Themes

Fate and humanity

The poem looks at human dramas, emotions and flaws by describing expressive scenes in films that "start with rain" and moves on to more profound ideas about human frailty and redemption. We all are on this "fatal watercourse" and as such are doomed from the beginning. The poem can be uplifting in mood, suggesting that we can be "washed clean" and renewed, but it is also dismissive of our plight: "none of this, none of this matters."

Illusion versus reality

The poem explores the illusory world of cinema that is a construct of the imagination. The list of evocative examples is similar to scenes from film noir; they are dramatic and romantic. Perhaps Paterson is using these to signify a real-life relationship or perhaps they are there to make a wider comment about human nature? In films we can still maintain a certain innocence, and suspend disbelief, which we can't do in the real world. Reality encroaches as the actors give themselves away and 'betray' the illusion they have created.

Comparisons

This poem would work well with The Circle in its exploration of humanity and fate. It would also fit to some extent with Nil Nil in its exploration of loss and its potentially nihilistic ending.11:00: Baldovan could also be another comparison, in terms of mood, loss of innocence and the rather filmic and surreal nature of its ending.

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