Explication of “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime”
The speaker of the poem describes the harsh changes of spring in opposition with her feelings of grief. She wants to join her husband in death. The speaker, a widow, describes her yard where “new grass flames as it has flamed often before but not with the cold fire that closes round me this year” (2-5). The grass always comes in at springtime. It is different this year though because he husband is not with her. The brightness and beginning of spring is in contrast with the widow’s grief. She feels the “cold fire that closes round [her] this year (4-5). This fire consumes her this time of year because spring describes a happy time, but the widow is not happy. The coming of spring just reminds her of the happiness she once had.
The speaker then goes on to describe the colors of the flower on the “cherry branches” (11). Some of the bushes are yellow and red “but the grief in [her] heart is stronger than they” (14-15). Although the speaker used to enjoy the blooming of spring and these bushes used to be her joy, grief now consumes her. Her grief is stronger than the blooming of the trees. Nothing can make her happy anymore.
The speaker son tells her “that in the meadows, at the edge of the heavy woods in the distance, he saw trees of white flowers” (20-24). The son describes this tree with white flowers as in the meadow, in the distance, in the heavy woods. This tree is far away from the speaker whereas the trees with yellow and red bushes are right in the speaker’s yard. The white tree that is far away represents death. The speaker is close to life with the red and yellow bushes, but she wants to go the white tee. She wants to “fall into those flowers and sink into the marsh near them” (27-28). The speaker wants to join her husband in death.
Spring has a positive connotation and is a beautiful time, but the speakers emotions are in contrast with the season. She wants to go to leave the color in her yard for the white tree. She does not fit it with the color and happiness of spring.