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Question: critically analyse the poem "A day in Autumn" by R.S.Thomas It will not always be like this, The air windless, a few last Leaves adding their decoration To the trees’ shoulders, braiding the cuffs Of the boughs with gold; a bird preening In the lawn’s mirror. Having looked up From the day’s chores, pause a minute, Let the mind take its photograph Of the bright scene, something to wear Against the heart in the long cold. By looking at the imagery
"A Day in Autumn" by R.S. Thomas is a contemplative poem that invites readers to pause and appreciate the fleeting beauty of an autumn day. The poem uses vivid and evocative imagery to depict the serenity of nature and emphasizes the importance of capturing mental snapshots of moments that we hold dear. The poem also encourages us to internalize these moments of beauty to help us cope with difficult times that may lie ahead. The first line of the poem, "It will not always be like this," sets the reflective and somewhat melancholic tone that is sustained throughout the poem. This line emphasizes the transient nature of everything around us and encourages the reader to appreciate the present moment. The poem then focuses on the imagery of nature by providing a vivid description of autumn's beauty. The scene is painted through phrases such as "the air windless," "a few last leaves adding their decoration," and "braiding the cuffs of the boughs with gold." These descriptions create a serene, almost picturesque visual of the season that the reader can easily envision. The poet makes use of personification in the lines, "The air windless, a few last leaves adding their decoration to the trees' shoulders, braiding the cuffs of the boughs with gold." This technique helps the reader to view the natural elements as living entities, thereby fostering a connection between the reader and the scene. The bracing and crisp air is exemplified by the mention of the "windless" state of the atmosphere, which creates a sense of stillness. This is contrasted with the kinetic imagery of a bird "preening in the lawn's mirror," which illustrates the movement, life, and vibrancy that can still be found within the quietude of autumn. At the heart of the poem, the speaker urges the reader to "pause a minute, let the mind take its photograph" of the beautiful scene. By using modern phrasing "take its photograph," the poet underscores the importance of saving these memories to memory, not necessarily in a physical format, but as emotional sustenance that can be kept close to the heart. Finally, the poem recognizes that life will not always be filled with warmth and joy, as indicated in the lines "something to wear against the heart in the long cold." These words serve as a reminder that the cold, bleak times await us, and it is our duty to hold dear the cherished memories we collect in order to provide solace during life's harsher moments. In conclusion, R.S. Thomas' "A Day in Autumn" is a poignant and evocative poem that beautifully captures the fleeting essence of a bright autumn day. The poem's vivid imagery and rich language craft an intimate relationship between the reader and the tranquility of nature while emphasizing the significance of savoring and preserving these moments for the times when we need them most.
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