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Commentary on: In the Room of a Thousand Miles

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Introduction

Commentary on: In the Room of a Thousand Miles In the Room of a Thousand Miles is a travel poem. The poem explores travel that isn?t of the physical nature, but the travel one does in their minds. The poem starts off with the narrator sitting inside his house, writing about the things he sees through his window. ?? a neighbor walking his small, nervous dog?. This establishes the fact that the narrator is at home, and although he talks about the ?sun-blanched stadiums of Rome? and the ?waterclock in Bruges?, he isn?t physically in those places, indicating that this journey takes place inside his head. The title of the poem further establishes the mental aspect of travel, because there is no literal room of a thousand miles. The dialogic address of the poem makes the reader feel more involved with the narrator, as if the reader is experiencing this journey alongside him and is actively engaged in a conversation with him. ...read more.

Middle

The use of such short lines serves multiple purposes. Most importantly, it makes the visual imagery so vivid and dominant. ?I visualize a lion rampant on an iron shield?. The simplicity of this image, and the few words chosen to express it, gets across the point to the reader rather directly, one can easily conjure up such an image in their mind. The imagery is presented as plainly as possible, and this makes them stronger and bolder. Short lines, that are also grammatically simple (?I take a swallow of cold tea?), give the poem a more conversational feel. The poem is written in free verse, because there seems to be no proper structure or pattern. Nonetheless, the poem does contain some half-rhymes like ?history? and? its cities?, ?you and me? and ?cold tea? etc. The pace of the poem however varies through the course of the poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem starts out in the familiar setting of a house, of a person looking out their window. The narrator writes a poem about what he sees outside, only to find out that his wife rather he wrote on the many exotic places around the world. He thinks of all these places, and attempts to do as his wife said, but ultimately decides to write on what he sees outside instead. However, the short mental trip the narrator has had seems to have somehow changed his perception of what he first saw when he looked outside. The difference in tone, from jovial to serene, and the difference in tempo, from quick (?I like writing about where I am, where I happen to be sitting?) to slow (?the one that sings, pauses, then sings again.?), all indicate that the narrator?s brief travel has had a major impact on him. This mysterious ending leaves the reader disorientated and unsure, as if as so often the case with traveling. By: Jaideep Salil ...read more.

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