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Donne’s unremitting wittiness gives his poetry too aggressive a tone”. discuss with reference to at least two of the poems you have studied.


Metaphysical poetry is characterized by many aspects and as one of the leading metaphysical poets, John Donne’s work employs wit, paradox, abstract images and use of conceits to create poetry that was “inspired by a philosophical conception of the universe and the role assigned to the human spirit in the great drama of existence” (Grier son 1921). However, at the time, the metaphysical poets had a great many critics and they were attacked on several grounds, most notably from Dr Johnson in his Lives of the Poets (1779-81). Johnson believed the metaphysical poets did not deserve the title of poet as their wit contained ‘a combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike. Of wit, thus defined, they have more than enough’. In order to come to a conclusion as to whether his poetry was therefore aggressive due to his tone, I will examine two of his poems; ‘The Flea’, ‘Holy Sonnet 14’. In analyzing these poems I expect to find that although on the surface Donne could be said to be aggressive, it is in fact the unexpectedness of his approach to matters such as love that has this effect. Historically, Donne and the metaphysical poets seemed to renounce traditions of courtly love, however by resisting in following these well respected customs, Donne’s poetry has kept an originality to the experience of love. Love, as a subject in poetry risks becoming banal and only through Donne’s wit does this age old subject stay fresh to the reader.

Upon first reading ‘The Flea’ and ‘Holy Sonnet 14’, the poems seem to have very little in common and the themes do indeed oppose one another in content as one deal with physical love and the other spiritual.The poem ‘The Flea’ shows the speaker as a man who lacks morals and who has little concern for the moral stance of the young lady he wishes to bed, and instead seems wholly concerned with his own lust. On the other hand, ‘Holy Sonnet 14’ seems to reflect more of Donne’s spirituality as a minister of the Anglican church, the speaker is shown to be righteous in his beliefs and concerned with how he can do his utmost to please God. Wit, of course, is very apparent in ‘The Flea’, however does this make it more aggressive than ‘Holy Sonnet 14’?

“His Maker is more powerfully present to the imagination in his divine poems than any mistress is in his love poems” (Gardner, 1978, Pg-2) is a statement made by writer Helen Gardner. However, I believe that Donne’s use of wit as well as complex conceits are used to complicate the subject matter in both poems in order to draw questions from the readers. Many different levels of meaning are at play in these poems and the rhyme scheme varies from iambic tetrameter and pentameter to the Petrarchan sonnet form. In doing so, Donne presents his mistress in the poem ‘The Flea’ just ‘as powerfully present’ as God in ‘Holy Sonnet 14’. As he shows physical love through spiritual expression in ‘The Flea’ and divine love through sexual expression on ‘Holy Sonnet 14’, Donne excellent shows how wit is used to throw doubt at the reader who simply sees everything in black and white.
Wit could be said to be, a sense of the fantastic and originality of thought. This seems to perfectly define the love poem “The Flea”, whose humor is used to explore the notions of sex before marriage in an argument that, if it did not woo the addressee to give up on her sacred ideals may well have amused her and caused her to question the reasons behind them. The flea itself in the poem represents and symbolizes physical love and pleasure and the opening lines leave no doubt that this is the case. “Mark but this flea, and mark in this / How little that which thou densest me is / Me it suck’s first, and now sucks thee / And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be” (“The Flea,” L-1-4). The simplistic language engages the reader with clarity and wit in its subtle allusions to sex and pleasure that truly show the intentions of the speaker. Arguing with his love, he expresses that the act of love is as safe as being bit by a flea, as “…[it] cannot be said / A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead” (“The Flea,” L-5-6).Donne’s abstract idea that the mixing of his and his mistress’s blood in the flea is no different to having sex without physical contact, engages the reader in a dialogue which makes interested in the outcome for the lustful young speaker. Does this relentless wit and persistence with his mistress show aggression I believe not. Although aggressive in his lust, Donne’s neat and concise approach to the subject saves it from being aggressive to the reader, something feminists would surely disagree with.

The very idea that the flea represents their marriage and that the speaker wishes to stop his mistress from killing it because of this, adds softness to its tone. “Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare / Where we almost, nay more than married are / This flea is you and I, and this / Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is / Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met / And cloistered in these living walls of jet (“The Flea,” L-10-15). Although a certain level of arrogance is shown by the speaker in his approach to women, I feel this much more refreshing through its humour compared to the traditional courtly love poems where the women were seen to objects to own. However, in saying this, the speaker does not seem to respect his mistress’s choice and Helen Gardner argues in Donne’s love poems “the love poet [creates] an image of himself in love…” but does not wish to deny himself any pleasure. Although this view seems to be taken by many, David Novarr seems to defend the poem stating; …[it] [seems] [the] [speaker] has somehow compromised the integrity of his…belief [in] love…[however] it is frequently the committed man who dares to explore and exploit alternatives that in no way [undercut] [his] integrity if he chooses to be witty about a subject that matters to him (The Disinterred Muse, Pg-24-25). In exploring these alternatives, Donne does indeed employ an originality of thought that seems to characterize not just metaphysical poets but Renaissance man.
Continuing in his pushy and arrogant nature to persuade his mistress, the speaker uses power and drive. However, this is not just forceful, but also shows a persuasive argument and tells his mistress that “Though use make you apt to kill me / Let not to that, self murder added be / And sacrilege, three sins in killing three” (“The Flea,” L-16-18). Ending his argument, the young lady does kill the flea and in this shows her commitment in her decision to stay chaste. This is illustrated beautifully when the speaker queries his mistress’s actions, asking “Cruel and sudden, hast thou since / Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence/ Wherein could this flea guilty be, / Except in that drop which it sucked from thee/ Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou / Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now (“The Flea,” L-19-24). By killing the flea the mistress reinforces her quest for virtuousness at any cost. This is when the speaker backtracks on his argument and compares his mistress losing her virginity to the inconsequential death of the flea. Ending the poem, the speaker states “Tis true, then learn how false, fears be; / Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me / Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee” (“The Flea, “L-25-27).The humour with which Donne approaches this subject is what releases it from holding any aggression. The whimsical way in which the speaker admits his own satisfaction is his sole concern creates the source of the poems humour.
Donne’s attitude to love changes from carnal to humble and spiritual in “Holy Sonnet 14”, however if wit is defined as originality of thought then the serious tone set in this poem certainly lacks any aggression in its relentlessness. Confliction in soul and nature of man is shown through a speaker who lacks concern in pleasing himself and only concern in pleasing God.

In the opening passage of the sonnet, the speaker offers God all power, control and authority, asking, “Batter my heart, three person’d God; for you / As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; / That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend / Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new (“Holy Sonnet 14,” L-1-4). The speaker wishes to be made ‘new’, suggesting that they have possessed a lack of control over themselves and now wish to offer God that control to save them from sin. In offering God their body and soul, the speaker appears desperate to be made pure again and seem to see themselves as helpless, as if they know they that they can only God can save through wrath and violence. “I,like an usurped town, to another due, / Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end, / Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend, / But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue, / Yet dearly do I love you, and would be lov’d fain, / But am betroth’d unto your enemy (“Holy Sonnet 14,” L-5-10). This is in complete contrast to the fanciful nature of ‘The Flea’, where Donne’s wordplay humours the reader. Here, a different side of Donne’s wit is seen through his use of dramatic metaphor in which he ponders mans ability to save himself. “Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again, / Take me to you, imprison me, for I / Except you enthral me, never shall be free, / Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me (“Holy Sonnet 14.” L-11-14). Here, the speaker is using forceful verbs and paradoxes, symbolising God as all powerful and all knowing, giving him total influence over the speaker.

Using paradox, in the final passage Donne gives God sage, the speaker uses paradoxes to give God importance and shows that the only way the speaker believes that he will ultimately be free of sin, and pure is when God takes complete control and rapes him.
This poem seems to express purity in its divine love for God, suggesting that this spiritual bond with God is more pure than any love experienced between man and woman. In being concerned with ‘thought’ itself, Donne asks questions about life, love and his purpose in the universe. Donne places himself and his love at the centre of the universe which is surely showing wittiness that is not aggressive, but that each person who has been in love has believed themselves. There is a distinct contrast between how submissive Donne’s speaker in ‘Holy Sonnet 14’ is to God, compared with how dominant the speaker in ‘The Flea’ tries to be over his mistress. It is easy to dismiss the wit and humour in ‘The Flea’ as being puerile and selfish however in this, the reader sees the true nature of the speaker in all his multi-faceted attempts in trying to seduce his mistress. In the same way, Donne has stripped bare the speaker in ‘Holy Sonnet 14’, allowing the reader to see his need for God to save him through his language. If this unremitting wit is seen as aggressive, I believe the reader is missing the point of Donne’s wit. It is unashamed and refuses to be diluted to suit the needs of the reader, instead Donne has stayed to true to his artistic and poetic beliefs.


Alvarez, A. The School of Donne.
New York: Pantheon Books, 1961.
Gardner, Helen. The Divine Poems
London: Oxford University Press, 1978.

Grierson, Herbert J.C., ed. Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th

Oxford, The Clarendon press, 1921

Novarr, David. The Disinterred Muse.
London: Cornell University Press, 1980.

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Comparison Between War Poetry & Macbeth

Owen’s opinion of conflict is similar to the opinions shown in Macbeth because they both exhibit the brutality of war. Owen does this when he says ‘the blood, Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. ’ Shakespeare also mentions this when he says of Macbeth,’ with his brandish’d steel, Which smoked with bloody execution,’ The bloodshed causes regret in all three pieces of work. Shakespeare shows this of Macbeth where he says, ‘I gin to be aweary of the sun, And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone. The regret within this statement is clearly shown because nobody would want to move back into time unless they wanted to change something for the better. Owen demonstrates this where he says, ‘incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest, To children ardent for some desperate glory,’ the words ‘innocent’ and ‘children’ interlink to show how that he regrets his leading of men into war. Furthermore, Hardy’s soldier hesitates when he says, ‘shot him dead because—Because’ because he is trying to reason his committing of murder.

Similarly to Hardy and Owen, Shakespeare makes war seem a corrupting force both physically and mentally. War turned the Macbeth who was praised by the King, into a Macbeth who was killing people regardless of who they were and also a Macbeth who was disgraced and humiliated in the latter end of his life and after he died. Owen also faced this corrupting force through war, because he says, ‘In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. ’ This shows how terrible nightmares and flashbacks are caused by participation in war.

A much more unsophisticated version of this corruption can be seen in The Man He Killed because the ‘soldier’ killed a person who had never wronged him in any way and had he had met him outside of war, he would have ‘treat, if met where any bar is, Or help to half a crown. ’ As well as the many similarities, contrasts are also present. Shakespeare depicts Macbeth opinion of war as honourable. Unlike Shakespeare, the war poets describe war as, unnatural and horrific. There also changes of opinions of war. Macbeth’s opinion of war stays the same throughout. However, Owen and Hardy show how war corrupts mind, body and soul.

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The Poetry of “Cosmic Love”

Elle McHugh English L202 Paper 2 – Analysis October 15, 2012 The Poetry of “Cosmic Love” Emerging in the summer of 2009, Florence and the Machine, a British indie-rock band, has a style of a mix between soul and rock. Nonetheless, their sound is best described by their lead singer Florence Welch as, “something overwhelming and all-encompassing that fills you up . . . ” That said, their music contains an ethereal intensity with poetic elements that set them apart from other music. Such a song by Florence and the Machine that exemplifies poetic components is “Cosmic Love. This particular tune tells the story of girl who falls in love with a boy and becomes consumed by it. However, she fears that he may not feel the same, and becomes entirely absorbed by this anxiety. But, later, she comes to the realization that she was mistaken. In order to express this tale, Florence and the Machine employ poetic mechanisms to better explain the plot of this story. Thus, because of form and extended metaphor the song “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine can be equated as a poem. The most evident of these poetic devices that are commissioned is form. Cosmic Love” is comprised of seven four-line stanzas or quatrains, which alternate between verse and chorus. As described by Kennedy, the use of quatrains, “is the most common stanza form used in the English-language [of] poetry,” (Kennedy, 531). Accordingly, this consistency gives the song a distinct configuration, which greatly aligns it with common arrangements of poetry. Along with its physical appearance, because “Cosmic Love” conveys a story, it has the textual appearance of a ballad. Thus from these two elements, “Cosmic Love” produces a parallel between song and poetry.

Another facet of form that appears within this song is repetition. The chorus of “The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out/ You left me in the dark/ No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight/ Of the shadow of your heart,” (5-8) is repeated four times throughout. Due to such reiteration, the chorus is hugely emphasized. Accordingly, the importance of the girl’s feelings of blindness by the love she is experiencing is exhibited. Also, because this recurs so frequently, her inability to escape these emotions is articulated. It is as if she is constantly ambushed by these feelings.

Therefore, from this recurrence of emotions, this song exudes poetic form, again. Another key poetic component represented within “Cosmic Love” is an extended metaphor. This tool is exercised to further the understanding of the story told. As can be seen throughout the song, this metaphor may refer to the laws that control the universe, as represented by the word “cosmic” in the title. For example, she explains in the first stanza that, “A falling star fell from your heart/ And landed in my eyes/ I screamed aloud, as it tore through them/ And now it’s left me blind,” (1-4).

Though this may seem to be described as an actual occurrence, it does not mean that a star literally fell from the sky and landed in this poor girl’s eye, as that would be quite a painful ordeal. However, it may explain that she began to fall for this particular boy, and it has left her unaware of the rest of the world or of the happenings in it. Moreover, this reference to being blinded by a star may even be metaphorical allusion to the term of being starry-eyed. As defined by the Oxford-English dictionary, starry-eyed means to be, “full of emotion, hopes or dreams about someone or something. And, in this sense, it greatly relates to the sentiments that are being voiced, and breeds a connection to metaphors that are used in poetry. Such figurative language continues on through the chorus. Perhaps, the lyrics; “The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out,”(5), explain that the world as she knew it has been extinguished like a candle. She may have become oblivious to the constants that govern our universe. Furthermore, when the song states, “No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight/ In the shadow of your love,” (7-8), it may be describing that she is trapped in a vague unawareness of the outside world because of her love or this boy. Along with this, the cosmic metaphor persists into the second verse. And, as indicated by the lyrics, “And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat/ I tried to find the sound/ But it stopped and I was in the darkness/ So darkness I became,” (9-12), just as everyday the earth dissolves into night, she too may have drifted into a similar darkness. She is possibly so terrified that this boy may not share her feelings that she has become like darkness of the night. And, again, the use of this metaphor continues to offer to connect poetry and this song.

