How leaf we are


How leaf we are;
At first, all furled in separateness:
Peeping out with little vanities and hopes, also vanity;
Perhaps the last vanity, holding us to that green world
Our life shall be; believing ourselves
So individual, we all reach, being identical.
Shall the prodigal gardener weep?

How leaf we are:
At last, all seared in brittleness
Curled up with tiny fears and hurts, also fears;
Perhaps the last fear, tethering us to that dry twig

Our life become; then knowing what we are
Enumerable, we fall, expendable, all.
The gardener is blind. He will not sweep.

How leaf we are
Like waves we do become; first urged, then merged.
That gardener is a fisherman;
That fisherman’s asleep.

Ronald Duncan

Ronald Duncan was a poet, playwright and journalist. His poem, How leaf we are is an interesting one to use for a close reading exercise.

Now, I realise that I am being ridiculously optimistic but I would like some discussion of the poem. Who can explain how Duncan developed the extended metaphor? What is the theme? How about explaining the effect of the poetic devices used?

Any honest efforts would be welcomed.

To help you with your analysis have a look at this Guide to Close Reading from MIT, I hope all Scholarship candidates will read it.