When We Do Not Us Return Poem Analysis

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The two balanced stanzas of this poem form a well reasoned reply to the Movement writers’ challenging rejection of religious belief, myth, and obscure literary illusions. The first stanza consists of an elaborate rhetorical question supported by several intervening questions which express the speaker’s concern for the loss of the framework by which levels of consciousness can be organized and understood.“ If the myth’s outworn, the legend broken”: if the cultural forms are no longer available to interpret present experience and to establish links with the past “then what kind of lives have we”(Jennings ,TCP 39).The myths and legends which enable us to see resemblances between past and present experience have been exhausted: they are useless even within the child’s story / Since he sees well they now bring light no longer/ Into our eyes.” In the final lines of the stanza, the speaker uses language suggesting poetic inspiration and illumination to ask: “By breathing on them? Is there any taper/ that will return the glitter to our eyes? (39)
The rhetorical strategies of the poem alter in the second stanza, as the stately progression of long lines creates the impression of a well thought out, patient response to the questions of the preceding stanzas: “We have retreated inward to our
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