The selected poem for the analysis is the one written by Americo Paredes. “The Rio Grande” touches upon the matters of life. It encourages the reader to get into the depth of his thoughts and discover the roots of life. At the beginning of the poem, the author uses a metaphor of the muddy river, which symbolizes life. On one hand, the author drives attention to the difficulties of life. On the other hand, Paredes reminds the reader to think about the clarity of life’s beginning, which encourages remembering of the purity of childhood. However, the author makes a transition between the reader’s origin and the problems faced on a daily basis. The beginning of the poem sets the tone of philosophical thinking, which focuses on the life’s obstacles, which encourage the reader to turn to the childhood as a way to keep away from stress and tension. The author uses a diversity of measures to outline the theme of the poem. It is necessary to separate the poem into several parts in order to understand the author’s intention of bringing the major idea to the reader’s understanding. It is possible to define four parts of the poem, which keep the reader focused and concentrated on the language used to penetrate the imagination and thinking in line with the selected theme.
First, the author uses the metaphor of a muddy river, which grips the reader’s attention at once and makes him think of what the author intends to say. However, it is understandable from the first lines of the poem that the author describes life with all its difficulties. The lines ‘muddy river, muddy river, moving slowly down your track’ symbolize the pace of the reader’s lifestyle (Paredes 440). It is important to mention that the author addresses every reader with the help of these lines. Personification is an important element of the poet’s intention to turn every reader to the problem reflected in the poem. The author successfully uses this technique to grasp the reader’s attention at the very beginning of his work. It makes every reader concentrate on the further flow of thoughts of the author.
Further, the first part of the poem mentions ‘swirls and countercurrents’ as metaphors of the problems faced during life (Paredes 440). At this point, the work encourages every reader to turn to his own story in the process of reading a poem. The author uses many parallels, which have a connection to the essential difficulties and hardships of daily life. In addition, this part contains a philosophical point reflected in the lines “as if wanting to turn back” (Paredes 440). It inspires the reader to think whether there is a point in coming back to the beginning and starting all over again. In general, the first four lines introduce the theme of life in the poem and set the tone of further discussions. It is obvious that theme is serious and can stimulate the readers’ deep thinking. The depth of the poem starts from the beginning and keeps the reader interested through the further reflections of the selected theme. Further, the author repeats the line in the second stanza and continues to focus the reader’s attention on the essentials of life. The poet encourages thinking about turning back to the beginning of life. However, he points the impossibility of stopping time. The author uses the same similarities and metaphors as in the first stanza of the poem in order to deepen the reader’s understanding of the theme. In the second stanza, the reader starts understanding that regardless of his desire to turn back to the beginning of life, he continues to face difficulties and obstacles. It may seem that the author tries to jump from one point to another to show the problem of life. He reflects this idea in the line ‘while you whisper, whimper, mourn’. The reader begins to think whether life is as difficult as the author reflects it in the poem.
The second part of the poem remains focused on the flow of life. The author reflects the reader’s thoughts as if reading his mind in the line ‘so you wander down your channel’ (Paredes 440). It is another example of personification, which helps the author to use appropriate imaginary language in order to keep the reader focused. It is the beginning of the stanza, which means that, regardless of the desire to change something or get back to the beginning, the life goes on. This part of the poem also has the first reference to death. It means that the author strives to draw the line between life and death. In addition, the muddy river is a reflection of events, which fill life from the beginning until the end. Further, the author continues to use personification and decides to talk about his sorrow, which he wants to hide. It is possible to declare that the author used the poem to reflect his experience and problems faced throughout life, which he wanted to vanish. The author drives the connection between himself and the reader. It is possible to claim that the author used his poem as a link of sharing his problems with the reader through the metaphors and similarities.
The next two parts of the poem continue to grip the reader’s attention in relation to the depth of the theme. The theme of life has a new form in the following lines, telling about the author’s unrest. The poet reflects his personal thoughts in the line ‘that my soul had hidden currents / that my soul resembled you’ (Paredes 441). This point may refer to the idea of love, which is also a part of life. It becomes a transitional link to another stanza, which reflects a troubled nature, which has an intention to make the reader think about love as a source of happiness. The line ‘yet compelled to travel on’ refers to the soul, which needs to continue living on Earth, regardless of the pain faced throughout life (Paredes 441). This part transfers the poem’s theme into love.
The next part intensifies the theme of love through the theme of death. It is another point, which the author wanted to bring to the reader. The lines ‘in your bosom I shall die’ become a transition to the thought of souls’ reunion as soon as the soul leaves the body (Paredes 441). The last stanza emphasizes the author’s intention to reunite with his beloved soul. It is a part, where the theme of life, death, and love cross each other in order to bring the reader’s understanding to the point.
In conclusion, it is obvious that the author managed to outline the themes of life, death, and love. It is important to mention that the author created clear transitions between the parts of the poem. It is obvious that the poem has the flow of themes, which transforms throughout the process of reading the poem. Personification became an important point along with metaphors, which penetrated the poem. Finally, it is possible to claim that the author successfully implemented his intention of keeping the reader focused both on his personal life experience and the reader’s life matters.