A Fixed Idea
Amy Lawrence Lowell
She never attended college because her family considered it improper for a woman to do so. She compensated for this with avid reading and excessive book collecting. In just 12 years of writing, she published over 650 poems. She sometimes wrote sonnets, however, was an early adherent to the free verse method of poetry and is considered one of the major champions of this method. In the post-World War I years, Lowell was largely forgotten, but the women's movement in the 1970s and women's studies brought her works back. In addition, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for What's O'Clock the year after she passed away, in 1926.
Interpretation of The Title
why so gloomy?
Dull remembrance taught
Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
The old delight is with us but to find
That all recurring joy is pain refined
Imagery In A Fixed Idea
Lowell uses the imagery of a bird in a cage to illustrate her being stuck remembering and not being able to escape her memories. She depicts these ideas when she writes,
Become a habit, and we struggle, caught
You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
Folded in peace, for you can never know
How crushed I am with having you at rest
Shifts in a fixed idea
I love you so
You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.