Finally, in the third and last verse, this metaphor persists. This stanza possibly explains that she resolved to release herself from her blind and starry-eyed state by “ . . . [taking] the stars from my eyes . . . ” (17), and find a way out of the darkness as indicated by the lyrics, “ . . . and then I made a map/ And knew somehow I would find my way back,” (17-18). But, soon realizes that she was not alone in her fears of unshared feelings because, “[he was] in the darkness too,” (19). Or, that he was lost in a similar night like darkness as she was. Then, because of this, she, “ . . stay[s] in the darkness with [him]” (20). Thus, this metaphor to the cosmos deepens the supremacy of love they have for one another. And, in comparing their love to the laws within the universe, the description of their feelings for one another seem to be otherworldly and almost supernatural. Once again, this extended metaphor that was cleverly fashioned maintains to engender a likeness between this song and poetry. Throughout “Cosmic Love,” Florence and the Machine uses poetic devices to exhibit, support, and further explain the story within the song.

Their insightful ability to make use of form and an extended metaphor creates a respectable poem. Therefore, in applying popular poetic form and crafting an extended metaphor to describe this love-struck journey, this song is truly an artfully illustrated poem. Work Cited 1. “Cosmic Love. ” Moshi Moshi Entertainment. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. www. florenceandthemachine. net 2. Kennedy, X. J. , and Dana Gioia. “Chapter 17: Closed Form. ” Backpack Literature. Fourth ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2012. 512-31. Print.

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Strawberries: Poetry and Essay Christopher Callaghan

Strawberries – Critical Essay Christopher Callaghan 12th September 2012 “Strawberries” by Edwin Morgan is a loving poem, which explores the wonders of human emotions such as love, lust and fear. The poet’s purpose in writing this piece was to educate the reader and to evoke emotions with poetic techniques. Morgan uses some extremely effective metaphors in this poem to describe his relationship with his partner: “We dipped them in sugar, looking at each other. ” The sugar signifies that there is something artificial about the relationship, that it needs sweetened. Looking at each other” signifies how confident and at ease they are around each other. This lets the reader know that this is a real relationship which has matured through time. The poet also uses sentence structure to show how memories fade through time, the further the reader goes through the poem, the shorter each stanza gets. This shows that the poet wanted to write the memory down before he forgot it. The writer also uses very clever word choice to enhance the reader’s understanding of the situation: “With the two forks crossed. ” This hints to the reader that the poem is in fact about two men.

Morgan couldn’t obviously point this out as at the time it was written, homosexuality was illegal. This lets the reader know difficult it must have been for someone not being allowed to express their love without the fear of persecution. I think that it is wrong to force someone to hide their love, no matter what form. In conclusion, “Strawberries” is a loving, thought provoking poem which shows that there is nothing sinful about love. Morgan uses effective poetry techniques such as sentence structure and metaphors to show that any form of love is still love.

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Poetry Analysis- in the Station of the Metro

When we read poems, we don’t exactly interpret the meaning of it automatically. It takes us a shot, or two, or three to fully understand the meaning of it or at least have your own interpretation. In the poem In a Station of the Metro, written by Ezra Pound, one of the themes that are presented is modernization. Nowadays, the metro isn’t the place where people want to be because of its lousy appearance, the people seem a little odd for others, and in other words people don’t like taking it because we all have the mentality that something bad will happen.

In the next few paragraphs, it will explain detail by detail how certain literary elements are used and relate to the theme. Everything we read has a mood to put us in while we read whether it’d be comical, depressing, or even mysterious. The poem’s mood is profound. Why is this poem so profound? Well for one, with only 2 sentences there are only so much that we can uncover about a poem. A perfect example to back up the fact that this poem is profound is the title.

We all think that the title isn’t as important as the rest of the poem but in this one it is because without it, nobody would be able to figure out the real meaning since no one will know what the writer wrote about. For example, without the title, it can be a performer looking at the audience waiting, looking like petals on a branch just sitting there waiting for seasons to change, meaning for the performer to go up. Profound moods and modernization come together because when you think about something in general, sometimes you try discovering a new meaning to it.

In the poem, we see a clear indication that with the only two sentences there are, we are supposed to come up with our own meaning. What the author did was probably for us readers to decode our own meaning of the poem by just writing 2 sentences. Because the mood is so profound, it’s very relevant to modernization because in the modern world, we find that metros are filled with angry people pushing, dirty floors and walls. The author is basically telling us that we are still the same people just on a dirty metro, as well reminding us to be calm and think of ourselves as flowers on a branch.

What we see and what we actually interpret are two different things. Not everything is what it seems to be. Another element used is comparisons. To compare something means to take something and make it seem like something else. In the poem, the poet describes “faces in the crowd” as “petals on a wet, black bough” because in a crowd, it’s easy to pick out different faces because everyone is different. Everyone has a unique look and since the poet is picking out faces in a crowd, it could be a comparison to picking out petals, off a stem or a bough, one by one as if each petal was an individual face.

Imagery can also be linked with the topic of comparisons because every sentence has a different meaning that can be linked to each other in a way that we can imagine it. Usually a metro is hectic, nobody really wants to be in it especially at rush hour, but what the poet is trying to do is remind us that within our environment around us are serenity and peace in ourselves that we have to think of. Petals from flowers are very delicate and the poet tells us that if it’s hectic on the metro or anywhere else, there is always peace to think of, like the flowers.

These elements are relevant to the theme because nowadays, people tend to judge before they think twice. In the poem for example, if the people weren’t reminded that there is peace and serenity within themselves, then they’d think their society is a bad place. Is there such thing as nonsense? Is a pile of nonsense put together supposed to make sense? In the poem, the last two elements presented are effective line breaks and ambiguity.

To be ambiguous means to be vague, and the poem really shows the vagueness in the effective line breaks. Every line in the poem is a different sentence, irrelevant to the others. The first sentence would have to be the title, “In a Station of the Metro”. This is an incomplete sentence and with the others that come, it still makes no sense. The second sentence is “The apparition of these faces in a crowd;”, still an incomplete sentence because there’s a verb that needs to come into play for it to be complete and make sense.

And the last sentence of the poem is “Petals on a wet, black bough”; this as well is an incomplete sentence simply just a description. But if everything is put together, this is where ambiguity and as well imagery comes in. The fact that everything is so vague and that after every sentence there’s a break, it could subliminally mean that everything is meant to be put together like a puzzle. When the sentences are put together, it tells us that within a crowd of people on a metro, everyone is unique like petals on a bough.

Even if something is ambiguous, there is always a way to figure out some meaning for it. This is related to modernization because like imagery, we don’t perceive things for what they are right away so it’s very vague, then after figuring out what it could mean or be; everything would make sense. To conclude, modernization has changed the way we think as the years go by, we all have different points of view now and we judge before we think things through.

In the poem, using all the elements like mood, imagery, comparisons, ambiguity and use of effective line breaks, they all had some relevance towards the theme which was modernization. Things have changed since the earlier years. Back then, no one judged right away, everyone was just living. Now that we have new technology and such, it makes us closed minded because technology told made us believe that the real world sucks. The poem made me realize that there is more to the world than what we can actually physically see. Sometimes what we see isn’t exactly what we think it is.

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A Poetry Analysis on Modern Love

Modern Love George Meredith “Modern Love. ” The term brings to mind the changing dynamic of today’s society. This change has been present for decades and continues on to this day. In George Meredith’s poem he illiterates the negative impact of this change in a case that could encompass so many couples; the pain of a loveless marriage. Through his use of diction, and metaphor Meredith show the pain and heartache of two people being so close, yet so emotionally distant.

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The first line of the poem begins the dark theme (By this he knew she wept with waking eyes), showing how the husband has seen his wife’s suffering; as well as painting a memorable picture through the use of alteration. The alteration serves another purpose as well. It’s smooth deliverance shows just how used to the situation the husband is to his wife’s tears. In line 2 we see just how helpless the husband is to help, his hand “quivers” out of nervousness, and in line 3 we see the extent of the wife’s sobs (Shook their common bed).

The dark selection of diction continues as metaphors are employed in lines 5&6 (And strangled mute, like little gaping snakes, dreadfully venomous to him). The truly telling word in these lines is “Strangled,” this extremely active verb implies force. This describes the situation of any willfully married wife during the time the poem was written. They had little choice in not only their husband, but also in the lifestyle handed to the by that husband, not to mention that divorce during this time period was early unheard of.

The next lines hint at the wife’s feeling of death, (“Stone-still”) showing her complete hopelessness at the situation imposed on her. Lines 8-12 have the same dark imagery (“Pale drug of silence”, “Sleep’s heavy measure”, “move-less”, “Dead black years”), but those same images fit into another, larger image. The author uses them to describe her “Giant heart of memories and tears. ” Meredith clearly shows the long lasting nature of the wife’s pain, as well as the multitude of sleepless nights that all weigh against her heart.

The only relief from the torture is presented in “Sleep’s Heavy Measure. ” The choice of the word “effigies” could possibly be the most significant of the entire work. Effigies are stone representations of a person, normally used only after death. The image of death is repeated in the 15th and 16th lines as well, (Upon their marriage-tomb, the sword between; Each wishing for the sword that severs all) these lines are used to show the reader several things. First, the emotional death of the parties involved, second the death of the marital bond, and third the longing for literal death.

Meredith’s choice of words and formulation of metaphors steer the reader away from the bright connotations of love and into the darker feelings that society in the Victorian era was happy to ignore. His work was very nearly satirical in nature, it challenged the social conventions of marriage at the time and began to show how both parties in a marriage were both influence by, and responsible for the health of a marriage. The true feeling and innate sadness in the poem comes from not only the lack of love and affection, but also the torture of conforming to the standers of the day.

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The Classic of Poetry

The Classic of Poetry is a collection of old Chinese literature that has been rewritten and renamed into the Book of Songs/Odes. (“Norton Anthology of World Literature” 812) This collection of poems seemed to become popular around the beginning of Confucianism. Confucianism is the concept of centering one’s life or work on authority figures, family, and friends. The expression of Confucianism is best seen in the work of Tu Fu. Confucianism is wide spread throughout the Classic of Poetry.

Confucianism is brought out in the poetry because it focuses on education, political views, and social views. Education in the poetry helped to spread the ideas or moral values and knowledge to the people of China. (“Norton Anthology of World Literature” 812) Political and social views were also spread because it seemed to give the Chinese people an outlook of their own political system and how the system was used to run the different Chinese dynasties. The Classic of Poetry spread through China like wildfire and was first recognized the most by the Chou society. “Norton Anthology of World Literature” 812) Confucius wanted the poetry to get a reaction from people and for people to be able to get actual perceptions from reading the poetry. The idea was for the reader to be able to put themselves in the author’s brain as if the reader is physically seeing what the author describes. The Classic of Poetry is compiled of simple poetry it essentially lays out the reality of “early Chinese Civilization. ” (Norton Anthology of World Literature” 813)

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Different works in the Classic of Poetry truly do seem very simple but when reading between the lines it is easy to find the poem’s true meaning. “Fishhawk” is an excellent example of poetry that appears to be simple, but in reality it has a deep meaning. “Fishhawk” is a poem about a female that is watching her husband have an affair with a much younger woman from a distance. The woman is hurt and angered but will stay with her husband until the end of her/his days because that is what is expected. She would not dare to leave her husband even though there is infidelity in the marriage. Stewart) There seems to be an unwritten understanding that marriage in the Chinese culture is sacred even if there is no physical attraction between the husband and wife. Marriage is a sacred bond and one would never enter into divorce. Popol Vuh is a compilation of stories from the “Quiche people of Guatemala. ” (“Norton Anthology of World Literature” 3076) Popol Vuh is full of “mythological narratives and a genealogy of the rulers of the Post-Classic Quiche Maya kingdom of highland Guatemala. (Vopus) The Popol Vuh is made of stories merged together to create an epic and “may be called novelistic. ” (“Norton Anthology of World Literature” 3076) The Popol Vuh also has comparisons to those in “The Bible” since it covers creation of the Earth and the living creatures on the earth. “The Bible” explains how God made the Heavens and the Earths and Popol Vuh explains how gods made the Earth, placed in in the sky, and populated the Earth with living creatures. The comparison between “The Bible” and Popol Vuh is perhaps the biggest comparison that can be made since there are various similarities. The Bible” covers the great flood and how God was angered by the sins of mankind and He destroyed the Earth and everyone except Noah and his family and the animals on the ark. Popol Vuh gods were also angered by mankind and sent a flood to destroy them as well. The mythology aspect in the Popol Vuh is perhaps a passed down story from “The Bible” that is told according to the Quiche people. Clearly there are enough similarities to bring truth to “The Bible” and the story of creation and the flood. Popol Vuh genealogy is depicted through the family ties.

The twins Hunahu and Xbalanque are the main focus of the story’s genealogy. The twins have a family line that is involved throughout the Popol Vuh. Part Three of the Popol Vuh goes back to an earlier time in history when Hun-Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu, the father and uncle of the twins, were defeated in the underworld and were buried in the ball court. Hun-Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu were great ball players as were the twins Hunahu and Xbalanque. The genealogical connections are that the family as a whole were good ball players and were apparently good at defeating others.

There is a family tie there that cannot be broken and is strong bond. The Classic of Poetry and the Popol Vuh are both amazing works of world literature. Each of these works has made its mark on two very different cultures and societies. The Chinese culture is one that is strong and true in morals and knowledge following Confucianism. The Quiche also seemed to be focused on strong morals and religions as a whole. Bibliography Stewart, Summer. ” Women: The Hips of Ancient Chinese and Egyptian Cultures. ” . N. p. , n. d. Web. 22 Jul 2012. lt;http://voices. yahoo. com/women-hips-ancient-chinese-egyptian- cultures-5713174. html>. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Second. A. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. , 2002. 812. Print. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Second. C. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. , 2002. 812. Print. Vopus, . “Popol Vuh – The Sacred Book of The Mayas. ” . N. p. , n. d. Web. 22 Jul 2012. <http://www. vopus. org/en/gnosis/gnostic-anthropology/popol-vuh-sacred-book-of-the- mayas. html>.

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War Poetry

Modern History Sourcebook: World War I Poetry: Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967):”How to Die” Link to Collected Poems [At Columbia] Wilfred Owen (1893-1918):”Anthem for a Doomed Youth” Link to Collected Poems [At Toronto] Wilfred Owen: “Dulce et Decorum Est” Herbert Read (1893-1968): “The Happy Warrior” W. N. Hodgson (1893-1916): “Before Action” Wilfred Gibson (1878-1962) “Back” Link to Collected Poems [At Columbia] Philip Larkin (1922-1985): “MCMXIV” Link to Poems [At Hooked. net] Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) “How to Die” Dark clouds are smouldering into red While down the craters morning burns.

