Jennifer Zheng

English 1121

Essay 2- Poetry Explication

April 19, 2020


Explication of Two lines from “The Taxi” by Amy Lowell

In the poem, “The Taxi,” by Amy Lowell, was written in the first-person point of view as the speaker describes itself being driven away from their beloved ones. Lowell hasn’t once mentioned anywhere in the poem about a taxi beside the title but makes the reader assume that the speaker is indeed inside the taxi with the descriptions provided. This blank verse poem gives off the impression of a city and a loss with an anguished tone. I will explicate the two lines towards the middle of the poem: ” I call out for you against the jutted stars/And shout into the ridges of the wind.” Although there are many lines used to develop the concept in the poem, I explicate these two lines because to me, it appears to be the start where the speaker’s emotion begins to crash. These two lines specifically represent the poem terms of imagery, connotation and denotation, symbolism, assonance, and enjambment.

In the first line, “I call out for you against the jutted stars,” Amy Lowell provides a great vision to the reader. Using imagery, she portrays a picture of someone calling upon the stars. The connotation of “stars” suggests the setting of a dark night in the city, importance, dignity and/or hope. Proceeding deeper into the “jutted stars”, the word “jutted” denotes something sticking out or extending beyond the main body or line. Perhaps it also infers the “stars” as a threat: sharp, pointy, knife-like, in other words interpreting the night as having “sharp edges,” which repeats the last line of the poem, “upon the sharp edges of the night.” There is also a sense of the speaker being overwhelmed as it “calls out” into the dark night sky with no one but deadly stars to listen to its broken heart. Furthermore, the “stars” also symbolizes a big change or turning point in a person’s life, but they are also seen as a sign of sorrow. Lowell didn’t directly say the speaker is in pain but shows it in the images of sharpness to expose the pain of that night.

 The following line, “And shout into the ridges of the wind,” describes the speaker revealing its pain. The word “shout” denotes a loud call or cry; an expression of strong emotion to be heard through the ridges of the wind. The “wind” symbolizes the natural movement of air. It can also imply a gale; an uproar storm. There is assonance of the repeated “I” vowel sound in “ridges” and “wind”, emphasizing the speaker screaming as the wind’s roars, preventing her cries to be heard. The reader can visualize the scent, sound, feeling, or taste as Lowell uses one of the five senses into imagery as the wind rushes through the speaker at the peak. 

 There is also an enjambment show between the words, “stars” and “And”, completing a full sentence when both lines are combined. There is consonance found in the S’s of ‘stars’ and ‘shout’, both ‘stars’ and ‘shout’ are words that apply to be seen and heard which the speaker was incapable of doing as its being driven away. Assonance is found in ‘out’ and ‘shout’ within the letter o. Lowell uses nature in her poem as a reference to create a sharper image to express the suffering the speaker feels, as it departed from its lover. 

The louder it cries for its lover, the more faraway it is and the more grief it feels inside. The speaker goes back to the last line of the poem and questions why it should leave its lover “to wound itself upon the sharp edges of the night”. Not understanding why she must be torture for loving who she loves dearly. The poem simply explicates that life without its lover is depressing.