Sample Essay

In the poem “The Roman Baths at Nimes” Cole seems to be engaged in communion with himself as his words echo in the ‘hall of mirrors’ where ‘nobody speaks’. The empty ‘hall of mirrors’ reminds the speaker of the poem of his solitude as he says ‘if I touch the darkness it touches me’. Nobody ‘speaks’ or dare to speak in the ‘hall of mirrors’ because if they would speak they would not be able to hide their reality that is bleak.

Cole’s words reflect his resent over hypocrisy and cowardice of people because they put on a garb on their faces that is hidden from the eyes of the world and they do not have courage to face themselves before their own eyes in the mirror. Therefore they have pursed their lips. Cole words place the readers in the position of decocting his lines for double meanings. The people in the ‘hall of mirrors’ do not speak because they are not brave or because they are not allowed to do so. The hall has an impact on its visitors and mesmerizes them that they do not speak. In the hall ‘an ember smolders before hollowed cheeks’. The poet wants to convey a sense of emptiness through his diction as the word ‘hollowed cheeks’ suggests of senility of the visitors who are not enthusiastic like young people. In the hall ‘someone empties pockets, loose changes and keys/in a locker’. The speaker cries with surprise, ‘my god, forgive me’ for an unknown reason, as if he has seen an unpleasant act or that he is awaken of a nightmare.

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