The dying soldier shifts his head To watch the glory that returns; He lifts his fingers toward the skies Where holy brightness breaks in flame; Radiance reflected in his eyes, And on his lips a whispered name. You’d think, to hear some people talk, That lads go West with sobs and curses, And sullen faces white as chalk, Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses. But they’ve been taught the way to do it Like Christian soldiers; not with haste And shuddering groans; but passing through it With due regard for decent taste. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) “Anthem for a Doomed Youth” What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? -Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries for them from prayers or bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,- The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires. What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of silent minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds. Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) “Dulce et Decorum Est “

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under I green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, — My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori. Herbert Read (1893-1968) “The Happy Warrior” His wild heart beats with painful sobs, His strin’d hands clench an ice-cold rifle, His aching jaws grip a hot parch’d tongue, His wide eyes search unconsciously. He cannot shriek. Bloody saliva Dribbles down his shapeless jacket. I saw him stab And stab again A well-killed Boche. This is the happy warrior, This is he… W. N. Hodgson (1893-1916) “Before Action” By all the glories of the day And the cool evening’s benison, By that last sunset touch that lay Upon the hills where day was done, By beauty lavisghly outpoured And blessings carelessly received,

By all the days that I have lived Make me a solider, Lord. By all of man’s hopes and fears, And all the wonders poets sing, The laughter of unclouded years, And every sad and lovely thing; By the romantic ages stored With high endeavor that was his, By all his mad catastrophes Make me a man, O Lord. I, that on my familiar hill Saw with uncomprehending eyes A hundred of Thy sunsets spill Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice, Ere the sun swings his noonday sword Must say goodbye to all of this;– By all delights that I shall miss, Help me to die, O Lord. Wilfred Gibson (1878-1962) “Back”

They ask me where I’ve been, And what I’ve done and seen. But what can I reply Who know it wasn’t I, But someone just like me, Who went across the sea And with my head and hands Killed men in foreign lands… Though I must bear the blame, Because he bore my name. Philip Larkin (1922-1985) “MCMXIV” Those long uneven lines Standing as patiently As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park, The crowns of hats, the sun On moustached archaic faces Grinning as if it were all An August Bank Holiday lark; And the shut shops, the bleached Established names on the sunblinds, The farthings and sovereigns,

And dark-clothed children at play Called after kings and queens, The tin advertisements For cocoa and twist, and the pubs Wide open all day; And the countryside not caring The place-names all hazed over With flowering grasses, and fields Shadowing Domesday lines Under wheats’ restless silence; The differently-dressed servants With tiny rooms in huge houses, The dust behind limousines; Never such innocence, Never before or since, As changed itself to past Without a word–the men Leaving the gardens tidy, The thousands of marriages Lasting a little while longer: Never such innocence again.

Free Essays

Petrarch and Wyatt Compared

In the world of poetry, imitation occurs at every turn. Many poets will take an original form of poetry and copy the style. This can be said about Sir Thomas Wyatt who attempts to mimic Petrarch’s form; when the symbols, tone, images, rhyme, and setting in Wyatt’s poem “Whoso list to hunt” are compared to Petrarch’s Rime 190 it becomes apparent that he failed to embody the essence of Petrarch in his writing. Symbolism plays a large role in most poems. “A pure-white doe in an emerald glade/Appeared to me, with two antlers of gold” (Petrarch lines 1-2) is a perfect example of symbolism is poetry.

Petrarch is not actually talking about a white deer with golden antlers, he’s talking about a beautiful woman with golden hair. Wyatt also uses a deer as a symbol: “Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind” (Wyatt line 1) a hind is a deer and Wyatt is also using the deer as a symbol for a woman. This is the first similarity, or imitation, between Wyatt and Petrarch.

The second symbolism the two poems share is the collar around the doe’s neck. In Petrarch’s poem it says “I spied on her neck, “No one dares touch me”,/Graven in topaz and diamond stones,/”For Caesar wills I should always run free. ” (Petrarch lines 9-11). In Wyatt’s poem it says: “And graven in diamonds in letters plain/There is written, her fair neck round about,/”Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,/And wild to hold, though I seem tame” (Wyatt lines 11-14). The two are similar only in the idea of a collar and Caesar. Petrarch’s doe’s collar claims she is free while Wyatt’s doe’s collar claims she is property. Although many strive to assimilate famous poets, sometimes they fall flat. Such is the case of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s attempt to parallel Petrarch’s tone.

In Petrarch’s Rime 190, the tone is reverence towards a woman’s purity and beauty in the lines “A snow white doe in an emerald glade/To me appeared, with antlers soft of gold” (Petrarch lines 5-8). Wyatt’s tone is more of sexual desire for an unavailable good looking woman who isn’t necessarily pure: “Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind” (Wyatt line 1) hints that this woman is chased by a large amount of men for her looks (also hinting that she isn’t pure); “But as for me, helas!

I may no more” shows Wyatt’s sexual desire for this woman and his disappointment in her unavailability to him. Petrarch’s woman is a pure and beautiful woman while Wyatt’s is a sexy, impure temptress. Another aspect Wyatt did not compare to Petrarch is visual imagery. Petrarch has a very beautiful way of using visual images which he proves with the lines one through four: “A snow white doe in an emerald glade/To me appeared, with antlers soft of gold,/And leapt two streams, under a laurel’s shade,/Near sunrise, in the winter’s bitter cold. (Petrarch lines 1-4).

The closest visual image in Wyatt’s version is “And graven in diamonds in letters plain” (Wyatt line 11) which is still very far away from being good visual imagery. Rhyme is a defining point of Petrarch’s poetry with a rhyme scheme of abba abba cde cde. Wyatt kept the rhyme scheme of the octave but changed the sestet to cdd cee. “There is written, her fair neck round about,/Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,/And wild to hold, though I seem tame. (Wyatt line 12-14) is an example of the changed rhyme scheme. Wyatt also resorted to eye-rhyme which is also shown in the quotation for the words am and tame.

Petrarch’s poems held firm to the original rhyme scheme of abba abba cde cde and each rhyme is a complete rhyme rather than Wyatt’s lazy eye-rhyming. Petrarch’s rhyme scheme, however, is almost always only visible in the Italian form and it loses rhyme scheme when translated into English. Una candida cerva l’erba/Verde m’apparve, con duo corna d’oro/Fra due riviere, all’ombra d’un alloro,/Levando ‘l sole, a la stagione ascerba” (Petrarch line 1-4) this Italian passage from the poem follows the abba format of rhyming with perfect rhymes which his whole poem follows without using a single eye-rhyme.

The setting of Petrarch’s Rime 190 is beautifully described in the very first stanza: “A snow white doe in an emerald glade/To me appeared, with antlers soft of gold,/And leapt two streams, under a laurel’s shade,/Near sunrise, in the winter’s bitter cold. (Petrarch lines 1-4). The reader automatically knows that the poem takes place in a forest with two streams. On the other hand, Wyatt’s poem has no setting to show for. There are almost no descriptive aspects of his poem. After analyzing these five aspects of poetry, it becomes clear that Wyatt’s imitation of Petrarch only goes so deep. Wyatt merely used Petrarch’s ideas but failed to perfect Petrarch’s unique and beautiful language; where Petrarch shows beauty, Wyatt shows nothing. Wyatt took a pure form and warped it into something not as good as the original.

Free Essays

Comparison Between Always and Tonight I Can Write

The poems by Pablo Neruda that I chose to analyze are complete opposites. In “Always” he describes his feelings for a woman and how they are forever. In “Tonight I Can Write”, Neruda writes about the end of a relationship, the end of love. His descriptions are very vivid in both poems, vivid enough that they make the reader feel what the writer is feeling. In Pablo Neruda’s “Always” the narrator is trying to express his feelings for the woman he loves. He starts the poem starts by telling his loved one that he is “not jealous of what came before me”(line 1-2), the relationships she had before.

I believe he starts with this sentiment because he wants his loved one to know and fully understand that he loves her completely and regardless of her previous relationships. He compares her previous relationships with other men to pieces of them left behind in her body and he still maintains that he loves her unconditionally. The narrator tells the woman he loves to go to the place where he is waiting for her and that they will always be just the two of them. My interpretation of the last sentences of the poem is that he will always stand by her and is anxious to start their life together.

In “Tonight I Can Write”, the narrator begins by saying he can finally write the saddest lines. He uses distance to explain why he can finally write the saddest lines. He compares the distance between him and his former loved one to the distance to the stars in the shattered night sky. He begins explaining his relationship by saying “I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too”(6); I understand with this statement that their relationship has ended and although it was not a serious one, I feel that he wanted it to be. This sentence makes me think that that he was more committed to the relationship than she was.

The narrator alternating between past and present makes me think that he has not completely accepted the fact that the relationship is over. The narrator references the stars in the night sky, and mentions that without his loved one, the night sky seems even bigger. The narrator flashes back to nights in which he was with his loved one and reminisces about kissing her “again and again under the endless sky” (8). He continues to say that when he remembers that does not have her anymore, when he feels that he lost her; those thoughts give him the inspiration to write the saddest lines.

His feeling of loneliness is emphasized by the “immense night, still more immense without her” (13). The narrator does not analyze his relationship or why it ended, the only thing that he considers worth mentioning is that the relationship did in fact end. When he says “the night is starry and she is not with me” (16), I understand that he is accepting the fact that life continues even though his relationship was over. I find these two poems to be so different and so much alike at the same time.

In both poems Neruda’s sentiments are straightforward, honest and heartfelt. Always” describes the joys of being in love and that love being corresponded; while “Tonight I Can Write” describes the heartache of ending a relationship and still longing for the other person. In both poems the author uses vivid descriptions to make the reader feel what he feels, see what he sees and imagine what he imagines. For example, in “Always”, he compares the woman he loves to a river and the men in her relationship past to “drowned men”, I can see this image clearly in my mind and feel undeniable love and acceptance.

In the second poem, “Tonight I Can Write”, the imagery used by the author makes me feel his pain, his sadness and emptiness. When the author says “my sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer”, I can feel his desire to be with her; I can feel his pain. I feel his loneliness as he remembers the woman he loved and the sadness he experienced and is still experiencing due to his relationship ending. The last sentences in both poems are complete opposites of each other.

For example in “Always” the last sentences convey his happiness and eagerness to start their life as a couple: Bring them all o where I am waiting for you; we shall always be alone, we shall always be you and I alone on earth to start our life! (11-16) These last sentences reiterate the fact that the author does not care about the past men in his loved one’s life; he truly loves her and wants to spend the rest of his live with her. Her past does not concern him; all he cares about is the present and the future.

In “Tonight I Can Write”, the last sentences convey a sense of sadness and resignation. I even sense a bit of anger and determination to stop feeling this sadness he feels every time he remembers her: I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her. ” (27-32) These final sentences tell me that the author is trying to convince himself that he no longer loves her. He states it does not take long for a person to fall in love but forgetting seems to take forever.

It is not easy to forget. It is easier to love someone than to forget them. He still remembers the nights when she would rest in his arms and feels unhappy with the fact that he has lost this woman. He ends the poem by stating that after he finalizes the poem, he will no longer feel pain nor miss her; after he finishes the final “verse” he will move on and find happiness with someone else. The theme in both poems is distance and love. In “Always” he is telling his loved one to come meet him; he is waiting for her.

In “Tonight I Can write” he relieves moments of joy from his relationship, only to come to terms that his relationship is over and that he is waiting for her. The narrator’s sadness in “Tonight I Can Write” it’s so overwhelming that I can feel it so much to the point that I can imagine myself living what he is living. In my opinion Pablo Neruda is an exceptional writer that always writes from the heart and is fully committed to making his readers feel what he feels. I have not found a Neruda poem I do not like. His imagery is so vivid, that I can clearly see in my mind the night sky and see the river full of drowned men.

I can feel his love in “Always” almost as If I were feeling it myself. In “Tonight I Can Write” I can feel his sadness to the point that I feel brokenhearted and angry. In conclusion, these two poems are both beautiful in their own special way. “Always” is beautiful in the sense that the narrator reminds us of the joys of a new relationship; while “Tonight I Can Write” is a reminder that although ending a relationship is sad and at the moment it seems like the end of the world, life continues and one should try to be happy always.

Free Essays

Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave

“Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave? ” was first published in the Saturday Review on September 27, 1913, then in Thomas Hardy’s 1914 collection, satires of Circumstance: Lyrics and Reveries with Miscellaneous Pieces. The poem reflects Hardy’s interest in death and events beyond everyday reality, but these subjects are presented humorously, with a strong dose of irony and satire. This treatment is somewhat unusual for Hardy, who also produced a number of more serious poems concerning death. In “Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave? ” a deceased woman carries on a dialogue with an individual who is disturbing her grave site.

The identity of this figure, the “digger” of the woman’s grave is unknown through the first half of the poem (Ruby 1). As the woman attempts to guess who the digger is, she reveals her desire to be remembered by various figures she was acquainted with when she was alive. In a series of ironic turns, the responses of the digger show that the woman’s acquaintances a loved one, family relatives, and a despised enemy have all forsaken her memory. Finally it is revealed that the digger is the woman’s dog, but the canine too, is unconcerned with his former mistress and is digging only so it can bury a bone.

Though the poem contains a humorous tone, the picture Hardy paints is bleak. The dead are almost completely eliminated from the memory of the living and do not enjoy any form of contentment This somber outlook is typical of Hardy’s verse, which often presented a skeptical and negative view of the human condition (Ruby 1). Hardy was born in 1840 and raised in the region of Dorestshire, England, the basis for the Wessex countryside that would later appear in his fiction and poetry. He attended a local school until he was sixteen, when his mother paid a lot of money for him to be apprenticed to an architect in Dorchester.

In 1862 he moved to London, where he worked as an architect, remaining there for a period of five years. Between 1865 and 1867 Hardy wrote many poems, none of which were published. In 1867 he returned to Dorchester and, while continuing to work in architecture, began to write novels in his spare time. Hardy became convinced that if he was to make a living writing, he would have to do so as a novelist (Ruby 2). Drawing on the way of life he absorbed in Dorsetshire as a youth and the wide range of English writers with which he as familiar, Hardy spent nearly thirty years as a novelist before devoting himself to poetry.

In 1874 Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford, who would become subject of many of his poems. They spent several years in happiness until the 1880s, when marital troubles began to shake the closeness of their union. Hardy’s first book of verse was published in 1898, when he was fifty-eight years old and had achieved a large degree of success as a novelist. Although his verse was not nearly as successful as his novels, Hardy continued to focus on his poetry and published seven more books of verse before his death, developing his confidence (Ruby2).

