In and Out of Time

In and Out of Time

By Maya Angelou

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance…
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids…
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there…
Mmmm… God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens… loudly screamed…
Trying to change our nightmares into dreams…
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We loved each other in and out,
in and out, in and out of time.

Summary of In and Out of Time

  • Popularity of “In and Out of Time”: Maya Angelou, a phenomenal writer, and poet, wrote In and Out of Time. It was written in 2013. It is a heart-touching literary piece famous on account of its theme of love. The poem speaks about the writer’s feelings for her lover. It also highlights how these beautiful feelings mark the center of her life. The poem expresses the inner feelings of the poet openly.
  • “In and Out of Time” As a Representative of Love: This beautiful poem best illustrates the heartfelt feelings of the speaker for her lover. The poem begins with the description of a beautiful scene. The speaker sees the way that leads her to the love of her life. She seems to be joyous while expressing her love, as she openly admits that they love each other in and out of time. She has loved him since time began. Unfortunately, life has put her into serious situations where she felt hurt, tormented, and injured. Despite all these sufferings, she has not given up loving him. Even during those trying times, she has long to be with him. The poem wonderfully expresses her selfless love for her lover.
  • Major Themes in “In and Out of Time”: Love, affection and suffering are the major themes of the poem. On a surface level, the poem sheds light on the speaker’s infinite love that nothing could change her feelings for her lover. On a deeper level, she says that nothing in this world can change a heart full of love. Once you love someone wholeheartedly, no matter how many difficulties you face, your feelings and emotions never change for the person for whom you burn the candle of love in your heart.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “In and Out of Time”

literary devices are very important elements of a literary text and poem. They bring richness to the text and also make the reader understand hidden meanings. Maya Angelou has also made this poem superb, using figurative language. Here is the analysis of some literary devices used in this poem.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /ai/ in “It hummed like a hive of honey bees.” and the sound of /i/ in “We see in the distance…”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /f/ in “and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor.”
  3. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. The poet repeated the words “in and out” in the last lines of the poem to emphasize the point. For example,

“We loved each other in and out,
in and out, in and out of time.”

  1. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

“When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “I screamed to the heavens… loudly screamed”, “We see in the distance our long way home” and “You freed your braids.”
  2. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. The poet has personified nature’s objects sun and tree in the poem. For example,

“When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor.”

  1. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. “Loudly screamed” symbolizes the sufferings the speaker has endured and “the sweet honey comb” stands for the sweetness of love.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “In and Out of Time”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.
  2. Repetition: There is a repetition of some verses has created musical quality in the poem. For example,

“The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.”

  1. Refrain: The lines repeated at some distance in the poems are called ‘refrain’. This poem shows the use of ‘refrain’. For example,

“The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.”

  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. This is a free-verse poem having no stanza break in it.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated are useful to express the infinite love for someone.

I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We loved each other in and out,
in and out, in and out of time.”