Besides reminding us that the occurrence of a child's death is so troubling, so seemingly senseless, this poem also helps us to look at the troubling aftermath of such an event. The scene, set and related fluidly without any hint of restriction by the meter (evidence of a master wordsmith at work), presents a husband and wife who are trying to navigate their life together after the death of their child. While the husband seems more able to cope with his grief, he does not seem to be able to understand why his wife, Amy, is still so unhappy, still unable to communicate with him, and still apparently directing her anger at him.
I was convinced when I read this in college that they are ultimately able to work things out, if for no other reason than the husband's determination, emphasized in his final and italicized word. Much to my surprise, one of my professors, Dr. Eileen Gregory, disagreed with me. I don't remember what her rationale was; perhaps it was that the husband's determination could too easily be manifested in an attempt at forcing Amy to do what she ought, which would ultimately drive her spiritually and emotionally further away, increasing rather than healing the rift between them. I think it possible that my early interpretation of this poem stemmed from a naive expectation and unrealistic optimism that everything, both in literature and the reality that it communicates, turns out well. While I am not yet convinced of the opposite, I am not so certain of my initial interpretation as I once was. I'm interested to hear your take on it.