With the composition of the Dynasts: A Drama of the Napoleonic Wars (1904-08) an epic historical drama written in verse, Hardy was hailed as a major poet. He was praised as a master of his craft, and his writing was admired for its great emotional force and technical skill. Hardy continued to write until just before his death in 1928. Despite his wish to be buried with his family, influential sentiment for his burial in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey instigated a severe compromise: the removal of his heart, which was buried in Dorchester, and the cremation of his body, which was interred in the Abbey (Ruby 2).

The structure of “Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave? ” is a familiar one, although not one commonly associated with poetry: the joke. A situation is established and briefly developed, then the punch line turns everything on its head. In Hardy’s bitter joke a dead woman has high- flown expectations of the living: her loved one will remain forever faithful to her; her family will continue to look after her exactly as they did in life: and even her enemy’s hatred will not wane. The poem’s punch line deflates her hopes and reveals them as vain and ridiculous.

Hardy sets up his joke carefully, with a poet’s attention to the language he uses (Ruby 4). The atmosphere is set in the first two lines. A sigh from the grave seems to signal profound meditation on morality and love. The phrasing of the two lines is almost self-consciously “poetic. ” Such language is maintained throughout the first three stanzas. Expressions like “planting rue,” “Death’s gin. ” “The Gate that shuts on all flesh” portray feeling that is heightened, more sensitive and authentic than every day, emotion (Ruby 4).

They awaken a sense of tragedy and compassion in the reader, But Hardy is merely setting us up for the punch line. They tone of the poem’s language begins begins to change in the fourth stanza. One hardly notices it, so great is the reader’s surprise that it was a little dog that was poeticizing all along. The first seeds of doubt have been planted: this poem may not be exactly what it at first seemed. The dead woman recognizes the dog’s voice and utters the article of faith she feels most deeply: a dog’s love outshines anything human (Ruby 4). But when the dog replies, the reader realizes that Hardy is up to something else.

The “poetry” and sentimentality have vanished. The dog’s voice is as ordinary and plainspoken as that of the Wessex country folk. He deflates her last hope so offhandedly and without pretense that its effect is brutal. At the same time the dead woman’s expectations about her lover, her family and enemy are portrayed as products of the same ridiculous sentimental outlook (Hardy 4). “After coming to the end of ‘Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave? ’ the reader realizes that the title would have been more accurate even if less interesting if called, “Oh No One Is Digging on My Grave. ’ ” (Ruby 10).

Free Essays

Understanding Poetry

Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 1 Note to Teachers Set Poems 2012-2014 Teachers have been speaking about the lack of critical material on some of the literature set pieces (particularly the poems) selected for study at the Caribbean O’Level. Diverse interpretations make an exploration of literary material interesting and expansive. This guide to the study of ‘set’ poems is a response to those who wish to be expansive in their analysis and appreciation. It is not intended to be a model commentary but an analysis or interpretation that will stimulate further discussion and analysis. Some poems are treated with questions.

This approach helps to elucidate the central themes or ideas in the poems. This is a cost free publication offered to teachers. Prepared by Clifford Narinesingh co – author of A Comprehensive English Course , Books 1-3 and CXC English A. and author of Developing Language Skills Books 1,2,3, and CSEC Exam Book 4 A Royards Publishing Company Project This is a free publication and not intended for resale 2 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATING POETRY DULCE et DECORUM EST Theme: The theme of the poem is the subject with which the poet deals. It is the central idea around which the event or experiences revolve.

In this poem, the central idea is the “horrors of war”. The ghastly image of war, the torture to which soldiers are subjected, reflect the theme – “the haunting flares”, “gas shells dropping” “froth corrupted lungs” are evidence of the atrocities of war. INTENTION OF THE POET What does the poet hope to achieve? The poet here, wishes to convey a universal message to the reader, that one should not believe that it is noble to die for one’s country, because of the untold miseries which soldiers experience. To the poet, neither fame nor glory can compensate for the immense suffering that war inflicts on humanity.

MOOD The mood conveyed in the poem is one of anger, revulsion and disgust. The impact of the incident in which the soldier is caught in an explosion and the agony he suffers is one of loathing and revulsion. “I saw him drowning” “guttering, choking, drowning” shows the immense suffering of a dying soldier. This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry THE MAIN INCIDENT The traumatic experience of a soldier who is caught in a sudden explosion while returning to his camp. 3 IMAGERY The poet achieves his purpose or intention through his use of intense language and vivid imagery.

These are the similes used by the poet to make the images interesting and meaningful. 1. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks. ” Here the soldiers returning from the battle field look like old beggars, bent with age and exhaustion, carrying their sacks on their backs. The comparison is appropriate as it appeals to the visual sense and brings the readers face to face with the exhausted soldiers. 2. “knock-kneed, coughing like hags” The image of the knock-kneed soldiers coughing like hags, shows the terrible effect of the smell of gun powder, and gun shots.

It appeals to the auditory sense and reminds the reader of the sounds of old people coughing. 3. “And floundering like a man in fire or lime” The image presents the soldier in a state of panic, unable to move in any fixed direction as he is trapped in the fire. The reader can see the movements of the soldier, like a blind man floundering and fumbling to find his way. 4. His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin” The comparison vividly describes the look of the soldier in agony and pain during the final moments of his death.

LANGUAGE OF THE POEM These are some examples of the poet’s use of emotive and intense language “We cursed through sludge” “limped on blood-shod This is a free publication and not intended for resale 4 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry “Drunk with fatigue” “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” “White eyes writhing in his face” “Froth-corrupted lungs” The language used is both appropriate and effective and evokes the sympathy of the reader. THIS IS THE DARK TIME, MY LOVE The theme of this poem is about a people whose dreams of a better life have been threatened by the destructive power of the ‘strange invader’.

The atmosphere of the poem is one of tension, fear, anxiety. “Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious. ” This is because of the presence of soldiers: “all around the land brown beetles crawl about. ” Even nature is sympathetic to the cause of the people as expressed in the line “red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow. ” The poet’s mood is one of lamentation for the misery of his people, the instability and sorrow brought about by the strange invader. Imagery: The images appeal to the sense of sight and sound.

They present visual pictures that are striking. The picture of the soldiers, “all around the land brown beetles crawl about”, in their thick armoury, the hard covering on their backs is like beetles. Here you hear the tramping of soldiers “whose boots of steel tramp down the slender grass”. You can also see the slender grass trampled upon and looking withered. This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry Figurative Language Metaphor: All around the land brown beetles crawl about. ” 5 The soldiers are compared to brown beetles.

Personification: “Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow. ” The poet gives the flower qualities of a human being – the emotion of sorrow. Irony: “It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery. ” The words “festival” and “carnival” are indicative of joyous celebrations but what the country is really experiencing is sorrow, not joy. The Woman Speaks to the Man who has employed Her Son In this poem, a mother expresses her deep affection for her son. She reflects on the unfortunate circumstances of her life as a single parent. She is now concerned about the welfare of her son.

This woman is seen as one, whose deep devotion and dedication to her son make her transcend her difficulties. Her responsibility to her son takes priority. But what shatters her now, is the fact that her son is employed by someone who appears to be engaged in shady activities. To her, the gun he carries is a symbol of destructiveness and criminal activities. The conversational style of the poem makes the reader empathize with the thoughts and feelings of the mother. The reader discerns in the mother, fortitude, resilience and spiritual strength which inform her actions. 1. What is the theme of the poem? . The mood of the poem is one of (a) disgust and anger (b) optimism and hope (c) sadness and despair This is a free publication and not intended for resale 6 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 3. Which of these words describe the tone of the poem? formal, conversational, angry, serious? 4. What do the lines “a metallic tide, rising in her mouth each morning” suggest about the mother? 5. “He treated all his children With equal and unbiased indifference. ” What do the above lines suggest about the father? 6. Why do you think that the mother is upset about the job her son has taken? 7.

What do the “black cloth” and “veiled hat” symbolize? 8. Select the line which expresses the mother’s helplessness. 9. Why does she allude to the “thief on the left side of the cross”? 10. How do you feel as you read the poem? GOD’S GRANDEUR The poem is expressive of God’s presence in the natural world even though man’s exploits have served to destroy nature and its freshness and purity. To the poet, God’s grandeur is ever pervasive, revealing itself like ‘flame from shook foil’. The word ‘flame’ is significant as it conveys the brilliance of God as the shining light the foil gives off.

The poet employs the image of an electric charge, which develops into a flame or a light suggesting the power of His greatness. God’s light assumes a richness like the ‘ooze of oil crushed’ or pressed to it finest quality. As the oil gathers strength to richness so too does God’s greatness. The images are all interwoven and expanded to express the grandeur of God. In stanza 2, though man is aware of God’s greatness, he still exploits it through commerce and industrialization, blemishing the earth and destroying the freshness of nature.

The repetition, ‘generations have trod, have trod, have trod’ conveys man’s persistence in his ruthless exploitation. The persistent repetition of the words ‘have trod’ leading to ‘smeared and bleared’, tells of the poet’s resentment and This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry disgust at man’s actions. ‘Man’s smudge’ and ‘smell’ are expressive of a polluted and squalid environment, all due to man’s uncaring attitude. Unthinking man cares not about the destruction he leaves; he seems not aware of what he has done to nature as expressed in the words ‘nor can foot feel being shod. The natural sensation of walking barefooted is lost. The language of stanza one (1) lines 5-8, reveals a protest against man’s ruthlessness. The poet reacts to man’s inhumanity and indignity with reasoned calmness, a protest without rage or anger for he is consoled by nature’s presence as described in stanza two (2). In stanza two(2), the poet tells that God’s presence or power through nature is renewable and invigorating in spite of man’s destructive nature. Nature is described as indestructible or inexhaustible. “For all this, nature is never spent There lives a dearest freshness deep down things. The poem ends on a positive note, an assurance that springs from the poet’s faith as he is convinced of the Holy Ghost’s presence with vitality and life and all that is luminous, “warm breath and bright wings” 7 GOD’S GRANDEUR 1. Using your own words, express in about two to three lines the theme of the poem. 2. State the central contrast which this poem presents between God and man. Explain it fully with reference to specific details. 3. Select one metaphor used in the poem and show how it is expanded. 4. Explain in your own words the meaning of the following lines. (a) Why do men now not reck his rod? b) And for all this, nature is never spent. 5. The poet uses the following devices. Select one example of each and comment on its effectiveness: (a) simile (b) alliteration (c) compression (d) repetition This is a free publication and not intended for resale 8 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry ORCHIDS In this poem, the writer is about to relocate and is sending her material belongings “to fill the empty spaces of her future life”. One thing that cannot be boxed is the sentiment she feels for the orchids. The orchids belong to her emotional and spiritual world. The purple colour is a symbol of the blood of Christ on the Cross.

What is evident in the poem is that some experiences in life can never be forgotten. Even though you may wish to suppress them, like a stubborn orchid, they bloom and blossom. For the poet, the orchid is an inspiration to the creative instinct. It sends a message, tells a story that reaches poetic dimensions. Even though the pressed orchids become “thin and dried transparency”, she believes that they still are a stimulus for poetic thought. In the poem, the material world is pitted against the world of nature. The world of nature is constant and eternal. 1. What is the theme of the poem? a) relocating to a new home (b) nurturing a spray of orchids (c) the poet’s impression of the orchids 2. What is the mood of the poem? 3. From where did the poet get the orchids? 4. What effect have the purple petals on the poet? 6. What was peculiar about the orchids? 7. (a) Explain the meaning of “their thin dried transparency”. (b) Of what value is the “thin dried transparency” to the poet? This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 9 SOUTH Motivated by a deep sense of longing to return to the islands, the poet recaptures in his memory delightful scenes of his native land.

He recalls the bright beaches, the fishermen’s houses and the sound of the sea which heralded his birth. The poet has journeyed from the islands to distant lands where his experiences have been different from those in the islands. He has visited stormy cities, felt the sharp slanting sleet and hail and the oppressive shadows of the forest. These are opposed to the warmth of the islands, and the salty brine of the sea. To the poet, the ocean that surrounds the islands is a symbol of adventure, the freedom of the spirit and the limitless possibilities which reside in its vastness.

In his view, the rivers that form part of his present environs remind him of a life that lacks purpose – he feels resentment for the rivers. He recalls the refreshing memories of the sea which reflect the harmony between man and nature. He sees the shells, the fishermen’s houses, the pebbled path, the fish and the gulls and the white sails. These are the treasures of the islands which he recaptures in the poem. These are the treasures which make him forget the pains, the sorrows and the hatred. 1. 2. 3. State briefly what the poem is about. Where is the experience taking place?

Select two images in the poem. To which sense does each appeal? 4. 5. Select those expressions which show the poet’s experiences of hardship. Which literary device does the poet use in each of the following? ‘bright beaches blue’ ‘sharp slanting sleet’ ‘their flowing runs on like our longing’ ‘splash’ ‘white sails slanted seaward’ 6. What is the mood or feeling of the poet? This is a free publication and not intended for resale 10 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry EPITAPH, DREAMING BLACK BOY, THEME for ENGLISH B. The poems ‘Epitaph’, ‘Dreaming Black Boy’ and ‘Theme for English B’ have similar themes.

They express discrimination and intolerance in human relationships and reflect the denial of the basic human rights of recognition, justice, equality and freedom. The three poems are treated differently. You will observe that in the poem “Epitaph” the image is vivid, stark and gruesome. Amidst the beauty of the “falling sunlight” and the swaying cane”, the dead body of the slave hung. The image evokes in the reader anger against human brutality and compassion for the fate of the slave. Through the sad tale, the poet achieves his intention of giving the reader insights into the brutality meted out to slaves in their days of enslavement.

The poem is a tribute to the dead slave, and is melancholic in mood and tone. Epitaph 1. Describe the image presented in stanza one of the poem. 2. Which of the following best defines the feelings evoked by the image? (a) elation and despair (b) compassion and anger (c) hatred and defeat (d) disappointment and disbelief 3. Identify words and expressions which describe the morning’s atmosphere. 4. The poet compares the swinging body to “a black apostrophe to pain”, most likely because “the swung body” (a) resembled an apostrophe mark. (b) was prominently positioned as a mark symbolizing pain. c) was at the heart of two elements. (d) was the cause of much agony and pain. This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 5. Explain the meaning of each of the following expressions: (a) punctuate our island tale (b) brutal sentences (c) anger pauses till they pass away 6. Do you think that the title of the poem is appropriate? Give a reason to support your answer. 7. Which of the following best expresses the theme of the poem? (a) a sorrowful tale (b) man’s inhumanity to man (c) victory and defeat (d) a blot on our history 8.

