Poem "Before the Sun"

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Before the Sun

The poem “Before the Sun” tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who works as a lumberjack. However, he does not seem to hate this job. On the contrary, he finds the chopping of the wood a very pleasant activity, almost like a ritual. At the end of the day’s work, he offers his food to the Sun, somebody whom he admires and respects.

The title of the story can have several interpretations, all very suggestive about the poem. Literally, it might refer to the time of the day when the Sun has not risen yet, his time to work; alternatively, it might mean that the boy “kneels down” before the Sun, as in praise, which he sees as a kind of god or protector. On a metaphorical level, it may mean that a new day is about to begin, but also the fact that the kid is on the limit between childhood and adulthood, because he works as an adult but behaves like a child: “One for the Sun, one for me”.

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The boy’s description of his routinary but apparently pleasant activity of chopping wood is very detailed indeed. He describes every moment of the process, from the moment he chops off the wood until the chips “settle down in showers on the dewy grass”, referring to the noises, smells and sights. It is clear that the kid follows this activity almost like a ritual, and enjoys every moment of it. This is exemplified when he describes the chips falling off from the wood as if it took “eternities”. The author’s choice of writing the word “arc” in a single line is ...

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