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What do you find interesting about the way in which Auden presents "If I could tell you"

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Introduction

What do you find interesting about the way Auden presents "If I Could Tell You". The most interesting way in which Auden presents "If I Could Tell You" is the form of the poem. "If I Could Tell You" is written as a villanelle. It is a series of three lined stanzas ending with a four lined final stanza; the purpose of this is that the shape of the poem itself complies with the message of the poem and no longer conforms to the expected pattern. Another interesting feature within the form of "If I Could Tell You" is the repeated refrain of "time will say nothing" that becomes an interrogative in the final stanza. ...read more.

Middle

The narrator's relationship with the recipient of the poem is interesting as lexis from the semantic field of love suggests a romantic relationship but also potentially a forbidden love; "I love you more than I can say". This is interesting with the context of Auden's sexuality and the poem could be interpreted as a plea to a homosexual lover. The register of the poem has a definite persuasive quality and the imagery of the "roses" that "really want to grow" could imply that a relationship needs a chance to blossom. As roses have connotations with romance. Auden uses naturalistic imagery within the poem such as the wind and the leaves to symbolise life. The origin of the wind could represent the origin of life and Auden could be suggesting that life has a purpose, just as wind does. ...read more.

Conclusion

The brooks could also be an analogy of Rupert brooks who was a famous propagandist during the war. Thus the war imagery of propagandist and soldiers running away symbolises the end of war, and the end of doing what human nature expects, and it is at this point that the narrator does not know what time will say. It is interesting that at the end of the poem it is implied that by going against expectations, you can make a difference; were as the beginning of the poem is slightly more pessimistic. When Auden says "If we should stumble when musicians play" the expected action of dancing is reversed however; "time will say nothing but I told you so" implying that by not fitting in and taking a risk, nothing will change. ...read more.

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