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Subject " To a Blossoming Pear Tree
Posted by Andrew
Posted on Thu Jan 14 23:57:04 1999
From IP tp-ts01-ppp122.my.net.tw  

" To a Blossoming Pear Tree"
This poem is lamenting on being a human is worrisome and contrasts that with the carefree pear tree. Comparing the muddled secular world and serene Nature, the speaker conveys the sense of heavy, tiring and inevitability towards the drudgery of being a human. Different from other livings, human beings have emotions, which make our life burdensome.
The first stanza begins with the speaker's description of the pearl tree. The pear tree not only has a "pure delicate body" but also "beautiful natural blossoms." "You (the pear tree) stand without trembling" reflects the speaker's fear of proceeding his life and his fragile energy after the lash of cruel life. The speaker depicts the blossoms as "little mist of fallen starlight" which is "perfect, beyond my reach." Nature is presented as incomprehensible ("mist", "beyond my reach") and immaculate ("starlight", "perfect") embodiment which is strongly opposite to the rutted and chaotic human world. Even if the speaker knows that the pear tree couldn't listen, he still "tell (the peal tree) you something, something human." We can see that the speaker tries to reach out for an emotional outlet. That seemingly talking to an inexpressive pear tree is truly a self-revealing and self- pitying monologue. The pear tree serves as a sparkle igniting his discontent bomb of being himself. Later on, the speaker expounds why he envies the pearl tree by telling a story.
The second to fourth stanza is the story happening to the speaker. An old man may crave for ("Give it to me, he begged. I'll pay you anything") physical warmth ("In the unendurable snow.") and he is also in need of mental warmth-- love ("And stroke my face", "He was willing to take any love he could get"). The "singe of white beard" implies that the old man is disheveled because "singe" looks dirty and untidy. "Singe" literally means to burn slightly or scorch which suggests that the old man have already been burned or hurt by trying to get love from others (" Even at the risk of . . . just for the fun of it.") The "singe of white beard" displays the trauma left on the old man after fanning the fire of love. The third stanza can be regarded both as the remark of the old man or the speaker's imaginative address. The pronoun "it" represents the priceless and deepest belongings of the speaker. It can be love or humans' emotional connection. In the fourth stanza, both of them clash with each other. It's likely that both of them are "in the unendurable snow" and the bitter cold weather gradually numbs their bodies; however, their touch sizzles the inner and emotional boiling water which scalds them all of a sudden therefore they "both terrified, we slunk away." The sudden human contact and the formidable circumstance ("Each in his own way dodging The cruel darts of the cold") didn't bind them together, instead, they set them apart. The speaker is startled by the brash action of the old man and the old man is frightened by the flinch of the speaker. The speaker is afraid of human contact and the old man is afraid of being refused in process of pursuing a sense of belonging and love.
" How could you possibly worry or bother or care . . . ." mirrors that the speaker is bombarded by assorted emotions such as worry, bother, and care. Then the speaker speculates on the old man might take a risk of defying authority ("mocking policeman"; "young wiseacre smashingˇK") in order to get love. Compared to "beautiful natural blossoms" and "young, unburdened tree," the speaker is dragged down by much emotional attachment towards his brother. "Blood" ties him with his brother in terms of kinship and it's also the most intimate form connection among human beings. First, the speaker presents the relationship between him and a stranger, the old man. The speaker still can't help but assailed by his emotions toward the old man, even though they are strangers. If that is the case, what about the speaker's emotion towards his intimate brother? He must be much bothered by his emotional concern toward his brother than towards the old man. The speaker intends to present that emotional response make our life painstaking and tiresome unlike carefree blossoming pear tree.
This poem applies the technique of compare and contrast in order to create a sense of distance not only between human and Nature but also between human beings. Secular world is portrayed as death-like however Nature is full of vitality. For example, "an old man " , "hopeless", "white beard", "dentures", "dead groin", and "unendurable snow." Those are opposite to "young tree", "beautiful natural blossoms", "pure delicate", and "blossoming pear tree." The three times repetition of " beautiful natural blossoms" implies the speaker's adoration to Nature and abhorrence to human world. The repetition of "something" in the first stanza induces the feeling of mysterious, innermost, and burdensome. The title "To a Blossoming Pear Tree" uses the present tense to indicate that Nature is hopeful and lively.


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