English Essay: How do the poets convey longing in ‘piano’ and ‘once upon a time’?
In the comparison between the two poems, what they are longing for, what causes the longing and how do they convey longing are the main topics.
Firstly, what are they longing for? In ‘once upon a time’ it is a man telling his son about how much times had changed, that he was almost jealous of his childhood, similar to that of ‘piano.’ The title ‘once upon a time’ obviously conveys nostalgia, to a possible child flashback, but I also think that it is a happy memory as “once upon a time” has a very fairytale sense to it. I also think that the father is introducing the son to the artifice of present day, which again reiterates that the father has a sense of longing towards his childhood and that the joys and honest natures of childhood are lost which adulthood. The narrators repetition of “used to” “when I was like you” and “but that’s gone” conveys a jealousy and longing to be a child again.
In ‘piano’ it also conveys that the narrator is longing for their childhood again. This message is conveyed, as there are a lot of references to child-esque qualities as the title itself means soft, which reinforces gentleness. I also get the sense that the memory is hard to confront as the “;” implies a pause. The poet also uses the phrase “insidious mastery” which implies the memory is almost forcing him back, against his will, and the use of “betray” obviously conveys a power controlling him, but an emotional memory as “the heart of [him] weeps.” I also get a strong impression that the narrator is longing for his childhood, as in the last stanza, he is back in the present day, as he is disapproving of how present day music is very self-centered and how “it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor” and “the great black piano appassionato” which can be contrasted to the first stanza, where the mother is innocently singing for her child, whereas the “great