Poetry Explication "On a Sunny Evening"

The poem “On a Sunny Evening”, written by the children of Barracks L318 and L417, demonstrates that despite the intolerable anguish and suffering encompassing them, the children exhibit no misery towards such despair. Rather than agonizing, the children profess optimism and confidence using the fascination of nature around them, such as the flowering chestnut trees and the golden sun. Observing how such delicate aspects can thrive in the abyss they are enclosed in, the children remain positive and hopeful that a greater opportunity will soon arise.

The title of the poem, “On a Sunny Evening”, represents irony in which the words “sunny” and “evening” contradict each other due to the fact that a sun cannot reside at night. However, this ironic statement proves that the children found themselves faithful during the devastation that surrounded them. The carnage crept upon the Jews like the night sky, extinguishing the light that once inhibited their proud souls, yet the children saw not the lurking darkness, but rather the glimmering sphere of hope that arose every morning to fill their hearts with promise. Furthermore, every other sentence ends with a word that rhymes with the other, such as “trees” and “these”, “old” and “gold”, and “aches” and “mistakes”. The use of rhyming every other line illustrates again that no setback would hinder the spirit of the children, which in the poem is demonstrated by the non-rhyming line between the two rhyming lines.

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Every obstacle that they encountered was overlooked and only escalated their hopes to reach their goal of freedom. The detailed descriptions of nature, such as the “wide-flowering chestnut trees” and the “crowns of green and gold” represent the vision that the children had towards their future. The children refused to observe the cruel and obscure scenery around them, but instead, they focused on the smaller, brighter aspects found in the crowns of the flowers in the trees. The children end their poem with a line containing two rhyming sentences. The first sentence, a rhetorical question stating “Why couldn’t I?”, expresses their confidence and determination against the essence of death intimidating them.

The sudden change to an answer, “I will not die!”, further expands on their ideals by contrasting the mellow sentences above it with a more assertive and dynamic expression. Throughout the entire poem with the exception of the final line, no two consecutive lines rhymed with different ending words. This last line, containing two consecutive rhyming sentences, represents their full devotion to a common goal – the goal to live.