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The poem Black Marigolds, by E. Powys Mathers, is rich with
imagery. The imagery used in the poem, reflects the raw emotions
of the poet. His feelings are of great tragedy due to the loss of his
love and recent imprisonment. As the poem advances, the poets'
tone progresses to a passage of great despair. He realizes that his
fate lies in death, all for loving a fair young princess. Imagery is
like painting a picture. Through imagery, Mathers painted a picture
of the poets' soul, so that the reader could better appreciate his
The poet has lost his one true love. He uses the image of
flowers to convey her presence. "She with young limbs as smooth
as flower pollen." This suggests her tenderness and delicate
manner. She seems to omit a certain glow and gentleness that he
cherishes. A single touch from her "flower soft fingers" makes him
feel alive, and whole. She was torn from his life, but he feels
blessed for even experiencing that love. The poet refers to her as
"The whitest pouring of eternal light." She was like a small shaft of
light pouring into the dark room of his life.
A reoccurring image is found quite often throughout the poem
which adds a crisp flavor to the piece. The word "gold" is used
frequently. This image refers to the princess. It reflects and
portrays everything about her. She is gold; a rich, precious gem,
unavailable to the poet. The continued reference to this image
symbolizes everything he lacks, but yearns for. The poet elevates
the princess to the value of gold, depicting exactly how out of reach
she is. "My thought is all of this gold-tinted kings daughter"
A great paradox exists in this poem. "Black Marigolds" occurs
as a paradox because marigolds are depicted as a yellow, bright,
happy flower of life. This image contrasts to the black in the title
because black is associated with death. The overall image of "Black
Marigolds" relate to the plot of this tale. The princess is the
supposed happy, bright marigold. He, however, conveys the image
of death in the poem, creating a conflicting image in this
unfortunate love story.
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