What is the mood experienced throughout the poem? 11 Dreaming Black Boy In the poem ‘Dreaming Black Boy’, the boy expresses his thoughts and emotions in abstract images. He dreams and wishes for the rights that should be accorded to all human beings – recognition and love, and the freedom of movement and speech. These images appeal to the emotions and the reader empathizes with the boy who is being denied these rights. The poem is written in blank verse. This makes the tone of the poem conversational. 1. What is the theme of the poem? (a) disappointment (b) relationships (c) alienation (d) injustice . Why do you think the “black boy” has dreams and wishes? 3. What does the boy wish according to stanza one (1) of the poem? (a) opportunity to compete (b) recognition and warmth This is a free publication and not intended for resale 12 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry (c) freedom to play (d) to forget his ancestors 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Why does the boy wish for an opportunity to be educated? Identify two pieces of evidence which show the boy’s feeling of rejection. Identify the lines in which the boy feels that his freedom of movement and speech have been suppressed.

Who are the “torch throwers” and the “plotters in pyjamas” alluded to in stanza four (4)? What do you think is the tone of the poem? (a) What terrible burden does the boy suffer? (b) What is his attitude to suffering? Theme for English B In the poem “Theme for English B” the poet deals with a student’s feeling of frustration and disappointment in the society. The thoughts which he expresses on the “page” echo the issues that confront him in an environment of whites. The mind of the student is confused. Though he was born and bred in a society of white people, and educated in a school among whites, yet he feels a sense of alienation.

In the page that he writes, he is justifying his right to acceptance and equality, on the basis that all people share a common natural heritage of instincts, emotions and tastes. He firmly believes that each race impacts on the other and learns from each other. Perhaps he is questioning whether discrimination should give way to harmony among the races. 1. What does the word “true” in line four (4) -“Then, it will be true”, imply? (a) authenticity 2. (b) reality (c) credibility (d) integrity Identify the aspects of the student’s life which seem to make the assignment difficult. This is a free publication and not intended for resale

Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 3. The student’s page would be based on (a) life at the college (b) his instincts and emotions (c) a resolution of the conflicts in his mind (d) the Harlem experience 4. What does the student wish to say by listing the things he likes? 5. What makes the student and the instructor part of each other? 6. According to the student’s page, which of the following statements are True? (a) The page on which the student writes is coloured. (b) Feelings, natural instincts and tastes are manifested by all people. (c) Sometimes whites and coloured cannot tolerate each other. d) All people are not born equal. (e) Each race impacts on the other and learns from each other. 7. Which words best describe the character of the student? impulsive, rational, obstinate, compromising, intelligent, outspoken, unbalanced. The poem is written in Blank Verse form. What does this lend to the style and tone of the poem? 13 8. Test Match Sabina Park 1. What is the theme of the poem? (a) Fall from glory (b) An exciting cricket match (c) Reflections of a spectator (d) Failed batsmen 2. Which line in the poem tells that the crowd lacked the spirited response to the match? 3. The speaker is critical of the English batting.

This is a free publication and not intended for resale 14 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry Quote the lines in support of the criticism. 4. Why is the poet’s rationale for a dull game not convincing even to himself? 5. What is the “tarnished rosette” which the writer mentions in the last stanza? Why is it tarnished? 6. The tone of the poem is (a) sarcastic (b) formal (c) conversational (d) harsh 7. What does the native language of the folk lend to the poem? 8. In this poem you hear two voices. Whose voices are they? 9. What is meant by the line “Proudly wearing the rosette of my skin”? 0. What insights do you get of the relationship between the English and the native folk from the expression, “Eh white bwoy”? Ol’ Higue and Le Loupgarou Many stories of strange supernatural characters derive from the cultural tradition of the folk. These characters form an important part of the folklore brought by the Africans to the West Indies. Some of these have been preserved in narratives and poems. The character to which this poem ‘Ol’ Higue’ alludes is the ‘Soucouyant’ whose mission is to draw blood from human beings. Read the poem. Discuss the following questions. 1.

What image of Ol’ Higue does the poet present in stanza one (1)? 2. What complaint does Ol’ Higue make in stanza one (1)? Quote the expressions which support your answer. This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 3. (a) Why would Ol’ Higue be “Burning like cane fire”? (b) Why does she have to count a thousand grains? 4. Why is the blood of babies attractive to Ol’ Higue? 5. How and when does she perform her “blood-sucking” task? 6. Give one reason why Ol’ Higue would love women giving birth. 7. Do you consider Ol’ Higue a mysterious character? . What feeling does Ol’ Higue evoke in you as you read the poem? 15 Le loupgarou Read the poem and discuss the following questions based on it. 1. (a) (b) What is the “curious talk” alluded to in line one (1) of the poem? What does the word “curious” suggest? 2. Who are the “greying women”? 3. Why, do you think, Le Brun was “greeted by slowly shutting jalousies”? 4. Which word describes Le Brun’s dress? 5. What, do you think, is the bargain Le Brun made with the fiends? 6. What was responsible for Le Brun’s ruin? 7. How did people know that le Brun had changed himself into a dog? 8.

What literary device is used in line one(1)? “A curious tale that threaded through the town”. 9. .How do you feel as you read the last two lines of the poem? You will observe that both poems deal with the supernatural. The Soucouyant is the counterpart of the Le Loupgarou. They both make a pact with the devil to engage in mysterious and fiendish dealings. This is a free publication and not intended for resale 16 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry They both are greedy and are ruined through their greed. They both evoke fear in the people around them. Once upon a Time Read the poem and discuss the questions based on it. . What do you think is the theme of the poem? (a) Behavioural patterns in human relationships. (b) Attitudes of people in a modern age. (c) Loss of culture founded on love, sincerity and goodwill. (d) How people lived long ago. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What difference is there in how people laughed long ago and how they laugh now? Give one piece of evidence that shows how people deceive others. Why, do you think, that the poet wears different faces in different contexts? Provide evidence to show that the poet is influenced by the behaviour and attitudes of the new age. Does the poet like the changes in behaviour?

Give reasons to support your answer. 7. Which of the following best expresses the mood of the poet? (a) melancholy (b) disappointment (c) anger (d) reflection 8. 9. What can you infer about the character of the poet? Which of the following lessons can one learn from this poem? (a) Pattern your lives to please others (b) Appearances are often deceptive This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry (c) Values should change to suit modern living. (d) Be yourself at all times. (e) Honesty, love and consideration should guide your actions. 7 Forgive my Guilt 1. What is the theme of the poem? a) An accident b) A plea for forgiveness c) Two injured birds d) A confused mind 2. 3. 4. 5. What incident is the poet recalling? Where and when did the incident take place? Identify two contrasting images of the birds, before and after the incident occurred. Select images that appeal to the sense of (a) sight (b) sound Explain each and say whether it is appropriate or not. 6. Identify two similes in the poem. Explain each and say whether it is appropriate or not. 7. 8. 9. What mood does the poem evoke in the reader?

What are your feelings towards the poet? State the qualities of the poet which you discern in the poem. To An Athlete Dying Young 1. 2. What is the theme of the poem? What is the intention of the poet? This is a free publication and not intended for resale 18 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Find two expressions in stanza one (1) which indicate the spectator’s response to the athlete’s victory. What does the line “Townsman of a stiller town” suggest about the athlete? Quote two expressions in stanza three (3) which show the poet’s view on “glory and laurels”.

Why would “silence” and “cheers sound the same to the dying athlete? Write T next to the statements that are true. By dying young the athlete’s glory a. died with him. b. is unchallenged on the field. c. does not gain wide acclaim. d. is not worn down by time. e. is suppressed by other runners. 8. The poem best exemplifies a. reflections on the transience of fame and glory. b. a tribute on the demise of a young successful athlete. c. ovation on the victory of a young adult. d. thoughts on life after death. It is the Constant Image of Your Face In this poem, the poet experiences a deep feeling of guilt and remorse.

The poet has framed an image of his beloved whose face is constantly before him, while he is engrossed in a world of his own; a world in which thoughts are like knives, hurling accusations at him. These accusations cut deeply into the poet’s consciousness and remind him of his treachery to his native country. Apparently, the poet has left his native home, having been captivated by the beauty and assurances of his beloved. However, deep in his heart he knows that no other love can lay claim to his loyalty but his homeland which is above This is a free publication and not intended for resale

Understanding and Appreciating Poetry all other loves. Feelings of remorse and guilt plague the thoughts of the poet. To him, leaving his country is like an act of treason and treachery. Although he prizes his beloved, he pleads for forgiveness from his country whose tenderness matches or surpasses that of the beloved. 1. What do you think is the theme of the poem? (a) The guilt and remorse of a poet (b) Alienation from one’s own country (c) The poet’s love and loyalty for his native country 2. Describe the mood which the poet experiences throughout the poem. Give suitable quotations in support of your answer. a) Select one image in the poem. (b) To which sense does it appeal? (c) Explain its importance in the poem. 4. (a) What is the meaning of “my world of knives”? (b) What effect does this world have on the poet? 5. 6. Quote two expressions which show that the poet’s love for his country surpasses all other loves. What qualities of the poet’s character are revealed in the poem? 19 3. West Indies, U. S. A. In this poem, the poet records his impressions of the Islands from a view, thirty thousand feet above. He sees some of the islands as more prominent than others.

Some are more culturally and economically developed as can be seen in his impression of Puerto Rico, with “silver linings in the clouds” and the glitter of San Juan. But to him, each country has its own distinctive features and characteristics, which are highlighted at its terminal. Against these islands, the poet sees the influence of the United States on Puerto Rico: he sees Puerto Rico as a representation of the United States – “America’s backyard”. Stringent laws are enforced at its terminal to prevent passengers This is a free publication and not intended for resale 20

Understanding and Appreciating Poetry from entering without legal documentation. The fear of foreigners who sneak into the island and tarnish the image of the land is well noted by the poet. He notes the influence of American culture and lifestyle in Puerto Rico. The glitter of the cities pulsating with life is well captured in the “polished Cadillacs” and “Micro chips”. 1. What is the theme of the poem? 2. (a) Select the simile in the first two lines of the poem. (b) Explain why the poet makes the comparison, (c) Do you find it interesting and original? Why? 3. What is the distinctive feature of each of the following terminals? a) Port au Prince (b) Piarco (c) Vere Bird 4. Why are all passengers other than those embarking at San Juan, required to stay on the plane? 5. What do you think is “that vaunted sanctuary”? Why is it considered a vaunted sanctuary? 6. Select three pieces of evidence which show America’s influence on the lifestyle of Puerto Rico. 7. What do you think is the mood of the poem? 8. What is the tone of the poet? Composed Upon Westminster Bridge The poet records his impressions of the scene at early dawn when no mechanized activity is going on and the air is clean and devoid of smoke.

He is touched by the beauty and splendour of the city. Only those whose souls are dull would not be touched by the awe-inspiring scene; the greatness is majestic. All objects natural or otherwise are now visible because of the glitter of the morning sun which spreads over the landscape. Never before has the poet witnessed such beauty which the splendour of the sun radiates over valley, rock or hills. Not only is the beauty enchanting, but also the peace and calm which the scene has on the mind of the poet: In such an atmosphere even the houses seem asleep and all is still.

In the scene there is no activity. The air is smokeless because the truckers have This is a free publication and not intended for resale Understanding and Appreciating Poetry not started to pour their emissions into the atmosphere. The poet is deeply impressed and stunned at the calm and beauty of the morning. His exclamation, “Dear God! ” tells us that his response has reached spiritual and divine dimension. 21 1. What is the theme of the poem? 2. Where and when is the experience taking place? 3. What is the mood of the poet? 4. Select the figure of speech in the first five lines of the poem.

With what does the poet compare the city? 5. Why is the air smokeless? 6. Select lines which show that there is an absence of noise in the scene. 7. What does the poet mean by “the very houses seem asleep”? 8. From the poet’s impressions of the scene, what can you tell of his character? 9. Do you like the poem? Give reasons to support your answer. A Contemplation Upon Flowers The poet sees in the flowers a calm and willing acceptance of death – brave and harmless, humble and modest, the flowers are born of the earth and to the earth they return with no resistance.

Unlike the poet, the flowers subject themselves to the natural order and pattern of the universe. They bloom in a particular season and then fall to earth. The poet wishes his life to be perpetually in spring for he fears the winter, the harbinger of death. His pride, vanity and fear make him unwilling to succumb to death. However, the poet longs to be like the flowers, to smile and look cheerfully at death. He needs to accept death without fear and to make peace with the inevitable. The wreaths of flowers brighten and sweeten the atmosphere in times of death.

The poet wishes to be like the flowers, that his breath will sweeten and perfume his death. Enslaved by pride, vanity and fear, the poet struggles to come to terms with the experience of death. This is a free publication and not intended for resale 22 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry The poet represents humanity in his fear of death. The flowers represent Nature and its willing acceptance of death. 1. What do you think is the theme of the poem? 1. Select the qualities in the flowers that the poet admires. 3. What does the expression “that I could gallant it like you” mean? . “Embroidered garments” suggest (a) the flowers are very beautiful (b) even the most beautiful are subject to death (c) Nature produces colorful things (d) the petals of the flowers are adorned with a pattern 5. Why does the poet wish his life would be always spring? 6. What two lessons can the flowers teach the poet? 7. What makes it difficult for the poet to accept death? 8. The word which best describes the mood of the poet is (a) joyful (b) sorrowful (c) pensive (d) angry This is a free publication and not intended for resale

Free Essays

Poem Introductions- Stories of Ourselves Cie

Because I Could Not Stop for Death In “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” the author is taken on a metaphorical “ride” past her entire life and to her end by a personified death. Symbolism, personification and alliteration are used to highlight the fact that she has come to accept fate as natural and is even happy with her new, “eternal,” life.

My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough “My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough” tells of an author looking back on his life as a sheltered, high class boy that is harassed by the town’s “common kids.” He is abused both physically and emotionally while he, following higher class norms, ignores them. Similes, verbs in past tense, diction such as “kept” and symbolism help describe not only the situation but give insight on the boy’s true desire: acceptance.

Attack “Attack” is a poem about fear, anxiety, uncertainty and danger. The author uses imagery, personification and onomatopoeia to paint a picture of war, describe the dangers as “alive” and out to get you and reflect the quick and crude sound of bombs and bullets.

