It was a Maine lobster town—
each morning boatloads of hands
pushed off for granite
quarries on the islands,

and left dozens of bleak
white frame houses stuck
like oyster shells
on a hill of rock,

and below us, the sea lapped
the raw little match-stick
mazes of a weir,
where the fish for bait were trapped.

Remember? We sat on a slab of rock.
>From this distance in time
it seems the color
of iris, rotting and turning purpler,

but it was only
the usual gray rock
turning the usual green
when drenched by the sea.

The sea drenched the rock
at our feet all day,
and kept tearing away
flake after flake.

One night you dreamed
you were a mermaid clinging to a wharf-pile,
and trying to pull
off the barnacles with your hands.

We wished our two souls
might return like gulls
to the rock. In the end,
the water was too cold for us.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Lowell's poem Water


  1. Tim says:

    Jonty , my son agrees. He sat the exam today as well. The poem is difficult for anyone to analyse!

  2. Jonty says:

    it is clearly not too hard for 16 year old, otherwise AQA would never have picked it
    and yes, i did sit this exam, today, with this poem

  3. Ellie says:

    tell me about it! I sat my GCSE this afternoon 🙂

  4. Molly says:

    This poem is imposible to analyse in a short amount of time, we just had this for our GCSE exam paper and it was FAR too difficult for what 16 year olds are capable of.

  5. Kevin says:

    Robert Lowell is dead you fool.

  6. Chelsy says:

    This poem is awesome because its about water and I’m sailor water. So maybe now you could write about stars?

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