an image of a child running into the arms of his mother, there is also the visualized image of a ripening apple, lighted windows, dark tree as well as the rising stars. They enable the poem come out easily and can be easily understood by anyone reading it. This moment that has been captured by Eavan Boland is serene and indeed beautiful. It is a call for anyone to take a moment and enjoy a moment in time. A time where there can focus on a little detail that can make life worthwhile. These are the moments that make life beautiful and indeed.
Work Cited. 2012
Kirszner, Laurie, G. & Mandell. Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting & Writing. Eight Edition. Belmont: Cengage Learning