After the Flood - Commentary
After the Flood by W.S. Merwin is a descriptive poem giving an account of the destruction caused by a flood in Jersey. The poem is written from Merwin's point of view and this we to know of the events of the flood through his narration. Merwin observes and portrays the loss and damage caused by the flood. His thoughts are valued by the reader because he is no stranger to Jersey and the river, and he feels a sense of loss and sadness when he sees its condition. He is well familiar to the place yet he fails to get its image to match with his memories of it.
We feel he is reminiscing because in the first line he says "..,I walked.." and also on line 15 he says "Two days before..". The line, "Things I felt I must surely remember they looked so Familiar,.." confirms that the destruction caused has left the place unrecognizable to the poet. The poet's reference to the wreck and foliage on line 8 as 'exotic-looking gives zest to the destruction to say its anonymous appearance was quite striking. The poet seems relatively calm and composed despite the chaos. He does not seem to get hysterical nor panicky about the visual predicament before him. His expertise about Jersey, and having lived through seeing its beauty was a blessing and now a curse as he can now work out the intensity and magnitude of the damage.
The poem mostly revolves around the river which has a twin personality in this case. The poet starts off by giving us a beautiful description of a park and a river in the summer to make the setting dwell swiftly into our minds, only to follow it up by explaining the terror that beheld him. Even though the river was considered exotic and beautiful by the poet, it was the reason for so much loss and suffering. The destruction is a direct consequence of the flood and it can easily be said that the river was responsible for the damage and loss. The author explains in the beginning that the river bank was higher in that side of Jersey and...