The narrator imagines his parents as young and preparing a picnic in an idyllic scene. The narrator is on the opposite bank to his parents who encourage him to join them. This could be based on a real memory, a fantasy, or the narrator on the brink of death.
Ideas and Themes:
- Family relationships
- The first 3 stanzas are describing his parents and his fondness for them.
- 4th and 5th stanzas parents talk to him about him joining them
- The poem has 5 stanzas mostly 4 lines long. Every line has nearly 10 syllables. This regular structure reflects a steady relationship with parents.
- Final line separated from others to show his separation from his parents.
- Have half-rhymes that create a gentle and natural rhythm.
- “Eden Rock”- a reference to Garden of Eden which was a perfect place so his parents could be in that perfect place now. But the inhabitants were punished for disobedience
- “My father, 25…My mother, 23”– introductions mirror each other and shows the closeness
- “The same suit…Still two years”- Memory language shows his pleasure in recounting details
- “The stiff white cloth”- White could symbol purity; it’s a heavenly and angelic color
- “Takes on the light”- The light in his mother’s hair is an angelic image
- “Pours tea from a thermos…Old H.P sauce bottle…paper for a cork”- Detailed description signifies their importance and the affection he has for the way his parents did things.
- “slowly sets out” Parent’s actions are slow and tranquil showing they are at peace
- “The sky lightens as if lit by three suns”- hints at something otherworldly which contrasts with the first few stanzas. 3 suns could show the family of 3 is reunited. Heavenly image
- “Leisurely, they beckon to me” Enjambment shows a pause in which imitates the leisurely way his father calls out to him.
- “Over the drifted stream…stream-path” This could be a death metaphor. The stream is peaceful which suggests he’ll have no trouble crossing over or killing himself.
- “Crossing is not as hard as you may think” typical of parents to encourage. Could be saying that death is painless
- “I had not thought it would be like this”. Monosyllabic language shows a child-like simplicity. This last line is ambiguous. We don’t know what “it” is. Could be death or his parents