Rooms by Charlotte Mew

I remember rooms that have had their part

     In the steady slowing down of the heart.

The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,

The little damp room with the seaweed smell,

And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—

     Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.

But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,

Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again

     As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed

     Out there in the sun—in the rain.

This poem focuses on the different types of love experienced in life and how they impact upon our lives. However, it ends with particular emphasis on the love realised with age and wisdom that puts all prior experiences in the shade.

Answer the following questions

1. Read about the writer.

Make notes about her life and about what may have influenced her writings.  Why is it said that the life of the writer was a tragedy?

2. Read the poem: how are “rooms” described?

3. Read the following quotation: “The poem offers us a poignant account of loss as qualified through the depiction of abandoned rooms. Rooms are the physical means to which relationships are developed and consecrated. It entails intimacy and love, as well as abandon and death. It shelters individuals, as well as couples, from the harshness of the natural elements outside, providing them with a private and cosy space. There is also a sense of shifting dependence as the couples travel from room to room, leaving their trails behind and simultaneously having images of the abandoned rooms imprinted upon their memories.” Account for this with quotations from the poem

4. What is the theme in your opinion? What is the tone?

5. In classroom, there is a video that explains the poem in detail. Watch it and then explain the poem with your own words.

6. Class Discussion

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