The first line of the poem is notable because it introduces the main purpose of the poem: to define prayer. However, the way it achieves this goal is notable. There is no “verb” attached to prayer. While there is perhaps an implied verb, “is” (i.e. 'prayer is...'), the poem immediately begins to elaborate on the concept of prayer without a verb. This also implies that prayer is beyond being simply one thing.
The land of spices; something understood.
The final line of the poem defines prayer twice more: it is both “the land of spices,” heaven itself, as well as “something understood,” something simple that can be integrated into understanding. It is both a place and a thing; something distant and something near. Moreover, this line contains a semicolon. The poem’s “something understood” seems to be syntactically separate from all the other metaphors. It is the last and final definition of prayer, but what, exactly, is “understood” is left ambiguous.
Prayer (I) Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Prayer (I) is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.