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‘Changed’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Changed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes this poem, exploring the concept of ‘change’. He expresses his grief at the fact that his friends have changed.

The Poem Changed Text

From the outskirts of the town
Whereof old the mile-stone stood.
Now a stranger, looking down
I behold the shadowy crown
Of the dark and haunted wood.

Is it changed, or am I changed?
Ah! the oaks are fresh and green,
But the friends with whom I ranged
Through their thickets are estranged
By the years that intervene.

Bright as ever flows the sea,
Bright as ever shines the sun,
But alas! they seem to me
Not the sun that used to be,
Not the tides that used to run.

Changed Poem Review

The poem begins with the poet looking down at a milestone that had been there for a very long time. This is symbolic since it represents the distance that he has traveled and the distance his friends have traveled.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It symbolizes the fact that milestones don’t ‘change’ places. They don’t get up and move away. They remain in their exact locations for years, for as long as they are not removed.

However, it is not just the symbolic representation of a milestone that the poet solely talks about. He says that he stood there and gazed at the woods where, as a child, his friends and he used to play.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

They seemed to have retained their greenery, looking like they used to when they were kids. Unlike his friends, the oaks have not ‘changed’.

Here, Longfellow chose to neglect the fact that trees do ‘change’, too. They shed their leaves and their branches, only to return to their original green when it is time.

‘Changed’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

He next talks about the sea and how it flows just as bright as ever. He neglects the fact that the waves of the sea ‘change’. They change with the position of the moon and they change the way Nature wants them to.

He talks about the Sun shining the way it always does. However, the Sun, too, shines brighter on some days and not so bright on some others.

Changed: Analysis

However, when he relates his friends with these elements of Nature and to his notion of them, he understands that they have changed. They are not what they used to be.

This poem is about understanding ‘change’ and it’s various forms. Some changes are not that distinct and some hit one right I’m the middle of the eye.

However, ‘change is the only constant’ and although indirectly, this is what the poem establishes.

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