The attempt to investigate the meaning of the poem reveals not just the soul of the writer and the matters he wanted to deliver, but also expands frames of awakening, allowing to perceive the essence of creation with its primitive charm. Profound poem analysis requires research, curiosity, and imagination. I am going to mix up those three components together trying to understand what is familiar and what is not in two poems written by Carol Ann Duffy “Mean Time” and “Anne Hathaway.”
Anne Hathaway was a wife of William Shakespeare. The poem “Anne Hathaway” is written in sonnet form. The main image in the poem is the bed. It is the bed where Anne and Shakespeare slept together. The whole poem is penetrated with tenderness to the man and his creative work. This poem is very inspiring and not a single allusion of the sorrow. It is all about love, passion, and admiration for Shakespeare’s poetical genius.
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On the other hand, we have the poem “Mean Time.” The name of the poem seems to have a dual meaning. Literally “mean time” can be the average sunny time of the day or just the interval between two events. “Mean time” can also be the time that is mean, cruel, evil, or spiteful. As soon as the poem’s theme is ending relationships and love that will never be back again, I think that mean time of the time interval, when the people are just separated, they are carrying the pain of inevitable loss in their hearts and realize that they will never be together again. Through the whole poem, I can hear unbearable grief that is impossible to handle. It is not in their strengths to change anything.
“Anne Hathaway,” as I have already mentioned, is written in the sonnet form with traditional fourteen lines. It just enhances the impression from the poem and intensifies the admiration of author with Shakespeare’s talent. As far as structure is concerned, “Mean Time” is written in four stanzas, each has four lines. This poem is written in free verse with an open rhyming scheme. There is also not much punctuation there. To my opinion, such structure of the poem shows that the perfect rhyme does not fit the case when the heart and soul suffers a loss. The sense of inconvertible loss is reflected in the surrounding environment. The language and diction of the poem are rather simple, though many metaphors are involved.
In the poem “Mean Time” the person is walking along with his thoughts. “The light” was stolen from his life, which is the sense and meaning of life. “Light” is also mentioned in the last stanza and I can assume that light is life. Light comes from the sun and sun is the source of energy for all living creatures on our Earth, and therefore light is pure life. Here the author is speaking about this loss of life. She speaks of it with obedience and unavoidability, and may with a small fear of unknown. The whole scene of the poem is full of metaphorical images – clocks, rain, darkening sky. All those are the signs of coming fall, the fall in the relationships of the author. Walking through the wrong part of the town symbolizes that with the loss of love, the person lost the home, the place where he belongs. All adjectives introduced in the poem are very predictable- the rain is unmendable, and the sky is darkening, and the light is stolen. Rain is usually the symbol of grief and tears. The fact that rain is unmendable just reveals that nothing can be fixed and there will not be the happy end when the rain stops, and the sun will come out of the clouds. Just as the authors love – it is gone, there is no way back. The author emphasizes that it is the only thing left to share speaking about “our mistakes in the eighth line, There was “our love” and “our mistakes.” Love is dead, and mistakes are left. The word “our” also shows that both people in the relationships were equal and there is no blame and anger on another person in the poem.
Carol Ann Duffy uses the device of alliteration in the poem “Anne Hathaway”- “My living laughing love.” The poem is written in the narrative style, as she is telling the story of love and relationships. Sexual and poetic matters supported with vibrant metaphors are interconnected in the poem. The writing style is also a little bit ironic and very intelligent. The author describes life with Shakespeare with various metaphors- spinning world of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas, diving for pearls, etc. To my opinion, it is all referred to their diversified life or sexual relationships. Anne Hathaway tells us that she loved her husband very much and admired his writing talent. Literary and love-making words are mixed constituting the passionate image of their life. It is all portrayed in a very delicate manner. Guests from the other bed are also mentioned dribbling their prose, which shows indulgence and a little of contempt to those who are not able to write brilliant poetry. I can see some Biblical motives here, from the Genesis when the woman was created out of the man when Ann is dreaming that he had written her. In other words, her feelings and admiration reach the highest level of acceptance of world spiritual organization- first comes the man and then the woman. The poem is ended with two lines, which is a rhyming couplet, exactly as in Shakespeare’s sonnet, which brings the poem the sense of unity with something immoral. The sexual context of “Anne Hathaway” seems so obvious, but I believe that Duffy used this device to show her intimate spiritual connection and express her adoration with writing talent of William Shakespeare.
In the conclusion, I would like to summarize that regardless different theme, structures, language and stylistic devices, both poems of Carol Ann Duffy “Anne Hathaway” and “Mean Time” are deeply sensual, charismatic and distinctive. They leave no chance to the reader to question their background and to blame the author in insincerity.
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