“Atlantis–A Lost Sonnet” by Eavan Boland


I was really excited we were able to pick our own poems to respond to by the most modern poet . I picked “Atlantis–A Lost Sonnet” not because its short length, but because the title caught me. I thought it was clever that this was supposed to be the “lost” poem just like Atlantis is the lost city of the ocean. I also find Atlantis, while most likely a myth, to be appealing. However, the title doesn’t fully explain the emotions that are within this poem.

I thought it was interesting that Boland felt the same about Atlantis as I do, ” How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder/ that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades, /not to mention vehicles and animals—had all /one fine day gone under?” ((lines 1-4). Although these four lines comprise of the entire first stanza, it is important because it is a good hook for the reader. The poet begins the poem with two stanzas just questioning the whole idea of a lost city. However, by the end Eavan Boland gives her possible answer to the old myth. She suggests that the story of Atlantis was produced to have the same effects of a fable (to teach everyone a lesson).

At the end of the poem, Boland offers more of an emotional appeal to explain the possible happening of a city disappearing. She mentions that she misses the “old city” which suggests that this poem is about the changes of time and places. The poet indicates that Atlantis’s whole purpose of existence is to comprehend the inevitable change that takes place with time, “the old fable-makers searched hard for a word /to convey that what is gone is gone forever and/ never found it” (lines 11-13). In other words, there needed to be closure to history. This is truly seen in the last three lines of the poem, “And so, in the best traditions of/ where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name/ and drowned it” (lines 13-15). The poem’s structure really makes the ending more powerful because only three words are in the last line. Overall, I found this poem easy to understand and semi-relate to.



Filed under Eavan Boland

2 responses to ““Atlantis–A Lost Sonnet” by Eavan Boland

  1. apenglishihhs

    Superb voice and use of ASR to support your analysis. Love the picture. I read your entries backwards, and this is my favorite.

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