Monday, 6 October 2014
Alice: The Acrostic
The poem is about nostalgia:
"A boat beneath a sunny sky,
"Lingering onward dreamily
"In an evening of July -"
and the passage of time:
"Long has paled that sunny sky:
"Echoes fade and memories die:
"Autumn frosts have slain July."
"Still she haunts me..."
- and in imagination:
"Alice moving under skies
"Never seen by waking eyes."
- and in future generations:
"Children yet, the tale to hear..."
Each generation experiences the summer:
- and successive summers:
"Dreaming as the summers die..."
- and always remembers:
"Ever drifting down the stream -
"Lingering in the golden gleam -"
In the third last line and despite the theme of transience, the word "Ever..." is used. Finally, life ends:
"Life, what is it but a dream?"
To Lewis Carroll, a clergyman, life was a dream from which we wake whereas many of us think that it is followed by a dreamless sleep. (Plato in the Phaedo: "Eternity is a single night.") Carroll reversed the metaphor in another Alice poem:
"We are but older children, dear,
"Who fret to find our bedtime near."