by Robert Lowell
Stanza 5 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill's skull,
- Now we get to know more about the speaker. He's about to describe his own experience in the town. Where before it seemed as though he might be looking through binoculars as he's telling us about the town, now it's like we've zoomed in and we're sitting right next to him in his car.
- "Tudor Ford" (or a Ford Tudor) is a type of old car (think 1940s).
- He's driving up Blue Hill.
- The "hill's skull" gives us that same chilly feeling that "red stain" did.
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
- He's driving slowly up the hill, looking for parked cars with lovers in them.
- Lowell describes the parked cars with the lights off like docked ships – "hull to hull" in keeping with the nautical theme.
- The speaker is either a very lonely, or very nosy guy (maybe both) to be paying such close attention to what everyone else is doing in the town.
where the graveyard shelves on the town. . . .
My mind's not right.
- It sounds like the graveyard is built into the hill to look like shelves above the town (here's an example of a terraced hill to help you picture the scene).
- Mentioning the graveyard continues the spooky vibe that's been scattered throughout the description of this place.
- The ellipsis (…) indicate a passage of time, or a drifting off. The speaker, talking to us again, abruptly changes focus and admits his "mind's not right."
- The fact that the speaker tells us this sheds a little light on why his descriptions of things have been sort of spooky and bleak.
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