Piano by D.H Lawrence – Easy and Detailed Analysis

Piano by DH Lawrence cover image

D.H. Lawrence is one of the most famous English writers, essayists, and poets of the late 19th century and early 20th century. From novels, short-stories to poems and essays, the writer dabbled in every form of literature. 

“Piano” by D.H Lawrence is a poem that shows how something so simple can have a profound effect on someone. The poem explores the theme of melancholy, remembrance, and memories. 

Let’s take a look at the poem first and then at the meaning, analysis, and themes of it. 

Piano by D.H Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me; 

Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see 

A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings 

And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings. 

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song 

Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong 

To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside 

And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide. 

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour 

With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour 

Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast 

Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Meaning of the Poem

The poet shares an instance when he heard a woman singing while playing the piano and it brought back sweet memories of his childhood. The first stanza is a beautiful narration of how the piano reminded the poet of something sweet. 

The poet remembered his childhood when he used to sit under the piano and listen to his mother play. Apart from the song and the piano, the poet also remembers the smiling face of his mother. 

This smiling face is one of the biggest reasons why the memory is dear and sweet to the poet. The memory comes so clearly that he can hear the soft tingling sounds of the piano strings.

Despite the poet trying very hard not to think of those days, the slowly rising intensity of the song makes it difficult for the poet not to think of the days gone by. 

His heart starts to weep, meaning that the poet starts feeling the melancholy of the gone days of those comfortable days of childhood inside the cozy house and the winter outside. The piano’s sound acts as a guide, taking him back to memory lane. 

Finally, the poet is so lost in the memory that the voice of the singer becomes an annoyance. He calls the singer’s voice ‘clamor’ for he has become a child again, lost in the days that are gone. The memories of the days gone by are too strong. 

Melancholy and Childhood

Ask every adult what they think about the good old days of their childhood and almost every single one of them would start walking down their memory lane, thinking about the comforting days of childhood. 

The days of childhood have a different kind of charm; the comfort of having our parents take care of us, the playful and worry-free days, and the comforting warm nights all make us feel sad for the days are gone and can never be experienced again. 

The same thing is expressed in the poem. The soft sound of the piano became the trigger for the poet and it sent him back to his childhood days.

There are certain things; a familiar smell, a song, or a place, that can send us back in time, no matter how much we try to escape it. And once we are there, we are completely there. 

The same emotion is shown by the poet. The happiness of the days that are gone was so strong that the present days became sad for him. All he wanted was to go back to those days again. 

The happiness from the happy days is more than enough to make people feel sadness in their present situation. 

Losing Oneself in Thought

A very interesting line in the poem is “So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor” which shows how the poet is lost in the memories. 

He does not want any disturbances from the present time that interrupts him while he remembers his mother and the cozy days of his childhood. The song of the singer became noisy. 

Another beautiful line is how his manhood is cast down in the flood of remembrance and he becomes a child, weeping like a child for the days that are gone. 

The piano in the poem was the trigger for the poet that made him look inside his mind and find those days when he was a child, without a worry or problem. And all he can wish at the moment is to live a few more days when he used to be a child. That was the analysis of Piano by D.H Lawrence.

Also read: The Biography of Robert Frost