Driftwood

Witter Bynner

 

   

   Come, warm your hands
From the cold wind of time.
I have built here under the moon,
A many-coloured fire
With fragments of wood
That have been part of a tree
And part of a ship.
 
    Were leaves more real,
Or driven nails,
Or fingers of builders,
Than these burning violets?
Come, warm your hands
From the cold wind of time
There's a fire under the moon

 

My Interpretation

When reading this poem through a first time I didn't quite get it. I honestly thought of a bunch of ship-wrecked people sitting around a fire struggling for survival.

When reading it through again I discovered that this poem is describing how we react to each other. The poem shows that in order to survive we depend on our history and what has happened before us. That is how I interpret the lines "with fragments of wood that have been part of a tree and part of a ship". I think the lines "Were leaves more real, or driven nails, or fingers of builders," are all the sacrifices we must make for each other and what must be done to survive. I'm not quite sure if this is a correct interpretation of the poem, but it is what I have gathered from it.

The visual I saw was a piece of wood floating across the water looking for a place to stop, depending on it's surroundings for survival, just like we must depend on each other.

 

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