Kathleen Raine: Poems

Language, Form, and Meaning in Passion by Kathleen Raine 10th Grade

The poem “Passion” written by Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) was strongly inspired by the poet’s complicated love life. Besides, she was largely influenced by her model, the poet William Blake, as his idea concerning the duality of emotions of two extremes interested her. This concept of two opposites is used in the poem to change the tone radically throughout the stanzas. It is permitted through the use of Nature and Religion imagery which also influences the tone. Nonetheless, the tone is mainly linked to the double meaning of the title, creating an ambiguous sense. Indeed, “Passion” comes from the Greek word patior. It means “pain”, “suffering”, but also has the connotation of “the longing for love” or “limitless, unconditional love”. Throughout the analysis, we will see that both meanings apply to the poem.

The mood in the first three stanzas is dark and melancholic. A feeling of passivity and powerlessness is marked by the poet’s incapacity to control her own life. It is conveyed through the image of her looking at the sky and the clouds. The scene is depicted by the metaphor “the sky wounding me” (l. 1-2): the sky hurts her, yet she remains passive. She just lets herself agonize as, at this point, she seems to have utter...

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