And Day Brought Back My Night by Geoffrey Brock focuses on heartbreak and the painful experience of longing that follows. Brock elaborates two situations in the poem: one of reality, in which he is alone, and one he clings to in which his lover returned.
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The poem is incredibly sad, with the first stanza devoted to an imaginary situation in which Brock’s lover comes back to him and they live together as if they were never apart. There are elements of happiness in this stanza, with past events and pains forgiven. Yet, as we move into the second stanza, we realise this is simply an imagined situation, Brock is still alone in his house, mourning the loss of his relationship. It seems like she has moved on completely, having ‘just remarried’.
The poem is split into two stanzas, the first measuring 8 lines while the second measures 6. By having more lines devoted to the imaginary situation, it shows that this is what Brock values more. He wishes to go back in time, back to when he was with his lover so they could be happy again. The shorter, second, stanza dashes these hopes, being a clear undoing of the fantasy of the first stanza. The balance between length of these stanzas shows that places more importance in the first, desiring something he can never have. There is no rhyme scheme in the poem, however the first stanza repeats words, the 1st & 3rd, 2nd & 4th, 5th & 7th, 6th & 8th all repeating the same words. This could add to the sense of fantasy, things lining up a little too perfectly within this imaginary situation.
You can read the full poem here.
Structure is used as a poetic technique throughout the poem, especially with the difference in stanza lengths and the all too perfect matching of lines in the first stanza representing Brock’s desire for this fantasy scenario.
Another technique that Geoffrey Brock uses when writing And Day Brought Back My Night is caesura. Indeed, Brock uses caesura throughout the poem, these slight breaks in the flowing meter acting as moments which Brock wants to emphasise.
Brock also uses italics within the poem, the lines written in italics acting as a way of Brock demonstrating that he is talking to himself. The ‘fact checker’ that comes to visit him is just his own conscious, defeating and destroying the fantasy he allows himself to fall into. The fact he is talking to himself furthers the sense that he is completely alone, with no one to talk to but himself.
And Day Brought Back My Night Analysis
The situation that Brock clings to follows the first point of punctuation in And Day Brought Back My Night, the first line’s ‘so simple:’ then being followed by returning to the moment in which the poet ‘was happy’.
The enjambment across the first and second line represent the shift into fantasy, with no metrical break allowing the poem to flow freely into this conditional realm. Brock places his happiness, ‘I was happy’ as a subordinate of ‘you came back to me’, implying that without his lover returning to him, he would not be happy. This is quite depressing as we know that Brock’s lover hasn’t returned to him, this is all just a fantasy.
The blunt nature of ‘Nothing’, following a caesura, then reinforced by the caesura following ‘nothing seemed to matter but that.’ Compounds the sense that this is the only thing that Brock wants. He cannot envision a world in which he is happy unless his lover is in it.
Lines 3-6 within the first stanza focus on the actual reality of what has happened. Brock tries to move around the event mentally, stating that ‘you had gone away from me and lived for days with him – it did not matter’, actually telling the reader what has happened. It seems that his lover has left to live with another man. In Brock’s fantasy ‘it did not matter’ that his lover did this, focusing on moving forward in their relationship instead of prosecuting the past.
The reaffirming ‘Couldn’t have mattered less!’, with an out of place exclamation mark compound a sense of desperation – Brock is mentally begging that things would have worked out this way, knowing deep down that his fantasy is never going to come true. The focus on how he is ‘alone’ in the house, followed by a large hyphen break in the meter emphasises his lonely situation. Although he says he has ‘our old dog’ for company, we know this, too, is just a fantasy.
The final lines of the first stanza turn to the ‘We’ pronoun, bringing his lover and himself together under one umbrella pronoun. He wishes they were together, compounded through this sense that he keeps on trying to connect them through pronouns.
The final consonance, ‘the world was worries’ emphasise a sense of peace. In this fantasy, Brock has regained everything he lost, finding complete peace in knowing that his lover has returned to him.
Yet, the previous paragraph is just a fantasy, ‘I woke’ and he is alone again. Different points of his story are disproved, first that she had left for ‘days’ actually being revealed as ‘years’. The ‘old dog’ that kept him company was not real, ‘you had no dog’. Most importantly, the whole fantasy that she has returned is just that, fantasy – ‘she isn’t back’.
Brock slumps further into a depressive episode, finally revealing that he is the one that ‘left her’, not the other way around. Emotions of regret and self hatred pile over the poet. The final statement, ‘(I do)’ is polysemous. On one hand, the words ‘I do’ relate to marriage, with his lover now ‘just remarried’, furthering the complete sense of loss Brock feels. By enclosing ‘I do’ in parenthesis, Brock emulates almost a whisper, his finally acknowledgement that he will never recover his lover a tiny, depressing statement to close And Day Brought Back My Night.
The repetition within the final line cements this sense of self-hatred and disappointment, the two rhetorical questions: ‘Remember? I did?’ being replied by the small, sad acknowledgement ‘I did.’.