Childhood Essay

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Semansky's essays and reviews appear regularly in journals and newspapers. In this essay, Semansky considers the tone of Rilke's poem and its relation to his other poems on childhood.

Rilke was obsessed with loss, with the presence of death in life. His writing is invariably dark, sad, elegiac. Elegies are laments written for the dead. However, Rilke's mourning was not limited to the dead. As someone who paid minute attention to the nuances of his own feelings, perceptions, and changes, Rilke also mourned the loss(es) of his previous selves. "Childhood" is representative in tone and theme of Rilke's poetry, as it laments both childhood and the passing of childhood.

It is impossible not to associate Rilke with the child in the poem. Rilke's own troubled childhood was fodder for so much of his writing. He insisted that it was only by being alone that one could truly...

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This section contains 1,271 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Childhood Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Childhood from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.