Anthem For Doomed Youth “Anthem For Doomed Youth” is a tragic depiction of the meaningless and devastating ends young soldiers meet in battle. Their deaths, unhonored, are blended into the overall war landscape of “stuttering rifles” and “angered guns.” Alliteration, personification and metaphors are used to illustrate a landscape filled with gun and bomb sounds and dangers that parallel the human condition during the war.

My Dreams Are Of A Field Afar “My Dreams are of a field afar” is a song of guilt in which a man remembers his fallen comrades and laments not having acted in a certain way. The author mentions the fact that he remains alive because, unlike his mates, he failed to react in an honorable and satisfactory manner; this conflict serves as the root of his remorse.

One Art In “One Art,” the author tries to confront her emotions towards losing a loved one by comparing it to many trivial things. The authors hesitation to write at the end and the change in tone when she says “the art of losing’s not too hard” (an obvious diversion from the confidence expressed in previous lines) show that no matter how much she wants to believe that the “art of losing,” might be perfected to the point of indifference, she will continue to be affected. Personification in the beginning parallels the nature of the more significant loss at the end of the poem.

Tears, Idle Tears Tears, Idle Tears is a poem about the past: a past that although filled with happiness and love is remembered as dead with regret and sadness. Using metaphors, imagery and the repetition of the last line in each stanza, the author paints a picture of a beautiful “before” that has somehow been lost. Death is made a synonym of that love that once was, but is now a thing of the past.

Because I liked You Better “Because I Like You Better” is a poem of unreciprocated love, a love so strong it was willing to deny itself for the other’s sake. Metaphors are used to see exemplify the effect actions and events have on the author, i.e pain and reluctant agreement. The author might, to a degree, be scornful of his situation since he decides to, without much trouble, accept rejection and describes his love as “…better than suits a man to say.”

Free Essays

Eavan Boland Poems

The poem “This Moment” sees Boland take her inspiration for ordinary everyday domestic and common place scenes. It is a poem of intense tenderness that takes an ordinary event of a child running into its mother’s arms and deems it worthy of artistic expression. Boland uses very short sentences to that culminate to the climax of the embrace between mother and child. She uses images that are sensual and language that is rich and suggestive. The speaker’s appreciation of the everyday extends even to ripening of an apple, a process so slow that almost nobody notices it. These are things that happen out of sight.

Boland uses the image of light to further this idea of things happening out of sight, as it is suggestive of people engrossed in their own activities. Perhaps, overall, this poem is a celebration of motherhood. It highlights the mysterious beauty of things we are usually too busy to notice such as moths swooping, stars rising and the beauty of the moment when a mother takes a child up in her arms. The entire poem is a series of images that lead up to this moment The Pomegranate In “The Pomegranate” Boland fuses together the universal truth of Greek myth to the modern day woman.

She draws on the legend of Ceres and Persephone to symbolise the poets own maternal instincts, that is the parental desire to protect and shield the child from any harm that may come their way. Her daughter’s uncut fruit leads her to recall the pomegranate. Boland cleverly creates her own physical environment which mirrors the mythological landscape of Hades “winter and the stars are hidden”. She uses images in a symbolic way, particularly the image of the pomegranate which is a fruit associated with temptation. In this poem, Boland uses overtones of the Garden of Eden.

She suggests that all those who eat this fruit are drawn into darkness. Boland then uses this motif of darkness to create a bleak atmosphere. It can be argued that the process that this poem deals with is that of sexual awakening. Boland uses the myth of Ceres and Persephone to provide an insight into the relationship between mother and daughter. She concludes with a terse promise that “she will say nothing”. She realises that the temptations that life will offer cannot be stunted by a mother’s love. “If I defer the grief, I will diminish the gift………. ut what else can mother give her daughter buts such beautiful gifts in time” Love “Love” is a beautiful poem which celebrates an intense moment of connection. This is an honest poem which deals with complex emotions. Much like “The Pomegranate” “Love” breeds new life into ancient mythology. It is a deeply personal expression of a powerful emotion. Boland cleverly uses simple and restrained language to mirror the theme of this poem. In the first stanza, the run-on lines mirror the emotional rush of the lovers’ first meeting.

Boland’s lack of punctuation allows the poem to become more honest and sincere. As with any of Boland’s poetry, she moves between the past and the present. This movement is reflected in Boland’s choice of tense. She opens in the past tense “Once we lived”, however she changes to the present “I am”. The sands of time are not allowed to settle. All of this adds to Boland’s appeal. What Boland does come to realise is that the past is but a shadow and for all of its passion, it can never be relived. The Shadow Doll This poem “The Shadow Doll” is a highly symbolic poem.

The glass dome that encases the shadow doll can be viewed as being symbolic of the expression that the institution of marriage represents for women. She opens the poem with an image of the wedding dress that is rich in detail. She comments on its blazing whiteness. Yet the speaker feels nothing but pity for the “glamorous doll” for all its glamour is an “airless glamour” as it remains contained beneath a glass dome. Boland imagines the doll having witnessed the intimate details of family life as a detached observer. She realises that the doll is a prisoner behind the glass.

It may never speak or express the things it has experienced. It is forced to remain forever “discreet”. Boland creates a powerful sense of claustrophobia in the final lines as she repeats the word “pressing” which emphasises her own sense of desperation and urgency. For Boland this motion of pressing down mirrors the confines and restraints and the pressure of marriage. The power of the word “locks” refers to the vows of marriage which are reinforced by tradition and society. For the speaker, these locks will soon click into place, trapping her in the marriages “airless glamour”. White Hawthorn in the West of Ireland

This poem draws on Irish superstitions. In essence the poem can be read as a beautiful and unique commentary about being Irish. In this poem Boland contrasts two very different worlds. She presents the west as an almost magical place where the ordinary rules of nature have been suspended. Boland’s language creates a haunting, mystical atmosphere “the hard shyness of Atlantic light………. under low skies have splashes of coltsfoot, the superstitious aura of the hawthorn” In contrast the world of the suburbs is presented as a cultured area, full of “lawnmowers” and “small talk”.

The poem celebrates the wild and magic west, as a refuge from the choking boredom of the urban way of life. For Boland it is almost sacriligous to constrain this wild and almost sacred plant; by bringing it indoors it was believed that it would be risking a terrible punishment from supernatural forces “a child might die perhaps, or a unexplainewd fever speckled heifers” In this poem the hawthorn serves as a link to our past and the journey the speaker undertakes is a journey back to the beay=uty of the west and its traditions.

Boland uses of run on lines serve both to capture her excitement as well as to mirror the growth and fluidity of the wild hawthorn. She concludes this poem by commenting on the language spoken by these people; that is the language of superstition which Boland finds both fascinating and enthralling. The War Horse In “The War Horse”, the horse becomes a poetic symbol for the violence that has characterised Irish history. The flowers become the victims of war. They are the “expendable” numbers who are crushed by the great machines of war, scarified for some greater cause.

The parallel between our casual reactions to the crocus’ death is designed to reflect our lack of concern with the endless tally of statistics in Northern Ireland. This poem is a highly crafted poem. Boland attempts to illustrate the carefree attitude of most people to the violence in the very structure of the poem itself as she is not confined or restrained by the rules of poetic verse. The poem is a graphic and vivid portrayal of the atrocities of war. She uses the damaged flowers in her garden to highlight the horrible and repulsive images of mutilated bodies throughout the poem.

Boland captures the attitude of indifference. She concludes this poem with a powerful image of a landscape destroyed by conflict. The Child of Our Time “The Child of Our Time” transcends into meaninglessness of death and violence to produce something beautiful. For a moment the beauty of this poem eclipses the bitterness and hatred that have dogged Irish history. Boland invites us to find a “new language” so that we can put an end to violence that has resulted in this tragedy. This is a very honest, sincere and loving poem.

Boland creates a sense of haunting finality in the simplicity of “you dead”. She employs words such as “we” and “our” to make us share some of the responsibility in the child’s death. The brutal meaninglessness of the killing is reflected in Boland’s choice of imagery. The image of “broken limbs” and “the empty cradle” serve to reinforce the tragedy. She concludes the poem with the effective use of alliteration. The soft sound of the S’s are tender and soothing “sleeping in a world, your final sleep has woken”

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Criticism on the Poem Do Not Go Gentle

The first poem that Dylan Thomas ever published, when he was only eighteen, was an early version of “And Death Shall Have No Dominion. ” The cycle of life and death formed a constant underlying theme throughout his poetry since that earliest effort. In “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” a moving plea to his dying father, death takes on a new and intensely personal meaning for Thomas. David John Thomas was an important influence throughout his son Dylan’s life. A grammar school English teacher, he had a deep love for language and literature which he passed on to his son.

In a 1933 letter to a friend, Dylan Thomas describes the library he shared with his father in their home. His father’s section held the classics, while his included modern poetry. It had, according to Thomas, everything needed in a library. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” was in all likelihood composed in 1945 when D. J. Thomas was seriously ill; however, it was not published until after his death on December 16, 1952. Thomas sent the poem to a friend, Princess Caetani, in the spring of 1951, telling her that the “only person I can’t show the little enclosed poem to is, of course, my father who doesn’t know he’s dying.

After his father’s death, the poem was included in the collection In Country Sleep. Ironically Dylan Thomas himself died just a year later. The poem discusses various ways to approach death in old age. It advocates affirming life up until the last breath, rather than learning to accept death quietly. Poem Summary Lines 1-3 The first tercet introduces the poem’s theme; it also introduces the two recurring refrains that end alternate stanzas. Although these two lines, the first and the third, both state Thomas’s basic theme about resisting death, they contrast in several ways.

Each of the predominant words in line one finds its opposite in line three. “Gentle” is paired with “rage,” “good” with “dying,” and “night” with “light. ” The tone of the two lines also is quite different. Line one is subdued; the verbs are deliberately simple, vague. Thomas uses the predicate adjective “gentle,” making it describe the personality of the individual, rather than the more obvious choice “gently,” an adverb which would only refer to the action of the verb. “Good night” when it refers to dying becomes a paradox for Thomas, meaning a good death.

Although this line may be an exhortation to resist death, its entire tone is gentle. Compare this to the beginning of line 3 where “rage” is repeated twice. Here the poet urges a furious resistance to death. The second line introduces Thomas’s advice to those who near death. The idea of burning is frequently associated with the passion of youth; however, Thomas wants the elderly to cling as passionately to their lives as anyone would. The phrase “close of day” establishes a connection with the “good night” of the previous line, while the words “burn” and “rave” move the reader into the third line of the stanza.

Line 4 The next four stanzas describe four different types of old men and examine their attitudes and feelings as they realize that death is approaching. The first type Thomas mentions are the wise men. They may be considered scholars or philosophers. Perhaps because of this, intellectually they accept the inevitability of death. Thomas begins the line with the word “though,” however, to indicate that their knowledge has not prepared them to accept the reality of death. Line 5 This line explains why the wise men are unable to act in accordance with their knowledge.

Scholars are known and measured by their words. These men have many words still left unwritten or unspoken, so their goals have not been accomplished. Thomas ends this line in mid-thought, leaving the rest of the idea to the next line. This parallels the unfulfilled lives of the wise men, with their messages only partially delivered. Line 6 In many villanelles, the refrains simply serve as a chorus. Here, Thomas makes it an integral part of the meaning of the stanza. Lines 7-8 “Good” seems to be used in a moral sense here, describing men who have lived worthy, acceptable lives.

The phrase “last wave” presents readers with a dual image. The men themselves are a last wave, the last to approach death; they also seem to be giving a final wave to those who they are leaving behind. “Crying,” as well, has two meanings here. In one sense, it simply means speaking out, but it also carries the sense of weeping and mourning. Like the wise men, the good men have not accomplished what they wished to in life. Their actions failed to stand out. Thomas uses rhyme for different purposes here. Rhyming “bright” at the end of line 7 with “might” in line 8 erves to emphasize both words and link the two stanzas. Also, the rhyming of “by,” “crying,” and “dying” unites this stanza, while the use of “deeds” and “danced” is an example of alliteration. Line 9 The intensity of the refrain contrasts with the nature of the good men as Thomas has presented them. They seem passive, their actions weak. Now at the end of life, they must finally behave passionately, finally be noticed.

Lines 10-12 Thomas’s wild men are very different from the good, quiet men in the previous stanzas. The image, “caught and sang the sun,” is joyous and powerful when compared to frail deeds. These men have lived live fully, not realizing that they, too, will age and die. Since Thomas himself cultivated an image as a wild Celtic bard, this stanza seems ironically prophetic about his own death. Line 13 The word “grave” carries two meanings here: seriousness and death. These are the men of understanding; paradoxically, although they are blind, they are able to see more clearly than those with sight. Lines 14-15 The mentions of blindness are references to his father.

Thomas spoke of this blindness again in the unfinished elegy he wrote after his father’s death, describing him as: Too proud to die, broken and blind he died … An old kind man brave in his burning pride. In this stanza, Thomas contrasts light and dark imagery; for instance, the term “grave” is countered by “gay,” just as “blind” is contrasted with “sight. ” Lines 16-17 While the last stanza referred to Thomas’s father only obliquely, this stanza is addressed to him. The “sad height” refers to his closeness to death.

There are Biblical overtones to Thomas’s request in line 17, as he asks for a final blessing or curse; the patriarchs delivered such parting messages to their sons. As in many Bible verses, with their parallel structure, blessings and curses are paired together. If this line is read as iambic pentameter, however, the emphasis will fall on the words, “bless” and “now. ” The image of “fierce tears” shows contrast: the tears acknowledging the inevitability of death, while the use of “fierce” indicates resistance until the end. “I pray” reinforces the Biblical imagery; however, the prayer is addressed to his father, the agnostic, rather than God.

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Linguistics and Poetry

1 PREFACE TO SIDNEY’S ASTROPHEL AND STELLA Somewhat To Read For Them That List Tempus adest plausus, aurea pompa venit, so ends the scene of idiots, and enter Astrophel in pomp.

Gentlemen, that have seen a thousand lines of folly drawn forth ex uno puncto impudentiae, & two famous mountains to go to the conception of one mouse, that have had your ears deafened with the echo of Fame’s brazen towers, when only they have been touched with a leaden pen, that have seen Pan sitting in his bower of delights, & a number of Midases to admire his miserable hornpipes, let not your surfeited sight, new come from such puppet play, think scorn to turn aside into this theatre of pleasure, for here you shall find a paper stage strewed with pearl, an artificial heaven to overshadow the fair frame, & crystal walls to encounter your curious eyes, whiles the tragi-comedy of love is performed by starlight. The chief actor here is Melpomene, whose dusky robes, dipped in the ink of tears, as yet seem to drop when I view them near. The argument, cruel chastity; the prologue, hope; the epilogue, despair; Videte, queso, et linguis animisque fauete.

