River Carol Ann Duffy
DescriptiveUse if Imagery Stanza 1 Down by the river, under the trees, love waits for me to walk from the journeying years of my time and arrive. I part the leaves and they toss me off a blessing of rain. Personification Natural world reacts Whole life
Analysis • Main theme identified in the first line ‘Love’. • Idea of a journey of present, so her life has been building up to meeting this person. • The leafs give the narrative voice a ‘blessing’ indicating a positive reaction from the natural world upon discovering their ‘love’.
Stanza 2 Personification The river stirs and turns consoling and fondling itself With watery hands, its clear limbs parting and closing. Grey as a secret, the heron bows its head on the bank. Animals mentioned, natural world
Analysis • Large use of personification during the stanza, emphasises how a water flows and moves. Often compared to a journey like life or a love story in this case. • Mention of the heron suggests the river is a source of life and things rely on it.
Stanza 3 Metaphor I drop my past on the grass and open my arms, which ache as though they held up the heavy sky, or had pressed Against window glass all night as my eyes sieved the stars; Great weight Hopes/dreams
Analysis • Looking from a window suggest hopes of something else. • They have lifted a weight from them and now relieved upon seeing their ‘love’. • They ‘drop their past’ perhaps to start a new future.
Stanza 4 open my mouth, wordless at last meeting love at last, dry From travelling so long, shy of a prayer. You step from the shade, and I feel love come to my arms and cover my mouth, feel Great lengths to seethem Enjambment Physical presence
Analysis • Finally meets their ‘love’. • Suggests they have gone to great lengths to get here and meet them. • Talks about the love in an impersonal way using words like ‘you’ and ’love’ Instead of names. Suggests lack of knowledge about them. • Like starting something new
Stanza 5 Metaphor my soul swoop and ease itself into my skin, like a bird threading a river. Then I can take a look love full in the face, see who you are I have come this far to find, the love of my life. Cesura Not know
Analysis • Suggests they are comfortable now. • Mentioned a river again like a constant flow through the poem and their journey there. • ‘Who you are’ confirms unkown knowledge of them. • Breaks in the middle of lines break the flow.