by Wallace Stevens
Everybody is afraid of death, but Christian scriptures claim to have "defeated" death, because Christians will live in eternal paradise when they die. The poem calls this claim into question by arguing that a paradise without death does not make much sense. Death is thought to be necessary for change to occur.
- Lines 63-74: The extended metaphor that death is the mother of beauty is one of the most important in the poem. Without death, there could be nothing fresh and new to take the place of dead things. The poem describes some of the things that death "gives birth" to.
- Line 76: The poem seems to say that change and death are the same things. In Christianity, heaven or paradise is eternal, so there is no death.
- Lines 88-90: The poem returns to the extended metaphor of death as a mother.
- Line 107: "The tomb in Palestine" refers to the place where Christ was buried and from which he was resurrected, which is a symbol of his sacrifice and redemption of humankind.