- The poem has four stanzas of varying lengths. The first stanza describes the harmonium as it stands, ready to be discarded. The next is a closer investigation of the instrument, with detailed descriptions of its parts. The third stanza considers the history of the instrument. The final stanza, which describes carrying the harmonium from the church, is concerned with the relationship between the speaker and his father.
- Language: Reality and honesty as he uses brand name and places - modern world.
- Imagery: The third stanza uses an interesting metaphor to describe the choir. The singers"opened their throats/and gilded finches - like high notes - had streamed out". The metaphor of the voices sounding like golden birds is combined with a simile of the"high notes" to create a very positive and joyful image of the past.
- Imagery: human qualities, personified.
- Imagery: Although the poem is literally about a musical instrument, it is also about ageing and how a son takes the place of his father as time passes. The speaker uses parallelism, a form of repetition in which syntax (structure of words in a sentence) is repeated: "And he, being him, ... And I, being me,". This use of a repetition intensifies the relationship between father and son.
- Comparisons: Nettles, Praise Song for My Mother
- Themes: Regret. The poem is possibly about regret too. The harmonium is "gathering dust/in the shadowy porch", and by saving the instrument there is an attempt to preserve the memories it provokes in the speaker. The final lines have a sense of failure about them, as if the speaker feels something has been lost which he is unable to recapture.
- Language of ordinariness
- Father smokes, suffering effects from it, similar to the Harmonium "yellowing"
- "Hummed harmonics" -soft alliteration, triggers past thoughts.
- "Woolen socks" - sound of organists feet wearing away - connotations of death.
- The title could suggest that due to the simplicity of the word, it contrasts to the poem as he indirectly talks about his relationship with his father.
Similar English Literature resources: