Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Water"

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Water


The water understands

Civilization well;

It wets my foot, but prettily,

It chills my life, but wittily,

It is not disconcerted,

It is not broken-hearted:

Well used, it decketh joy,

Adorneth, doubleth joy:

Ill used, it will destroy,

In perfect time and measure

With a face of golden pleasure

Elegantly destroy.

Poet Research

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American Transcendentalist, a poet, philosopher, and essayist and lived in the 19th century. One of his best-known works is "Self-Reliance." He was a very spiritual man and nature-mindful. This shows in his works.


In "Nature", Emerson writes "It wets my foot, but prettily, It chills my life, but wittily, It is not disconcerted, It is not broken-hearted:". I believe this reflects his philosophy of spirituality and freely opening your mind. Being open to nature. To move beyond the physical world of the senses into deeper spiritual experience trough free will. he was also an ordained minister. This could also reflect that and its process. He also writes "Ill used, it will destroy," and i believe he means that religious beliefs if taken to far, can be very destructive.


Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem reflects his beliefs and philosophy. I think he has an interesting choice of symbolism.

Poem Explication

In the poem "Water" Ralph W. Emerson writes "The water understands Civilization well;" which I believe means that religion and philosophy are huge parts of society. When it says "water" I think he refers to religion or philosophy. When he says "civilization" he refers to exactly that civilization or society. When he writes "It wets my foot, but prettily, It chills my life, but wittily, It is not disconcerted, It is not broken-hearted:" he means the way religion and spirituality can be uplifting and powerful things. When the poem says "wets" and "chills" means how they affect our lives. When the poems says "not disconcerted" and "not broken-hearted" i think it means that you can't get rid of these things. When the poem says "Well used, it decketh joy, Adorneth, doubleth joy:" I again believe it is referring to how beneficial they can be.


In the poem it says "Ill used, it will destroy, In perfect time and measure With a face of golden pleasure Elegantly destroy." i believe this means that religious beliefs can be ill used. They can be used against people. For example, Adolf Hitler, although he used more philosophical ways he managed to rally so many people to a cult for evil.


The poem is saying how religion can be very powerful. The divine power of God. but som times when people use it to gather and destroy, it can be dangerous.

The Small Power

So small yet so powerful;

Out of Destruction,

Comes Light;

An unstoppable force,

It shatters all;

The power of the Sun,

So small yet so powerful;