I am not sure if this is a great poem, I rather think it too abrupt and unfinished to linger on in the mind, as great poems tend to do. Yet there is something of Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘hard and truthful’ about it that communicates unresolved sadness.
Nature is used to frame the question. The stormy context allows the question to be asked again and again, obliquely. And of course the sadness and secret anger stem from the perceptual bewilderment.
For why did the ‘you’ deliver the look of love if only to take it away again or to say it never happened? Bewilderment suggests blame here and yet perhaps it is too abstracted to have the impact of Thomas Hardy. The writer feels lost, perplexed, disorientated as their bearings have gone. I do like the temporal disorientation of the poem and the uneasy marriage it has with the romantic and spiritual communion that is now shattered or denied.
Perception is everything; the slightly obfuscating use of the verb ‘to be’ literally takes the breath away from the emotion. Indifference kills through emotional suffocation. What will time reveal of their love? How do we unlove? Love marks us forever Coleridge says or what is the point ?
The clouds had made a crimson crown
Above the mountains high.
The stormy sun was going down
In a stormy sky.
Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.
The Woman in Black
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