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A Critical Appreciation of “After Rain” by Edward Thomas

The poem begins with the description of the rain that lasted for a night and a day, and the speaker notes how it has stopped at the light of a “pale choked day”. The description of the day being “pale choked” evokes a sense of gloominess and dreariness, which is in stark contrast to the brightness and colorfulness of the scene that the speaker goes on to describe.

The speaker notes that the road under the trees now has a new purple border inside the bright thin grass, and that all that has been left of the leaves by November is torn from the hazel and thorn, as well as the greater trees. This description of the landscape after the rain is incredibly vivid and beautiful, and it captures the reader’s attention and imagination.

Thomas also uses imagery and symbolism to convey deeper meanings in the poem. For instance, the description of the robin feeling the benefits of the rain, taking note of the surroundings, and delighting in October before his bleak November comes could be interpreted as a metaphor for the transience of life and the fleeting nature of joy.

In the final stanza, Thomas reflects on the cycle of life and death, describing how the dead leaves in the lanes are still vibrant with color, and how they are enough to overthrow any man there with him over the rim of the world round him. The description of the leaves being “red, and orange, and golden, and green and brown, and blue and rust colour and lemon and fawn” is incredibly powerful, as it highlights the beauty and complexity of nature, even in death.

Overall, “After Rain” is a beautiful and evocative poem that celebrates the beauty of nature and reflects on deeper themes such as the cyclical nature of life, the fleeting nature of joy, and the power of nature to inspire and evoke a sense of wonder in the human soul.