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My Appreciation of The Ruin

Updated on January 10, 2010

Should we do more to preserve historical buildings?

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And A Need For Others To Do The Same

I believe we should look at The Ruin by the English poet, Walter De La Mare, in two similar yet different ways. Though it is obvious he is speaking of a historical ruin, I would argue that his words could apply to a more human one. When a scene is set so perfectly as this, the reader can interpret as they may.

We learn that the day is done. It is now night and we are at a ruin. What is this ruin? What may have happened at this place? As we are not given a dark picture of thunder and ghosts, we are not afraid. If anything, we are made curious. We hear crickets. We see dancing fairies. The moon is perfect. We long to explore this ruin after dark.

For every child who has been dragged to one historical location or another, the idea that such a ruin could exist is hard to believe. By day, it is just a place. It has existed forever though not in the form in which it now stands. Presumably, tour guides tell stories about this place daily, noting why it hasn’t been demolished and why tourists should embrace it. It is the same information that has been told since one preservation group or another gained possession of the ruin. Though this information may be interesting, if the ruin could speak, it would tell a far more fascinating tale. Looking closely at the ruin, you know there is more to it than meets the eye. If these tourists were permitted to stay past closing, they would learn of the true magic of the place.

The same idea goes for someone who, though once active and spirited, has been made mute and incapacitated after becoming ill or through a serious accident. As time passes, we forget all that they once were. We tell our version of stories to anyone who will listen about our loved one’s former self. We treat them unfairly, our actions reminding them daily of what they’ve become. Not once do we consider that internally they are the same as they always were. Without the ability to communicate, they can’t correct us. Only at night when they are left alone to dream does the magic happen.

As a society, we underestimate so much. We see an uncared for building and write it off as a dump. We see someone struggling to walk and write them off as a handicap. Each day, we discard the old (objects, views, etc.) for the new having no appreciation for what it stands for. A ruin is called so because it is considered to be ruined by time. It is bricks out of place. It is paint peeling. It is missing pieces and disconnected wires. It is an unwanted reminder that life goes on despite all that we face or how hard we try to keep minutes from passing. How odd I must be to appreciate a ruin in every sense!

To read more poetry analysis by this writer, please click on the link below.


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    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 7 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Thank you for your comment, Donna. I hope you will take a look at my other poetry articles. :)

    • donna bamford profile image

      donna bamford 7 years ago from Canada

      Interesting interpretation. iwould like to see more of your interpretions of famous poems!