And here, peradventure, my witless youth may be taxed with a margent note of presumption for offering to put up any motion of applause in the behalf of so excellent a poet (the least syllable of whose name, sounded in the ears of judgement, is able to give the meanest line he writes a dowry of immortality), yet those that observe how jewels oftentimes come to their hands that know not their value, & that the coxcombs of our days, like Aesop’s cock, had rather have a barley-kernel wrapped up in a ballad than they will dig for the wealth of wit in any ground that they know not, I hope will also hold me excused, though I open the gate to his glory, & invite idle ears to the admiration of his melancholy. Quid petitur sacris nisi tantum fama poetis?

Which although it be oftentimes imprisoned in ladies’ casks & the precedent books of such as cannot see without another man’s spectacles, yet at length it breaks forth in spite of his keepers, and useth some private pen (instead of a picklock) to procure his violent enlargement. The sun for a time may mask his golden head in a cloud, yet in the end the thick veil doth vanish, and his embellished blandishment appears. Long hath Astrophel (England’s sun) withheld the beams of his spirit from the common view of our dark sense, and night hath hovered over the gardens of the nine sisters, while ignis fatuus and gross fatty flames (such as commonly arise out of dunghills) have took occasion, in the middest eclipse of his shining perfections, to wander abroad with a wisp of paper at their tails like hobgoblins, and lead men up and down in a circle of absurdity a whole week, and never know where they are.

But now that cloud of sorrow is dissolved which fiery love exhaled from his dewy hair, and affection hath unburdened the labouring streams of her womb in the low cistern of his grave; the night hath resigned her jetty throne unto Lucifer, and clear daylight possesseth the sky that was dimmed; wherefore break off your dance, you fairies and elves, and from the fields with the torn carcasses of your timbrels, for your kingdom is expired. Put out your rush candles, you poets and rimers, and bequeath your crazed quartorzains to the chandlers, for lo, here he cometh that hath broken your legs. Apollo hath resigned his ivory harp unto Astrophel, & he, like Mercury, must lull you 2 ________________________________________________________________________ PREFACE TO SIDNEY’S ASTROPHEL AND STELLA asleep with his music. Sleep Argus, sleep ignorance, sleep impudence, for Mercury hath Io, & only Io Paean belongeth to Astrophel.

Dear Astrophel, that in the ashes of thy love livest again like the phoenix; O, might thy body (as thy name) live again likewise here amongst us, but the earth, the mother of mortality, hath snatched thee too soon into her chilled cold arms, and will not let thee by any means be drawn from her deadly embrace, and thy divine soul, carried on an angel’s wings to heaven, is installed in Hermes’ place, sole prolocutor to the gods. Therefore mayest though never return from the Elysian fields like Orpheus; therefore must we ever mourn for our Orpheus. Fain would a second spring of passion here spend itself on his sweet remembrance, but religion, that rebuketh profane lamentation, drinks in the rivers of those despairful tears which langorous ruth hath outwelled, & bids me look back to the house of honour where, from one & the selfsame root of renown, I shall find many goodly branches derived, & such as, with the spreading increase of their virtues, may somewhat overshadow the grief of his loss. Amongst the which, fair sister of Phoebus eloquent secretary to the Muses, most rare Countess of Pembroke, thou art not to be omitted, whom arts do adore as a second Minerva, and our poets extol as the patroness of their invention, for in thee the Lesbian Sappho with her lyric harp is disgraced, & the laurel garland which thy brother so bravely advanced on his lance is still kept green in the temple of Pallas. Thou only sacrificest thy soul to contemplation, thou only entertainest empty-handed Homer, & keepest the springs of Castalia from being dried up. Learning, wisdom, beauty, and all other ornaments of nobility whatsoever, seek to approve themselves in thy sight, and get a further seal of felicity from the smiles of thy favour: O Ioue digna viro ni Ioue nata fores.

I fear I shall be counted a mercenary flatterer for mixing my thoughts with such figurative admiration, but general report, that surpasseth my praise, condemneth my rhetoric of dullness for so cold a commendation. Indeed, to say the truth, my style is somewhat heavy-gaited, and cannot dance trip and go so lively with Oh, my love, ah, my love, all my love’s gone as other shepherds that have been fools in the morris time out of mind, nor hath my prose any skill to imitate the Almain leap verse, or sit taboring five years together nothing but to be, to be, on a paper drum. Only I can keep pace with Gravesend barge, and care not if I have water enough to land my ship of fools with the term (the tide, I should say).

Now every man is not of that mind, for some, to go the lighter away, will take in their fraught of spangled feathers, golden pebbles, straw, reeds, bulrushes, or anything, and then they bear out their sails as proudly as if they were ballasted with bull-beef. Others are so hardly bested for loading that they are fallen to retail the cinders of Troy and the shivers of broken truncheons to fill up their boat, that else should go empty, and if they have but a pound-weight of good merchandise, it shall be placed at the poop, or plucked in a thousand pieces to credit their carriage. For my part, every man as he likes, Mens cuiusque is est quisque. ‘Tis as good to go in cutfingered pumps as cork-shoes, if one wear Cornish diamonds on his toes.

To explain it by a more familiar example, an ass is no great state man in the beasts’ commonwealth, though he wear his ears upsevant muff, after the Muscovy fashion, & hang the lip like a cap-case half open, or look as demurely as a sixpenny brown loaf, for he hath some 3 ________________________________________________________________________ PREFACE TO SIDNEY’S ASTROPHEL AND STELLA imperfections that do keep him from the common council, yet of many he is deemed a very virtuous member, and one of the honestest sort of men that are, so that our opinion (as Sextus Empiricus affirmeth) gives the name of good or ill to everything. Out of whose works (lately translated into English for the benefit of unlearned writers) a man might collect a whole book of this argument, which no doubt would prove a worthy commonwealth matter, and far better than wit’s wax kernel: Much good worship have the author.

Such is this golden age wherein we live, and so replenished with golden asses of all sorts that, if learning had lost itself in a grove of genealogies, we need do no more but set an old goose over half a dozen pottle-pots (which are, as it were, the eggs of invention), and we shall have such a breed of books within a little while after as will fill all the world with the wild-fowl of good wits; I can tell you this is a harder thing than making gold of quicksilver, and will trouble you more than the moral of Aesop’s glow-worm hath troubled our English apes, who, striving to warm themselves with the flame of the philosophers’ stone, have spent all their wealth in buying bellows to blow this false fire. Gentlemen, I fear I have too much presumed on your idle leisure, and been too bold, to stand talking all this while in another man’s door, but now I will leave you to survey the pleasures of Paphos, and offer your smiles on the altars of Venus. Yours in all desire to please, Tho: Nashe.

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The Curse of the Sacred Fruit

In the beginning of time a serpent slithered through a garden as he notices a soft nude woman walking alone. The serpent comes up behind her and tells the beautiful woman of the apple from a sacred tree that will make her as all knowing and powerful as god. Although god had told this woman to never eat from this sacred tree, she was convinced by the evil snake. After convincing her male companion they both eat the sacred apple and immediately are awaken as their eyes open wide. That very instant they, for the first time in human history, become aware of their physical self; the birth of self hatred of the human form had emerged.

Soon after God exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and dammed their ancestors. Today a young girl stands in front of a mirror disgusted by what is been reflected upon her. This girls struggle against the disease her primordial ancestor had given her is depicted in Eavan Boland’s poem “Anorexia. ” As Boland begins her own demise she is envisioned with the beginning of time where man had not yet fallen and self awareness had not been created; a vision that will consume her to do whatever it takes to go back to Eden.

As the speaker stares at the mirror she is consumed with negative thoughts in her mind. She begins to believe her “flesh is heretic”(line 1) as her body is rejecting her ideal thought of what she wants it to be. Her flesh begins to play tricks on her as it “Meshed [her] head / in the half-truths”(7-8). Her flesh becomes “a witch”(2) using tricks to control the girl from not eating. To cure this manipulative disease she is to destroy her exterior. In the following lines the speaker becomes much more explicit in how she is to cure herself:

I am burning it Yes I am torching Her curves and peps and wiles They scratch in my self denial Here it shows how she is starving herself by burning away whatever fat remains from her fragile bones that are protruding from her skin as she now becomes “starved and curveless”(16). Boland begins a slow and painful suicide to bring an end to her disease. Boland falls sleep and enters a vivid dark dream which reveals to her the beginning of her disease. In this vibrant dream she in trapped inside a place she describes as “a claustrophobia”(22).

In this “sensuous enclosure”(23) she hears the “warm drum”(25) beat of a man’s heart and the “song of his breath”(26). “Sleeping in his side”(27) she is “a rib”(19). Boland has regressed back to the beginning of time before the sins of Eve when she was only one rib of Adam. In this dream she discovers what she needs to do to get ride of her disease. She wants to return back inside the womb of Adam. To return to Eden were life was blessed with no self-awareness, and no anorexia. She hopes to erase Eve’s mistake of the past and not eat the scared fruit.

She will finally be able to live a life without self awareness and end the struggle that has consumed herself against her own flesh. Boland will finally “grow / angular and holy”(35-36) again. After she is awakened she is obsessed with returning back to Adam and the Garden of Eden to finally be filled with bliss. Returning to Eden “will make me forget”(40), forget “the fall”(42) she proclaimed. She will forget the fall of mankind and the creation of the disease that has destroyed her from within.

She wants to also forget the hell of what is anorexia as she goes “into forked dark / into [the] python needs”(43-44). Sadly the only way she can possibly reach the gates of Eden would be through suicide which she has already begun. “Only a little more”(28) she says, “only a few more days”(29) until she is dead and can be “back into him again”(32). It is unknown what happens to the girl next, all we are certain off is that the disease of anorexia had beaten her to nearing or even committing suicide. The “witch” was able to trick her to figuratively burn herself alive in agony and pain.

In the mist of all this, her lack of nutrition caused her to hallucinate of the beginning of time when Humanity was only one being, a time when there was no self awareness and no anorexia, a time when man had not yet fallen. This vision that continues to consume her was merely an illusion from the witch and the serpent. All it was was a mere trick to convince her to committee suicide and break god’s major law. Killing herself to return back to Eden will come to no prevail as suicide will only lead her to an eternity in the depths of hell with the serpent, an eternity of living with anorexia.

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William Butler Yeats

To Yeats, his ideas of the Irish politics of his time were never far from his modernist poems. He makes the political world seem a place of passion and contradictions, like art, requiring of us not to understand history in moral terms, such as “good and bad” but, rather, in seemingly emotionally artistic terms, like “pity” or “terror. ” For example, in the poem, “Easter 1916,” Yeats fixes on the horror and captivation of the considerably devastating event of the Irish uprising.

In the first stanza, the line “Being certain that they and I/ But lived were motley is worn,” signifies and emphasizes Yeats strong idea of “Irish-ness”. It is as if these men and women that he speaks of, such as Pearse and MacBride, share essentially nothing with him, nothing with each other really, except for their Irishness – the “motley” that they wore and their passion for Irish Independence – their “hearts with one purpose alone”.

He recognizes and glorifies their “number in the song,” their part in the war and this brings in a technique in which Yeats quite often used which was that of encompassing classical allusions within his poetry. For example, the line, “This man had kept a school/and rode our winged horse” invites the image of Pearse, the man, riding Pegasus, a mythical beast or, it transforms Pearse into an ancient Irish hero, Cuchulain. By using classical allusion, Yeats is effectively ascending his characters into an almost intangible and iconic state.

They are more than human and thus glorified, which is then ultimately sculpting Irish politics into an almost mythical state. In addition, the paradoxical line, “a terrible beauty is born,” returns in the poem like an impersonal chorus, suggesting an almost strangely impersonal event. The line, “All changed, changed utterly/ a terrible beauty is born” is a lyrically artistic buildup of stress that becomes almost chime- like in the poem, calling and announcing the coming of the birth of a new and terrible age.

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The Rhymes in Christina Rossetti’s Echo

In the three-stanza lyric poem “Echo,” Christina Rossetti uses rhyme as a way of saying that one might regain in dreams a love that is lost in realit. As the dream of love is to the real love, so is an echo to an original sound. From the comparison comes the title of the poem and also Rossetti’s unique use of rhyme. Aspects of her rhyme are the lyric pattern, the forms and qualities of the rhymng words, and the special use of repetition.

The rhyme pattern is simple, and, like rhyme generally, it may be thought of as a pattern of echoes. Each stanza contains four lines of alternating rhymes concluded by a couplet: a b a b c c. There are nine separate rhymes throughout the poem, three in each stanza. Only two words are used for each rhyme; no rhyme is used twice. Of the eighteen rhyming words, sixteen — almost all — are of one syllable. The remaining two words consist of two and three syllables. With such a great number of single-syllable words, the rhymes are all rising ones, on the accented halves of iambic feet, and the end-of-line emphasis is on simple words.

The grammatical forms and positions of the rhyming words lend support to the inward, introspective subject matter. Although there is variety, more than half the rhyming words are nouns. There are ten in all, and eight are placed as the objects of prepositions. Such enclosure helps the speaker emphasize her yearning to relive her love within dreams. Also, the repeated verb “come” in stanzas 1 and 3 is in the form of commands to the absent lover. A careful study shows that most of the verbal energy in the stanzas is in the first parts of the lines, leaving the rhymes to occur in elements modifying the verbs, as in these lines:

Come to me in the silence of the niqht (1)

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live (13)

My very life again though cold in death; (14)

Most of the other rhymes are also in such internalized positions. The free rhyming verbs occur in subordinate clauses, and the nouns that are not the objects of prepositions are the subject (10) and object (11) of the same subordinate clause.

The qualities of the rhyming words are also consistent with the poem’ emphasis on the speaker’s internal life. Most of the words are impressionistic. Even the concrete words — stream, tears, eyes, door, and breath — reflect the speaker’s mental condition rather than describe reality. In this regard, the rhyming words of 1 and 3 are effective. These are night and bright which contrast the bleakness of the speaker’s condition, on the one hand, with the vitality of her inner life, on the other. Another effective contrast is in 14 and 16, where death and breath are rhymed. This rhyme may be taken to illustrate the sad fact that even though the speaker’s love is past, it can yet live in present memory just as an echo continues to sound.

