If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking Poem Summary & Line by Line Explanation

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The poetess beautifully expresses her desire to help a soul in need and how that is what gives meaning to her life. The poetess has only one stanza and follows the ababcdb rhyme scheme.


If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain ;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


The poetess reveals her want, that if only she could protect a heart from breaking, it would fulfill her purpose in life. If only she could take away or even allay one aching soul’s pain, she would be content with herself. 

She hates seeing the world in misery, and knowing that she can help them, she assumes that as her duty. Whether it is a person or a fainting robin, she yearns to help it. Using a robin, she subtly implements the idea that all living creatures regardless of how small or feeble they are, need saving and help.

This selflessness is what drives her to be better every day and gives her a sense of satisfaction, that she has not wasted her life by being a mere spectator to someone’s misery.