Stephen Spender’s ‘The Express’ glorifies the express train. The train here is a symbol of the modern industrial civilization. The glorious running of the train to its destination is vividly pictured by the poet. The whistle that announces the departure of the train is described as a manifesto. The movement of the train is like the majestic movements of a queen. The express speeding through the open country is then compared to an elegant ship on ocean. The train begins to sing when it reaches the open country. It is quite low at the beginning and then becomes louder. Finally it acquires the madness of jazz music. She is also compared to a comet blazing through the sky.

The glorification of the train reaches its summit when the poet says that no natural sound, not even the song of a bird can equal the music of the train. Thus the poem offers a sharp contrast to the traditional nature poems. Romantic poets often leave the city and find solace in the lap of nature. But Spender’s poem makes the express train a true romantic subject. He is trying to say that the beauty of the world of machines excels the beauty of nature. The rhythmic movement of the poem indicates the majestic journey of the train.

About Stephen Spender

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