The poem, “Field of Autumn”, by Laurie Lee exposes the languorous passage of time along with the unavoidability of closure, more precisely; death, by describing a shift of seasons. In six stanzas, with four sentences each, the author also contrasts two different branches of time; past and future. Death and slowness are the main motifs of this literary work, and are efficiently portrayed through the overall assonance of the letter “o”, which helps the reader understand the tranquility of the poem by creating an equally calmed atmosphere. This poem is to be analyzed by stanzas, one per paragraph, with the exception of the third and fourth stanzas, which will be analyzed as one for a better understanding of Lee’s poem.
The poem begins by explaining the sluggishness of time and sets the mood for the rest of the piece. The repetition of the word “slow” was employed by the author in order to emphasize that changes in life occur very slowly and may even pass unnoticed. However, it is still important to recognize that time is progressing, but it takes so long that it’s hard to realize so. The last sentence expands on this idea by introducing “palsied apples”, comparing time’s speed of movement with that of a paralyzed being. It is also important to highlight the relevance of the syntax present in the first lines of the poem, as its analysis will lead to an interesting contrast with the last stanza. Nevertheless, in the first stanza, the author describes a “copper-coated hill”, and in fact, the author continues to describe the setting of his poem by employing a variety of warm colors to capture the true essence of autumn.
In the second stanza, Laurie Lee reintegrates the idea of time passing slowly through the line “taking the village without sound”, further explaining the stillness of the setting. A simile present in the line “like coloured smoke the day bangs fire” describes the colors in the sunset horizon, as well as the silent departure of whatever warmth the fall still conserved from previous seasons. Colors continue to be an important part of the imagery in the poem. Along with the use of these for descriptive means, the last sentence discusses the “vulture-headed sun” to be “chained” to the ground. This is a metaphor employed by the author in order to highlight that humans stand helplessly against the normal course of nature, “chained” or forced to undergo the changes that time brings. Consequently, the sun is described as forced to follow a daily routine like the one of a slave, making the sun seem like a prisoner of destiny.
The third and fourth stanzas present an intriguing juxtaposition between the past and the future, between summer and winter. The first sentences in each one, share a similarity in syntax, both describing two farm animals that advent the end of a season in two different ways. The...