Essay On “Year’s End” By Ted Kooser And “Wild Nights- Wild Nights!” By Emily Dickinson
Poems contain an overflow of emotions that the poet recalls in a state of solemnity. Both Ted Kooser and Emily Dickinson pour out their powerful feelings in their poems “Year’s End” and “Wild nights- Wild nights!” These poems both focus on the theme of love, but the authors employ different tone, symbolism and metaphorical language in exploring this single theme.
“Year’s End” and “Wild nights- Wild nights” revolve around the motif of love. Kooser’s first line reads, “Now the seasons are closing their files/ on each of us.” (Kooser, lines 1-2) This passage signifies an end of a relationship. The poet employs this powerful metaphor to compare nature of love with the ever-changing seasons. Summer will soon turn to winter like lovers whose feelings are once like fire, but turn cold after some time. Kooser points out that everything changes. Everything has an end. In the 5th line the poet states that, “Someone we loved/ has fallen from our thoughts,” (Kooser, lines 5-6) These two lines suggest that although romantic relationship ends, the memory of a past love remains. People will inevitably reminisce the love that they have once shared with their previous partner. The taste of their lips may still linger. The happy moments that they have enjoyed when they were still so in love would visit one’s thought once in a while. The 5th and 6th lines only prove that while relationship are prone to change, memories are eternal. From the dismal tone of going through a relationship that ended, Kooser switches into a more positive tone by saying that “not much has happened;/ we fell in love again.” (Kooser, lines 9-10) These lines reaffirm the reality that when one relationship or love ends, another begins. People does not need to live in despair for the rest of their lives when their partner falls out of loving them. After all the excruciating nights of thinking how to get him/her back, of wishing that he/she was still there, of regretting that a wonderful relationship has to end, of crying for all the right and wrong reasons-- one should accept the fact that nothing is permanent. The poet emphasizes that while it is a painful experience to lose the one we love, and their memories will be a frequent visitor of our thoughts, he must learn to go on with his life and allow himself to love again. At the end of the poem, Kooser states his conclusion by using a powerful symbolism. He says, “finding/ that one red feather on the wind.” (Kooser, lines 10-11) The red feather symbolizes love while the wind signifies its uncontrollable nature. By employing these symbols, the American poet leaves a significant message to the readers. This message states that it is beyond human power to make someone love them continuously or love them back. Love like the wind is more powerful than the dictate of human reason. Like the wind, love exercises its freedom. Kooser boldly tells the readers that when their partner fall out of love, they can do nothing about it. They must let him go while they must also learn to love again.
Like Kooser, Dickinson expresses her feelings and longing about a lost love in her poem “Wild nights- Wild nights!” However, instead of a depressing tone she uses a lively tone. She employs a tone of utter yearning, agitated wish and imaginative visualization that mirror the persona’s eagerness to be in her lover’s arms in soonest urgency. This tone is attained through Dickinson’s consistent employment of exclamation points and hyphens. In the second line, she wishes that, “Were I with thee,” (Dickinson, line 2) they would spend wild nights together. The 2nd line signifies the absence of the speaker’s lover. She uses the term “luxury” to mean pleasure and imagines that if only her love was there, they will spend a night of long and deep pleasure. Her longing was so intense that she can “Futile - the winds -” (Dickinson, line 5) This line suggests that nothing could stop the persona from reuniting with his love. She imaginatively proclaims that being with him even for a night would be a taste of “Eden.” Dickinson uses this beautiful symbol to suggest the intensity of the persona’s longing that once it is satisfied, it would bring her a feeling of being in a paradise. The last line of the poem is a powerful metaphor that says, “Might I but moor - tonight -/ In Thee.” (Dickinson lines 11-12) The speaker compares herself to a secured ship anchored on her beloved which reflects her deep yearning towards him.
Although Kooser and Dickinson have employed different poetic devices, they were both excellent in conveying their messages. Kooser thoughtfully relates one’s acceptance of losing a loved one while Dickinson faithfully expresses one’s strong longing for a lost or absent love. Both poets have employed powerful symbols and moving metaphorical language that gives their poems their individual appeals.