Analysis Of Time Does Not Bring Relief

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In the infinite ring of loss and love lies the blazing flame of human passion, which engenders both burning desire and searing pain. The blistering loss evokes a plethora of sensations, ranging from hatred to yearning. Although the flames of love scorch grief into every hearts, each individual ultimately decides how to utilize the inferno to their advantage. Some people, like the speaker of “Time Does Not Bring Relief” by Edna St. Vincent Millay choose to neglect the flames and hope they will extinguish themselves. Others, like the narrator of “Gouge, Adze, Rasp, and Hammer,” by Chris Forhan utilize the fire to illuminate their path to the future. With the purposeful choice of tone, imagery, and words, these poems profoundly illustrated the speakers’ perspective in unsuccessful love.

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Scalded by the untamed flames of her emotions, the speaker of “Time Does Not Bring Relief” recounts her failed relationship with a livid tone. She initiates the poem by accusing humans of deception, asserting that, “You all have lied who told me time would ease me of my pain!” Instead of allowing her love-afflicted burn to heal, she continues to inflame the wound and express agitation at “last year’s bitter loving.” She attempts to smother the warmth of her bittersweet memories, standing “stricken” each time she reminisces about her lost love. Similarly, the speaker’s pessimistic perspective manifests in her dreary imagery. Rather than acknowledging nature’s timeless beauty, she focuses on the “weeping of the rain,” which fails to extinguish her yearning for her lost love. “At the shrinking of the tide,” the speaker’s memories of her past relationship continue to rage intensely. She emphasizes that the snow on the mountainside gradually melts into water and laments that her pain refuses to abate. Furthermore, the speaker meticulously chooses words to depict her utter desolation. She classifies her loss as an abiding “pain” rather than a disappointing heartbreak, and she claims that her lover’s memory haunts a hundred places. Her “fear” of past memories combined with the repercussions of her loss, results in a “burden heaped” on her heart.

On the contrary, the speaker of “Gouge, Adze, Rasp, Hammer,” douses the flames surrounding his heart with his optimistic tone, glorious imagery, and hopeful diction. Life initially seems meaningless to him following his romantic break-up, but he eventually learns to “practice amiability,” allowing his heart to recuperate. He seeks “comfort in the constancy of nature,” relishing in the elusive joy that he manages to capture. Additionally, the speaker “admires the lowly gouge, adze, and hammer,” carpentry instruments which provide a respite from his agonized, burning heart. Similar to the speaker of “Time Does Not Bring Relief,” he also relies on imagery to illustrate his emotions. However, he provides a positive connotation through his descriptions of nature’s grandeur. During his recovery from heartbreak, the speaker notices the subtle beauty of the “sweet lilac that strains so hard to win attention.” He starts to praise nature and realizes that endings can possess enchanting beauty when he observes the majestic orchard as the “sun slips behind scumbled cloud” at the close of another day. The speaker realizes that beginnings follow each ending, and he alludes to a blossoming romance, comparing himself to a bee that “advances on the rose” of his attention. With the addition of carefully selected words, the narrator succeeds in depicting his tumultuous emotional journey throughout the poem. At the beginning of the poem, the speaker expressed that he felt “disappointed” because he continued to survive when the flames of his romance had died. Instead of mourning the charred remains of his previous relationship, he directs his negative feelings into construction work, allowing others to admire and “envy” his handiwork. As the speaker takes pride in his tangible work, he becomes “unburdened from the memory and sight” of his romantic loss.

The imperfect realm of human life encompasses love and its ultimate price: loss. The speakers of “Time Does Not Bring Relief” and “Gouge, Adze, Rasp, Hammer” pay the price for their passion with tears and agony. They both lament and express their profound feelings by utilizing powerful tones, natural imagery, and artful diction. These individuals stood in the “weeping rain” , “drenched and chilled,” waiting for the rain to relieve their burning hearts. Their ultimate decision to either extinguish their hope or rekindle their passion differentiated these two speakers.

25 October 2019

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