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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jim the Bart Analysis of Raglan Road (129* d) RE: Analysis of Raglan Road 30 Aug 01

Since you asked (or even if you didn't) here is my take on this beautiful bit of poesy.

The writer is looking back (all of the verses, except the last, are in the past tense) on a failed relationship, and a failed life, wondering about the connection between the two. He examines the phases of the relationship and decides (in the last verse) that he has paid some kind of ultimate price for "loving not too wisely, but too well".

In verse one, he returns to the start: to Raglan Road on an autumn day. He remembers that he liked her hair. As he recalls, he "saw the danger" in pursuing her but decided to take the chance and give in to the possibility of love (the enchanted way). He maintains that he knew from the start (the dawning of the day) that this love had consequences and decided to pay no more attention to them than you would to the falling of a leaf in autumn.

He remembers that for the first few months they flirted with real love, and although they came close enough to see how beautiful it would be, they never quite fell; they merely "tripped lightly along the ledge. Her life went on unchanged (the job of "The Queen of (his) Hearts", after all, was tart making), while his love deepened. His life stopped in it's tracks, along with his work. He sees this imbalance in commitment as leading to the failure in this relationship and as the source of his sorrow and dissapointment in life.

In v.3 he remembers that he did his best to make it work. He offered her all the things that mattered most to him - his mind, his art, his music, his poetry - and got in return little more than her name and hairdo (it's what attracted him to begin with). She was as insubstantial as "clouds over fields of May".

Now, in his minds eye (where old ghosts meet), he sees her dumping him and taking off as fast as she could. He begins to think that the soulmate that he had imagined was, in reality, too shallow for him (a creature made of clay). And, as in the old stories of Gods and angels who pay with their immortality the price for loving a mere mortal, he has paid the price for his love. We are left to imagine what that price is.

Personally, I see this song as a bittersweet warning to all artists who face the choice between pursuing their art and pursuing a relationship; but that's just me. Still, if we had kept the band together, and if not for the kids. . .

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