I have a question regarding this quote from "Ravens" by "Mount Eerie":

And in every dream I have at night
And in every room I walk into like here
Where I sit the next October
Still seeing your eyes
Pleading and afraid, full of love
Calling out from another place
Because you're not here
I watched you die in this room
Then I gave your clothes away
I'm sorry, I had to
Now I'll move

The writer of this song is addressing his dead wife. Originally I thought that "Pleading and afraid, full of love" is referring to his wife's eyes (mentioned in the preceding sentence). Then I wasn't so sure. I started to think he might be referring to himself - i.e. he's the one who is "pleading and afraid, full of love", when he is thinking about his wife, since she is not actually there.

Based on the phrasing of this sentence and the context in which it appears, are both meanings equally valid, or can we determine which one is correct?

  • 1
    Half the point of poetry is multiple valid meanings… yet how is the Question not literary criticism? Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 12:35
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's literary criticism. Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


When interpreting poetry or other literature, there's no such thing as a "correct" interpretation. Some interpretations might be easier to argue a case for than others, but it's really up to the reader to decide.

You might try to research what the author thought it meant; sometimes that information is available in notes, letters, or interviews. Whether the author's interpretation is definitive is of course a matter of opinion. There's a school of thought called death of the author that argues the author isn't any more authoritative than any other reader.

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