The Poetry Place

Eden Rock

This is one of the poems where everything hangs on the last line.  The poem makes complete sense all the way through and then – bang – the last line makes you go ‘What?’

The disjunction between the rest of the poem and the last line is made more obvious by the gap between them and the change of tense.  Notice also that it is not until the last verse that the writer is mentioned: ‘They beckon to me. I hear them call’ – that’s all. Everything else is about the mother and father. 

So the question everyone asks is – what is ‘it’ in the last line?  And how far does the previous line help – or hinder?

This is a question which is ripe for discussion rather than a definitive answer.  Why not try a diamond ranking activity or a similar exercise? These could be your statements:

Growing up – crossing over into adulthood


Doing something brave or challenging


Remembering my childhood – so painful


Remembering so vividly


Remembering my childhood – so full of happy memories


What have I missed out?  Probably something quite significant. If so, add it to the collection. This shows that we ‘teachers’ can be placed somewhere where we, too, are uncertain.

= = = = = = = = =

  • The picture and the events are recalled in great detail. Is the poet really remembering it all?
  • Could the writer be creating the whole scene, just as a novelist does?
  • What else might account for the level of detail – a rediscovered photo, perhaps?



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