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Symbol Analysis

Think more Blue Lagoon than Waterworld. The water images in this poem are all about love. Many of the water images come at the beginning of the poem, which could be related to springtime and new life. They also are almost always related to the beloved—she is often compared to water, rain, and bodies of water. When you consider the fact that water brings life to the world, you'll understand the importance the speaker is giving to his beloved by comparing her to that source.

  • Lines 1-2, 4-6: All of these images of water involve a curve or a doubling back, which gives them a circular shape, like the structure of the poem. 
  • Lines 9-13: The water in these lines has the power to tell the future, and is all-encompassing. The "reign of green" is a metaphor for the sea.
  • Lines 58-64: The beloved's body parts all "rain" onto the speaker, as though they were bringing him to life. 
  • Line 65: The speaker compares the beloved's body to a river in a simile. We're betting she takes that as a compliment.
  • Line 107: The balconies of rain connect the adolescent girl to the lover described earlier, who rained onto the speaker. 
  • Line 133: The sea is personified here and given the power to write on stone, which reminds us of the speaker, who also writes. 
  • Line 181: Time is compared to the sea, which comes back and forth with the tide, in a metaphor
  • Lines 189-190: Here water, which we have seen is usually related to life, gets into a battle with fire, which is related to death. The speaker is burning and searching for water, but finds none because the lover is dead. 
  • Lines 402-403: The beloved is compared to a river in this metaphor, perhaps in a reference to life yet again. 
  • Lines 406-407: Since the speaker is remembering his beloved as alive, the sea simile returns. 
  • Lines 416-420: In this extended metaphor, the body and soul are compared to ships set adrift in the ocean.

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