Depot Blues Poem Analysis

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“Depot Blues,” sung by Son House, is a song unrelated to working or prison experiences. It is, however, a love song that has entertainment purposes. In Alan Lomax’s recording, House describes an experience at a train station. He desperately wants his old significant other, whether his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, who he lost to return to him. In the 4th verse, House states that if he were strong enough, “[he] would set this train off the track” (from c.d. liner notes). At this point, he is angry that his ‘woman’ is leaving him. He wishes that he could stop the train by pushing it off its tracks. However, as he looks at her in the railroad car, he exclaims, “she ain’t comin’ back no more” (from c.d. liner notes). Starting at this 5th stanza, he understands that there is nothing he can do to change the situation and knows what to expect for the future. There is a logical thread to the lyrics, similar to a narrative. One can imagine the singer arriving at the depot, frantically looking for his ‘woman,’ and sadly accepting the…show more content…
This work song is a form of distraction from his tedious task, but also sets the pace of the work. In terms of the beginning 6 verses, it is difficult to figure out exactly what he is talking about because he moves from topic to topic very quickly. Later on, the lyrics reveal that the convicts are determined to get out of prison. After experiencing the harsh conditions of prison life, they do not want anything to get in their way "Puttin' out [their] fire" (from c.d. liner notes). There is a metaphor comparing the prisoners to a house. Rafus states how he wants to rebuild himself and stay out of trouble once he returns to society. At the end, he mentions that he is "wonderin' what gonna become of [him]" (from c.d. liner notes). Even though he has goals for post-prison, he is still uncertain and worried about the course of the rest of his
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