There Will Come Soft Rains
By Sara Teasdale
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
Summary of There Will Come Soft Rains
- Popularity of “There Will Come Soft Rains”: This poem is written by Sara Teasdale, a famous American lyric poet. ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ is a wonderful literary piece about natural beauty. It was first published in 1920, in her collection, Flame and Shadow. Written at the time of WWI, the poem speaks about the destruction war brings to mankind. It also illustrates how bloody warfare can never corrode natural beauty. It would remain undisturbed even if humanity perished.
- “There Will Come Soft Rains” As a Representative of Wonder: This poem is about the grandeur of nature. The speaker explains that if humans destroy themselves in the terrible wars, the grand scheme of nature would not see any change. At first, the speaker adores the unbeatable beauty of nature by saying that when there will be soft rains after destruction, the birds, animals, and other natural objects are going to serve the same purpose. Their life will never be affected by any man-made destruction. After describing the cycle of nature, she talks about the futile nature of war. She reflects how people lose their lives in war, but their death brings no disaster to the natural world. The poem highlights the peaceful natural order that remains unaffected even after witnessing the great human conflicts.
- Major Themes in “There Will Come Soft Rains”: The lasting beauty of nature, the transient nature of mankind, and warfare are the major themes of this poem. The poem envisions the post-apocalyptical world, where nature will enjoy the same prestige even after the extinction of mankind. While expressing her sentiments about war, the speaker says that nature can never be affected by human conflicts. If humanity tends to destroy itself, their loss and destruction will not bring any harm to non-human life. The poem carries a deep message that man considers himself an extremely important part of the universe but in reality, he constitutes a small and unnecessary part of this grand natural scheme.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “There Will Come Soft Rains”
literary devices are modes that represent the writer’s ideas, feelings, and emotions, and make their few words appealing to the readers. Sara Teasdale has also used various literary devices to bring depth and clarity to this poem. The analysis of these devices is as follows.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /i/ in “Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire” and the sound of /ai/ in “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree.”
- Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /w/ in “Would scarcely know that we were gone.”
- Allegory: It is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters, figures, and events. The speaker has used allegoric expressions in the poem to talk about the permanence of nature.
- 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,
“And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “And swallows circling with their shimmering sound”, “Robins will wear their feathery fire” and “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree.”
- Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. The title of the poem is ironic as it hints at the rain but talks about the destruction war brings to the world.
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects different in nature. The poet has used “war” as a metaphor of destruction and insanity in the seventh line of the poem where it is stated as, “And not one will know of the war, not one/Will care at last when it is done.”
- Symbolism: It means to use symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. “The frogs” “the birds” and “the wild plum trees” symbolize nature.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “There Will Come Soft Rains”
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.
- Couplet: It means two verses in a couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by a rhyme scheme. There are six rhyming couplets in this poem.
- End Rhyme: End Rhyme is used to make a stanza melodious. For example, “one/done”, “fire/wire” and “ground/sound.”
- Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows an ABAB rhyme scheme and this pattern continues till the end.
Quotes to be Used
“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white.”