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Poetry Analysis Notes


There Will Come Soft Rains
by Sara Teasdale
interpreted by Kristen Erickson

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wil plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling theirs whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not on would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Poet: Sara Teasdale
- Born August 8, 1884 in St. Louis, Missouri
- Taught at home until her entrance into Hosmer Hall, a local private school,
where she graduated in 1903
- Traveled Europe briefly until 1907, when her first poem was published in St
Louis's weekly "Reedy's Mirror" in May

- Published "Helen of Troy", one of her most famous collections in 1911
- Awarded both the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize and the annual
Poetry Society of America prize for her collection, "Love Songs" (1918)
- Married Ernst B. Filsinger in 1914, but divorced after 15 years of marriage
- Continued to publish collections of poems until 1933, when she committed
suicide on January 29, in New York

Vocabulary: [NONE]

Type of poem:
Lyric (expresses an emotion)

Speaker: An observer, the author herself

General, perhaps the soldiers of WWI

Tone: very "matter of fact", opiniated, dramatic

Teasdale wrote this during the war, about the effects of battle on nature, which in her opinion, are few to non. Everything will continue as normal; the birds will sing, the flowers will bloom, and the rain will fall. While, humans are fighting, the natural world is content. She almost criticizes our perception of war. It is ironic that something made out to be so important can also be made out to have no impact at all. The poem puts things in a different perspective, making humans seem ignorant to think they are so superior. In fact, nature is far ahead of us to be more at peace with itself.

Structure of poem: - Traditional
- Rhyme scheme of aa, bb, cc, etc.
- Grouped as couplets, with approx. the same syllables

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

"And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn..." (line 11) Personification
"And swallows circling with tehir shimmering sound" (line 2)

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: Sara Teasdale wrote this while WWI was taking place.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly." (Lines 9-10)

© Smelli Notes 2001