John Hollander's An Old-Fashioned Song

1169 Words 5 Pages
Coming to a Realization
The best poems always bring up the good old times and past lovers. Artists often intertwine the two concepts in order to form beautiful narratives and thought provoking images. This is precisely what John Hollander has done with his poem, “An Old-Fashioned Song.” Throughout the 21-line poem, Hollander takes the reader on a melancholy trip that begins as a sad realization that there are no more walks through the woods, to a nostalgic story about a magical relationship between two young lovers that ended in tragic way. The poem makes use of unique and intentional literary skills, such as structure, tone, and choice words, in order to tell the story of a sad man who lost his lover and reminds himself of it by walking in
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Hollander split the 21-line poem into three stanzas. The first stanza has six lines, and it speaks about an old path that had its trees cut down and its trail overrun by brush. This idea of an old trail that has been cut down and abandoned is used as foreshadowing for the second stanza. The second stanza in the largest stanza, which consists of 11 lines. This stanza talks about the “Fields where we once made love” (line 10), and then the separation of the lovers. It is mainly a story that is used to catch the readers’ attention. Two young, carefree lovers make love in the clover fields and then walk home on this once magical walking trail that now seems to be old and abandoned. The second stanza, which began as a story of the past, reverted to the future in line 15, where it said, “Now they are gone for good.” (line 15). This sudden shift in time comes as a shock to the reader, who was enjoying a blissful description of the walking trail just moments ago. The third stanza is the shortest of the stanzas, which is ironic because in line 18 and 20, it states that “We and the trees and the way/… Lasted as long as we could.” (lines 18 and 20). The shortest stanza is talking about how long the couple could last, suggesting the relationship did not last long. The structure of the overall poem is important, but the structure of each line tells even more about …show more content…
John Hollander wrote “An Old-Fashioned Song” to speak about the sorrows of a man who lost his lover to illness. He loved her so much that he went back to the forest where it all began, so that he would be reminded of her, no matter the emotions that raged in his heart. Hollander began his poem with “No more walks in the woods:” (line 1). The poet uses the colon in order to explain why he cannot walk in the woods anymore. It is because the trees that are cut down and the trail is uninhabited. The second time the poet uses “No more walks in the woods;” (line 7), he uses a semi-colon, which connects the walk in the woods to the lover. The cut down trees reminds the poet that his lover that was “cut down” (lines 2-3). The uninhabited trail reminds him of his lover’s uninhabited body. The third and final time the poet uses “No more walks in the woods.” (line 21), he’s telling himself, I’m not going to remind myself of her ever

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