?“Piano” shows a man recalling his childhood as he is listening to a woman singing. This poem reflects his mood of nostalgia and pathos; the speaker is longing for the simplicity and comfort of years gone by. We can discover that there is an ambiguous, harmonious tone, which is accentuated by its structure and rhyme. It also insists of rich imagery that creates a vivid picture for audiences. It is a relatively short poem that has only three stanzas, but Lawrence conveys the main theme of ambiguous, bitterness and sweetness of nostalgia simply and honestly.
D. H. Lawrence structures the poem with a simple rhyming scheme, using this rhyming pattern to mimic the form of a song. Because the music in this poem triggers a memory, it is structured and progresses much like a song. “To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside/and hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide” The piano is a guide for both himself and the reader through his recollection. The song-like rhythm to the poem tries to imitate the melody of woman’s music which prompted this memory.
As the melody evolves and his memory gets clearer, so does the poem’s structure. Apart from the fact that rhyme what seem to make Lawrence’s poem like a song. He uses a trochaic structure, stressing the first syllable of each line. This causes the effect of a song. The form creates a song-like rhythm similar to a hymn or more specifically a nursery rhyme connects the readers to their own childhood memories. The naive, or rather simplistic language in first stanza alludes to childhood as well.
For example, 4th and 5th lines of the poem: “A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings; And pressing the small poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings. ” The use of this simplistic language makes reader feels nostalgic, involving with narrator’s linkage, returning to their childhood. Although the beginning of “Piano” illustrates a child-like rhyme, the second and third stanzas have a more saddening tone.
Second stanza illustrates the poet’s hatred of betrayal of thinking back to childhood, but it is a contradiction because he mentally returns to “the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside”. In this stanza, the poet desires to return to childhood. The rhythm of the poem changes in the second stanza. The use of commas in each line of the stanza causes the reader to pause. This structure alludes to the poet’s internal struggle, which is what mentioned above -, that he does not want to tease himself by recollecting his childhood: “In spite of myself, the insidious
mastery of song, betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong”. He does not want to remember the past but desire to return it. He “weeps” in this stanza, causing him to submit to his nostalgic desires. In the last stanza, he writes, as to summarize his final point: “So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour; with the great piano appassionato”. The rhythm of this stanza makes the poem faster, in some sort similar with those endings of songs. He places a period in the middle of second line after “appassionato” making the readers stop on that musical term for passion.
Final couplet of “piano” have commas in the middle of them, creating brief pauses that separate meaningful fragments: “The glamour of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. In these final lines, it reflects the true impact of childhood memories, explains that although he is now a grown man, his mind desires to return to his childhood. Again he weeps, like a child, and depicts to the readers that the music was what causes his nostalgic memories. In conclusion, David Herbert Lawrence’s “Piano” is a poem about nostalgia, about the desire to return to childhood.
He uses the rhyming pattern of a hymn or nursery rhyme to make the poem feel like a song, while alluding to the music in the first stanza. He uses musical terms and punctuation to control the rhythm of this poem, making it more like a song. Through the use of trochaic meter and imagery, he allows the reader to feel like they are with him, listening to the music and slipping into the past. Overall, this poem shows the struggle between being an adult and longing to return to the childhood, when life was simpler and happier.