Summary and Analysis
Born in 1884, Sara Teasdale was a prolific poet known for her candid and passionate poetry, often written in classical forms. She is best known for her later collections of poetry, such as Flame and Shadow (1920), Dark of the Moon (1926), and Stars To-Night (1930). Teasdale’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” was published in Flame and Shadow. The poem, published two years after the end of World War I, reflects Teasdale’s poetic style and is a prime example of her anti-war poetry.
The poem is comprised of six couplets. It is in the heroic couplet form, in which each stanza is a rhymed couplet. Each couplet is in tetrameter, with four beats or stressed syllables to a line. The succinct form and repetitive rhyme scheme highlight the cyclical and simple aspects of nature presented in the poem.
Line by Line Summary and Analysis
“There Will Come Soft Rains” begins with the subtitle, “(War time),” placed in parentheses. Much like establishing a time and setting for a play, this denotes what context the reader should situate the poem in. In strong juxtaposition to the subtitle, the first couplet introduces aspects of nature that are wholly unrelated to war and are set in an unspecified future time.
- In line one, the speaker predicts that “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground.” This highlights that currently there are no gentle or “soft” rains. Instead, readers may feel that in “war time” rain is hard, unpleasant, or overtaken by the figurative rain of bullets or bombs.
- Line two describes “swallows circling with their shimmering sound.” This line shows the natural world through vivid imagery, alliteration, and internal rhyme within the couplet. The imagery may elicit feelings...
(The entire section is 919 words.)