Song by Adrienne Rich Analysis

Song by Adrienne Rich Analysis


You’re wondering if I’m lonely:

OK then, yes, I’m lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies*
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I’m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn’s first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I’m lonely
it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning

*Rockies: a mountain range in the USA  


An idea that is strikingly communicated through the poem is confidence. This is presented by the first-person point of view used throughout the poem: “Ok then, yes, I’m lonely.”, and “If I’m lonely”. There are no descriptions of other characters except scenes metaphorically explaining the poet’s believes and values. This shows that the poet is willing to let the audience to look into her heart directly, completely deep into her thoughts and feelings. It highlights that the poet has no fear in clarifying her ideas and challenging the audience’s usual understanding of the word “lonely”, exploring the idea of self-confidence.

The poet strikingly conveyed her feeling that she will always live in a free lifestyle. The title of the poem, “Song”, could have many meanings. A song could be exciting and inspiring, or sad and bitter. It could be a solo sung by the poet herself, or a hymn sang by a choir. The variety of its explanation suggests the manifold possibility of the poet’s life. The same idea was expressed by lines in each stanza. ”You’re wondering if I’m lonely: / OK then, yes, I’m lonely / as a plane rides lonely and level” Unlike classical poems, Song does not have a clear meter or rhyme scheme, the poet herself decides where and how to stop the line. This could imply that the writer wants to live in the way she decides, no matter how other people might think about her, what their views and opinions might be.

  1. Yes and that she has PURPOSE in her very being: she IS her gift – and very metaphorically Her gift is Burning ( passion/feelings, which IS poetry!

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