The persona no longer calls Emma by name as he no longer recognises what form she has taken now that she has passed away and where (she) will be next theres no knowing. As Hardy does not accept the theory of heaven, he firmly believes that Emma is alive around him in the form of spiritual energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only converted to other forms. He believes that Emmas soul has been converted to another form, one that is very much alive, or at least in his mind. Hardy cannot deal with his great loss, and so he recreates Emma in his subconscious.
Emmas ghost does not haunt him; it is he that makes the decision to see her. Let me view you then, he says. As Emma lives in the supernatural world, the persona has to move from the rational to the irrational world in order to view her. He imagines her calling to him; can it be (her) that (he) hear(s)? The repetition of call to me is a device used to signify how her voice echoes in his subconscious. Emma tells him that she is not as (she was) and that she has changed from the one who was all to (him).
He then decides to conjure up an image of her when they were courting, a time when she was young and vibrant with life. Every detail is cemented in his mind, even to the original air-blue gown. Air-blue is a translucent, even transparent colour, one that ghost or spectre would appear as. In the third stanza, the assonance in the words wistlessness and listlessness create a soft, mysterious and flowing sound to signify the sound the breeze is making, hence having an onomatopoeic effect. Also, the breeze is personified, but it is more the persona that is listless than the breeze itself.
The word dissolved adds to the image of Emmas soul being simply disintegrated in the wind. The wet mead sets the perfect atmosphere for an illusion; mysterious, foggy and spooky. The broken rhythm, as well as the alliteration of the line, Thus I; faltering forward enhances the physical image of the persona stumbling and struggling along. The effect of the vision on the persona is physically and mentally draining and leaves him weak. This relates to the poem The Going, where enjambment of the word I is used to show how the persona is on the edge of desperation.
The leaves around (him) falling indicate that it is autumn, but rather creates the mental image that it is the persona falling. In the poem the Shadow on the Stone, the persona states that summer brought (them) sweets, but autumn wrought division between him and Emma. Autumn is clearly a season of despair and sadness for the persona. Onomatopoeia is used in wind oozing, the oo sound representing the wind and creating a ghostly and eerie effect. The thorn from norward represents the pain and anguish the persona is experiencing, and the wind carries it to him.
And still he hears the voice of the woman calling. Throughout the poem, there runs an echo of a supernatural force. The poem resonates with sadness and melancholy, and with the voice of a beloved woman long dead. The irrational world is the only realm where the persona can be rational and sane. The personas love for the woman is so strong; he is willing to sacrifice his sanity in order to meet her. The poem has an extraordinary impact on the reader, and is proof that loves knows no boundaries and is not limited only to the physical world.