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“The Farewell” by Edward Field is a very interesting poem with an
almost undecipherable meaning. However, upon serious judgment, some readers
may reach the conclusion that this poem is about sexual intercourse. There
are many allusions that would lead the readers to believe this. The speaker
is discussing his feelings as he is losing his virginity. He is too proud
to admit to this mistake, and even while he is doing it, he has his doubts.
The first verse just tells the readers that the speaker is doing something
that people have told him to, even though he isn’t entirely sure about it.
In the second verse, the readers can guess what he is doing. Line 5 says
“naturally it gaps open”, which could represent his partner’s genitals.
Then, he says that he “slide[s] erectly into the water.” This could easily
be related to the act of making love. The “captain’s helmet” mentioned in
line 8 could represent a condom. His “sad smile” stands for his
bitter-sweet emotions on doing this. “Goodbye my darlings, goodbye dear
one,” can also be used to support the conclusion. The readers can argue
that the darlings that the speaker is bidding farewell to are the people
who trusted him, and the dear one is his virginity. At the end of the poem,
he says that the “ice meets again over my head with a click.” This could be
the girl closing her legs as he exits. Although the meaning is somewhat
hard to understand, there are some factors that could force the readers to
believe that the speaker is talking about losing his virginity.
The poem has no set rhyme pattern, rhythm or meter. Alliteration,
consonance and assonance are scattered around the poem, but not very
extensively. The readers can guess that the speaker is male because the
poem is very emotionless, and if a female wrote it, it would have more
intense descriptions about how she felt. The poem does not really leave the
readers with a set mood; it is not happy, nor sad. However, it does leave
the readers with a few strong images in mind. While reading the poem, the
readers can imagine a man stepping out proudly on ice, knowing that he will
die. He waves goodbye to people standing around the shore supporting him,
and he steps forward without looking back. But soon, the ice starts
cracking and melting and he falls into it without being sad or regretful.
Smart Kid from Azerbaijan
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