In this poem, the poet talks about the betrayal of a young girl’s feelings for a man. She believes in his sincerity to her as he had pleaded to her to surrender to him. She is taken in by his quiet eyes. If she had listened to advice about men who seek pleasure, she would not be in this situation. The poet advises all young girls to be careful and not be betrayed by men.
· Betrayal of love
· Personal experiences
· Relationships that are meaningful
· Don’t be naive and believe everything we are told especially in matters of the heart.
· We must be careful when choosing friends.
· Falling in love is normal but one should be careful.
· We must learn from the experience of other people.
TONE, MOOD, ATMOSPHERE
· Sad and happy
POINT OF VIEW
· Second and third person points of view
LANGUAGE & STYLE
· Simple and easy to understand
· Simple style with rhyming scheme
· Imagery – e.g. ‘pools of lies’, ‘layered in thinnest ice’
· Symbol – e.g ‘quiet eyes’, ‘dice’
· Alliteration – e.g ‘lies layered’
· Personafication – e.g The eyes were ‘breathing the desolate sighs’ as though he was talking charmingly to her.
Dealing with the obvious first, let's look at the RHYMING SCHEME: a,a,a,a... yes, the rhyming scheme is uniformed throughout the whole poem. This is IMHO the strong point of this poem. This would be an x-factor that could attract us to this poem. This poem's meaning is not entirely simple. Yet, it is verbally beautiful. The uniformed rhymes gives life to the poem.
Okay, let's settle the LITERARY ELEMENTS first before we go into the Themes and Messages. Let's do it in a checklist form:
"two pools of lies" should be the metaphore for the eyes (rite?)
I'm not sure but there's something about the phrase "thinnest ice". I personally view it as a symbolism of a heartless man or a cold-blooded "hunter", who would harbor no feelings at all towards his victims.
The way I learn it, personification is giving human quality to inanimate object. However, in this case, the eyes are'nt really inanimate object, furthermore, it's also part of the human itself. So, where does this one falls into? :
-quiet eyes: the eyes are given the quality 'quiet'
-breathing desolate sighs: the eyes are portrayed here as 'breathing',
onomatopoeia; again, even in this poem, the word 'sigh' reappear. So, can anyone tell me whether ‘sigh’ can be counted as one?
Okay, other elements like plot, setting and characters are not really apparent eventhough we could still debate that these elements exist in the poem. As for POV, it is written in a 3rd person POV. Finally, in term of tone and mood, I think that this poem sets a very mellow tone and it alludes the mood of regret and sadness.
The message in my opinion is very clear and apparent. Just like “If” by Kipling, this poem is similar in the sense that it’s trying to give you an advice, but the similarities stop there. The message here is actually an advice especially for young girls. “Don’t be fooled by appearance”, and “Looks can be deceiving” might be the suitable phrase here. What do you think?
I’d like to share some part of the poem that I found really interesting. Take a look at this;
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise
In literal meaning, this is my version: She was hypnotized by the emptiness look in his eyes, because of that she feels obligated to be nice to him, exactly the effect that he intended. In being nice to him, obviously, she’ll do anything that he asked, in order to make him happy.
This poem brings out the concept of the power of the eyes and how, since ages and ages ago (this poem is written in 1968) up till today, Casanovas all around the world are still using the same old trick and women, all over the world still fall for it.