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Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
This eighth line marks a distinct turn in the poem. And not only the obvious one
from winter to summer; but also a turn of tone and of speaker. The first seven lines
are so elevated. They exist in a kind of no-man’s land of poetic abstraction. The
subject of the first sentence is “April” of the second sentence is “Winter” and there
is no clear referent for the direct object, “us” so that it feels like a sort of generic
“us”. But the “us” in line eight doesn’t feel generic at all. We aren’t sure who it is
that was surprised by the summer; but we know where they were: Munich. The
Starnbergersee is the Bavarian capital Munich’s nearest lake. We aren’t sure who
they are, this group of people who stopped in the colonnade and then moved on
into the Hofgarten; but those actions are much more specific and rooted in a
particular here and now.

Suddenly we’ve gone from death into the midst of life. We are no longer
contemplating the cruelty of April and the paradox of winter. Now we are
glimpsing a group of people, surprised by a summer shower, taking shelter, talking
and drinking coffee.

 These lines talk about how "summer surprised us," meaning that the poem's
speaker has a crowd they hung out with in the past, but we're not clear who
"us" is. At this point, you suddenly realize that you're probably dealing with
a dramatic monologue, meaning that the poem is being spoken by a specific
 This isn't Eliot, or some third person narrator yakking away. Think of the
speaker as a character here.
 "[C]oming over the Starnbergersee" makes the location of the memory more
specific, because Starnbergersee is the name of a lake that's just a couple
miles south of Munich, Germany.
 The speaker then talks about how the group walked past a bunch of fancy
columns and ended up in a city park in Munich known as the Hofgarten (10).
 They drank coffee and talked for an hour.
 Then you have strange line in German that says "I am not Russian at all; I
come from Lithuania, a true German" (12). Um, thanks for the info? What
this line tells us is that the speaker was having a conversation about who
counts as a "true" German, and suggests that a true German can come from
the country of Lithuania, which has Germanic historical roots.

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