I saw The River on Broadway last weekend and fell in love with this poem. The play revolves around the idea of a man’s relationships with women and his obsession with catching the perfect fish. There is ambiguity in the play about time and space. The audience isn’t sure if the women are real, if the play is depicting one woman in the present and one from the past, or if one woman is reality and one is a fantasy. The poem is sung throughout the play by the women. The image of a “wand” for a fishing pole suggests a mystical element in the play. The “fire” in the man’s head also suggests that the cabin is a retreat from madness. On the other hand, the cabin is actually a place where a man can go mad–as they do in the woods in many Romantics/gothic poems and short stories.
The Song of Wandering Aengus