Sunday, December 09, 2007

She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep

by Robert Graves

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

* * *

I thought of this poem the other day, as it began to snow. It's so short, yet so carefully done, that I don't know if I could catch all the special things it does. The rhythm of the two very short lines to vary longer lines, the repetition of the falling of the snow, and the imagery of the earth growing beneath the snow ... it all adds up to a very striking poem.

As to what it means ... I was asked who the girl is telling her love to. I'll tell you: I don't know. Perhaps she is alone as she sleeps, murmuring to herself. I rather think so, considering the snow. It could symbolize difficult times for her. On the other hand, the snow could just symbolize her sleep, like the winter sleep of the earth.


GreetingsEarthling said...

I rather think that the "girl" is a mother whispering to her child.

But that is pure speculation, utterly ungrounded.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I am a Polish student of English at the University of Warsaw. Today, or I'd rather say tonight I have read the poem. i found so many interpretations! However, I'd like to share my own one with you.
I personally think that the poem is about how the woman, uncounsiously, admit the love ( I haven't come up with the idea of whom she shares the feeling with). Definetely she says it at night, partly asleep. what cought my eyes is that the author used Earth as an example of love. Look at it - as Earth stirs in HER winter sleep - is earth her? It is so awseom how the author plays with the words:) However, I tried to figure the poem out. look at this - as earth stirs and puts out grass and flowers .. and with half words whispered low in her winter sleep ( i just mixed the phrases ) now it makes a sense. The women is messed up after wrong former relationship and she is in winter sleep - its difficult for her to open up, althought she has some wishes that maybe as earth she will handle it and with the low voice she tries to open up. If earth can survive the snow, why cannot she survive the love?
This is my interpretatuo, what do you think?