“And if thou wilt, forget.”

Christina Rosetti’s poem, “Song,” fascinated me. In this poem, the speaker is telling a loved one not to mourn them when they die, because life will go on. Rosetti structured the poem in two stanzas, each presenting the idea of memory in a contrasting way. The title of the poem, “Song,” works with the way Rosetti structured her poem in some variation of iambic tetrameter and trimeter, giving the poem song-like rhythm. By doing that, Rosetti not only gives the poem flow but also makes it memorable, which further enunciates this idea of remembering and forgetting. The last two lines of each stanza present the act of remembering and forgetting in the same manner and by doing so emphasize that there is little difference between the two and memory happens my chance. The speaker is telling their loved that their memory of them will in no way affect them because they themselves will be dead, therefore may or may not remember.

Wolfe and Wilder, in Digging into Literature, discuss the importance of genre, or verse form in poetry, as an important part of the puzzle when close reading. In a poem, the structure and the form of the poem contribute to the meaning of it, both for surface and depth arguments. Rosetti uses the form to depict how it is useful to the understanding of the poem.

And it is only fitting that this is the poem that I write my last blog post about for this class. From everything that I have learned in here, I may remember some, and some I may forget but I know that by chance, I will happen upon so forgotten memory, and remember something I did not know I remembered. And when that happens I will think of this day, and this poem and this class, and quite possibly some sassy comment by Dr. Bowden, and everything else that I will be taking away with me this semester. Because memory works in inconsistent ways, for “Haply I may remember / And haply I may forget” (Rosetti).

 

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