It is in emphasizing how memory echoes experience that Rossetti creates the special use of rhyming words. There is an ingenious but not obtrusive repetition of a number of words — echoes. The major echoing word is of course the verb come, which appears six times at the beginnings of lines in stanzas 1 and 3. But rhyming words, stressing as they do the ends of lines, are also repeated systematically. The most notable is dream, the rhyming word in 2. Rossetti repeats the word in 7 and uses the plural in 13 and 15. In 7 the rhyming word sweet is the third use of the word, a climax of “how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet.” Concluding the poem, Rossetti repeats breath (16), low (17), and the phrase long ago (18). This special use of repetition justifies the title “Echo,” and it also stresses the major idea that it is only in one’s memory that past experience has reality, even if dreams are no more than echoes.

Thus rhyme is not just ornamental in “Echo,” but integral. The skill of Rossetti here is the same as in her half-serious, half-mocking poem “Eve,” even though the two poems are totally different. In “Eve,” she uses very plain rhyming words together with comically intended double rhymes. In “Echo,” her subject might be called fanciful and maybe even morbid, but the easiness of the rhyming words, like the diction of the poem generally, keeps the focus on regret and yearning rather than self-indulgence. As in all rhyming poems, Rossetti’s rhymes emphasize the conclusions of her lines. The rhymes go beyond this effect, however, because of the internal repetition — echoes — of the rhyming words, “Echo” is a poem in which rhyme is inseparable from meaning.

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Rita Dove

The poet that I have chosen to do is Rita Dove. In her newest collection of poems, Sonata Mulattica, there were many to choose from. However the two that I wanted to look deeper into were Exit and Golden Oldie. In both poems she is able to convey strong emotions in the characters she described. Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Ray A. Dove, was a chemist, and a pioneer of integration in American industry. Both of her parents encouraged persistent study and wide reading. From an early age, Rita loved poetry and music. She played cello in her high school orchestra, and led her high school’s majorette squad.

As one of the most outstanding high school graduates of her year, she was invited to the White House as a Presidential Scholar. At Miami University in Ohio, she began to pursue writing seriously. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in English in 1973, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for two years at the University of Tubingen. She then joined the famous Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, receiving her Masters’ Degree in 1977. At Iowa, she met another Fulbright scholar, a young writer from Germany named Fred Viebahn. They were married in 1979. Their daughter Aviva was born in 1983.

From 1981 to 1989, Rita Dove taught creative writing at Arizona State University. Appearances in magazines and anthologies had won national acclaim for Rita Dove before she published her first poetry collection, The Yellow House on the Corner in 1980. It was followed by Museum (1983) and Thomas and Beulah, (1986) a collection of interrelated poems loosely based on the life of her grandparents. Thomas and Beulah won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 1993, Rita Dove was appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

She was the youngest person, and the first African-American, to receive this highest official honor in American letters. In the fall of 1994, she read her poem, Lady Freedom Among Us, at the ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U. S. Capitol. Other publications by Rita Dove include a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday, the poetry collections Grace Notes, Selected Poems and Mother Love, and the novel Through the Ivory Gate. Her verse drama, The Darker Face of the Earth had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 1986.

Another production of the play appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D. C. , in 1997. Dove has brought her poetry to television audiences through her appearances on CNN and NBC’s Today Show. Public Broadcasting has devoted an hour-long prime time special to her life and work. She has shared television stages with Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers and Big Bird. On radio, she has hosted a National Public Radio special on Billie Holliday, and has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.

She joined former President Jimmy Carter top welcome an unprecedented gathering of Nobel Laureates in Literature to Atlanta, Georgia for a Cultural Olympiad held in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games. That same year, a symphonic work for orchestra and narrator — “Umoja — Each One of Us Counts,” — was performed at Atlanta’s Symphony Hall with Rita Dove’s text performed by former Mayor and U. N. Ambassador Andrew Young. Dove’s lifelong interest in music has taken other forms. She has provided text for works by composers Tania Leon, Bruce Dolphe and Alvin Singleton.

Her song cycle Seven for Luck, with music by John Williams, was featured on a PBS television special with the Boston Symphony. In 2009, she published Sonata Mulattica, a book-length cycle of poems telling the story of the 19th century African-European violinist George PolgreenBridgetower and his turbulent friendship with Ludwig van Beethoven. Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the German author Fred Viebahn. They have one daughter.

In her spare time, she studies classical voice and practices the viola da gamba, a 17th century forerunner of the modern cello. Now that a little more about her life is understood it is time to examine the poems themselves. In Golden Oldie Dove tells a narrative about her getting home. The emotions in this poem are clearly evident, and show that the speaker is confused about her life. The first thing I noticed was a irregular rhyming scheme. Often times poetry follows certain patterns, but in this case there is none. The words that rhyme are: swaying and playing, and sentiment and lament.

Also, the words “alive” and “live by” are very similar sounding. Thus by having some things rhyme, in an irregular manner she shows that there is some consistency within randomness. This is similar to the girls life – very confusing. Moreover, her word choice is quite important in the poem. For instance, swaying is a specific choice because it has connotations of being lost or indifferent. Later on she reaffirms this thought by comparing herself in a simile to a blind pianist caught in a tune meant for more than two hands.

The scenario she compares herself to is somewhat humorous to think about, because the pianist is basically completely helpless. Obviously the feat described is quite confusing. In the next few lines she describes the song playing on the radio in her car. It is being sung by a young girl who, in her opinion is dying to feel alive. Dying to feel alive is a pretty intense statement to make. It seems that to make such a drastic statement she may be feeling that same issue. It continues to say “to discover a pain majestic enough to live by. ” This line is very interesting because most people don’t require a pain to live.

Rather they try to avoid pain. But it appears that the girl singing, and possibly the author, want to feel something rather than nothing at all. She was getting very intimate with the song, as proven by her turning off the air conditioning, despite the hot temperatures. Also, she leaned back as if to block out everything else but what she heard. The line in the song so closely paid attention to is described as a lament. A lament is described as a way to express sadness, grief, or sorrow. Then, upon hearing the melancholy statement, the speaker says she greedily took in without a clue who my lover might be.

This was the most confusing part of the poem to me. At first I didn’t understand how she could greedily take something in, when there was no actual object to get. However, it appears that she is hoarding the idea of having a lover who wants to know where their love went. Thus, it leads me to believe that she is in search of love when she concludes with “or where to start looking. ” Searching for love can be really confusing. Therefore a theme statement for the overall meaning of the poem can be derived: Often times human beings can be very confused in their emotions.

Sometimes they can find understanding in other confusing things because it is easy to relate to. The second poem by Rita Dove that I analyzed was Exit. In this case the author conveys that the emotion being felt by the speaker is anxious hopefulness. It is written from the speakers perspective about the reader, which I thought was very interesting. It’s about “you”, the reader, who is going somewhere. There is no rhyming scheme and it is one large stanza. The speaker starts off by saying that a visa is granted.

This tends to imply hat someone is going somewhere outside of their current country for an extended period of time. This can cause some anxiety. Moreover, it is said that the traveler wanted to get it, because there was hope that it would arrive. Then upon leaving, there is the realization that it is actually happening. The author compares the exit to that of in a movie. More information about the visa follows. It is has been granted, “provisionally. ” Meaning temporary or conditional, the speaker describes it as a fretful, or scary word. Then a reference to the windows of the house is made.

I think the author included this to reinforce the mindset that your leaving home, a very special place. However, an immediate contrast is made by saying “here it’s gray. ” This is in regards to the fact that a feeling of sorrow is present due to leaving. A suitcase is described as the saddest object in the world, which seems odd because the person wanted to travel according to the hope for a visa. Although it may be the case where the traveler knows that it is best to go, but is still upset about leaving. The final few lines reference the childhood of the reader.

A metaphor is used to compare the windshield of the vehicle too cheeks of the reader. “And now through the windshield the sky begins to blush as you did when your mother told you what it took to be a woman in this life. ” This is a much more positive angle on the journey they’re about to embark on. After reviewing the poems many times a general theme statement can be constructed: Often times human beings feel anxious about something they’re going to do. However, despite their concerns they can still have some feelings of hope that they will be successful.

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Old Age in Sylvia Plath’s Poetry

Leaving cert study notes © Paula O’Sullivan Plath and old age. Plath has a fear of growing old, and deals with the passage of time and old age in many of her poems. Morning Song, written after the birth of her first child, deals with Plath’s preoccupation with growing old. The poet has birthed a child, and therefore fulfilled her requirement as a human being to procreate. Human’s get to an optimum age for bearing children, and after that, it is a slow decline into old age and inevitable death. Plath speaks of “Effacement at the wind’s hand”, which basically means she will be rubbed out and forgotten with the passage of time.

Related reading: How to be Old Poem

The poet uses a complex image of rainwater reflecting it’s mother cloud to tell us that she sees herself in her daughter, and now all that’s left is to disappear into nothing. The condensed water of a cloud falls to the ground, and the cloud is no more. Mirror follows the theme of growing old very closely. Time moves on and on in this poem. The first stanza contains phrases like ‘so long’ and ‘over and over’ to tell us that time keeps moving. The second stanza continues to chart the march of time. She comes and goes’ and ‘each morning’ reflect the poet’s unrest and constant awareness that time is still ticking away. The poet sees her youth as wasted, the ‘young girl’ has been ‘drowned’. She has a premonition of the future, in which an old woman has failed to break the cycle, and describes her condition as a ‘terrible fish’. The poet sees herself as elderly and is afraid. The metaphor of the fish is as if the poet is stuck, netted and helpless. Plath shows she is dreading old age in the final lines of the poem. The passage of time throughout the text points to the inevitability of growing old.

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Common Theme in Cinderella and Barbie Doll

In the two poems, “Cinderella and Barbie Doll,” both authors use different literary devices to prove a common theme. The common theme throughout both poems is that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness. Also, the poems show how societies create a standard of living, which classifies how certain genders should act. The poem “Cinderella” by Anne Sexton is describing the original fairytale “Cinderella” in a distorted view.

Anne Sexton begins her poem by giving examples of impoverished people such as a plumber, a nursemaid, a milkman, and a charwoman whom accidentally got lucky in life and morphed into lavishly living citizens. In the first four stanzas, Sexton uses antistrophe to further convey how important “that story” is to the poem (line 5, 10, and 21). Anne Sexton then shifts to recounting the story of Cinderella in stanza 5. She describes a young girl who lives with her father, mean stepmother, and two pretty, but despicable stepsisters, after her kind mother dies.

The poet uses similes to describe both the two stepdaughters (Line 29) and Cinderella’s slave-like tendencies (Line 32). She then talks about how a dove comes out of a tree, granting her every wish. The day of the ball, the dove helps her pick up all the lentils her stepmother had thrown on the floor as a trick to hinder her from going. And with this challenge completed, the dove also gives Cinderella the full royal clothes and treatment. For two days, at the ball, Cinderella manages to steal the prince’s heart, escape her stepmother and sister’s recognition, and flee back into the pigeon house before getting caught.

However, the third day, her shoe gets stuck on the sticky waxed steps, thus giving the prince an opportunity to search for his princess by making every girl in the kingdom try the slipper on. In the poem, Cinderella’s sisters cut off part of their feet, to get the shoe to fit; however when Cinderella slips her foot into it, it fits perfectly. Stanza 10 encourages sympathy with revenge instead of fighting back; “and the white dove pecked their eyes out. (97).

The author uses a simile, “like two dolls in a museum case” (102), to describe the idea ow women lived like they had a glass ceiling over their head. This further conveys the theme of the poem being how societies create a standard of living, which classifies how genders should act. In the last stanza, Cinderella marries the prince and the wedded couple lives happily ever. Lines 103-106 portrays the author’s use of asyndeton to convey how Cinderella and the prince lived with no hardships, which further conveys the theme of the poem that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness.

Anne Sexton’s language is dark, informal, and humorous. Darkness is achieved when she describes violent scenes of slicing feet, or pecking eyes. Informality shows through the way she addresses the reader directly every now and then. And humor is conveyed in the way Sexton elaborates on the revolting scenes and describes those using comic similes, such as “the hollow spots where the eyes once existed, resembling soup spoons. ” The ending of the poem reveals what is always left out of fairytales, reality.

And Sexton somehow implies that a lack of life’s hardships and tiny imperfections is not the happy ever after life, but rather a predictable existence. She declares in the end that Cinderella and her prince don’t deserve the prize of living the dream, “their smiles are plastered; they are neither genuine nor sincere (107). ” Cinderella is just like the plumber, the charwoman, or the nursemaid. She got lucky. None of them worked their way to the top. And that’s what they deserved, a seemingly happy life, with nothing to be happy about.

The attitude throughout the poem is also very critical of the characters in the poem and judge mental of the Grime Brother’s original fairytale. The common misconception in the poem is that many people with seemingly perfect lives have hardships just like everybody else. “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a poem written as a fairy-tale of sorts, and suggests that the enormous social pressures on women to conform to particular ways of looking and behaving are ultimately destructive. In lines 2-4, Marge Piercy uses polysyndeton to convey how important a girl’s accessories are.

Then in lines 5-6, the poem experiences a shift, where the speaker chooses to end the stanza in an ironic way. In stanza two, the poet’s diction describes the irony of the girlchild having an “abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity” (9-10). Being good with one’s hands (manual dexterity) is a conventional male trait and similarly, while having an “abundant sexual drive” for boys might be seen as a good thing, for girl’s it is been looked down on; thus supporting the theme that certain gender’s should act how society wants them too.

Stanza four describes how much society influenced the girl child and lines 12-14; asyndeton is used to show how much society can ask of women. The poem ends full of irony. The very person that the girlchild could never be is the person “appearing” in her casket (19-23). It is ironic that the very people who couldn’t appreciate the girlchild for who she was in life, now admire the person she is made to be in death. The last line of the poem echoes the happy ending of fairy-tales.

Piercy is saying that because of women’s subservient position in society, it is often difficult for their lives to have happy endings. In “Barbie Doll”, it is society that achieves consummation. “Barbie Doll” is a narrative poem written in free verse and can be read as a parable of what often happens to women in a patriarchal society. The moral of Piercy’s poem also functions as a warning: it urges readers to be aware of the ways in which society shapes our identities and urges women not to compare themselves to idealized notions of feminine beauty or behavior. Cinderella Story” shows the gullibility of women and the unrealistic dream we all have about meeting the perfect man and leading the perfect life. It opens our eyes to the fact that the fairy tale conveyed in the original “Cinderella” rarely ever happens in real life.

Society influences children and women profoundly to the point where they are willing or wanting to change absolutely everything about themselves or die in the poem, “Barbie Doll. Society is also willing to tell people how they should act, specifically based on gender, and if someone falls from that certain spectrum, then they are no good for society. Anne Sexton and Marge Piercy communicate the theme of both poems through the utilization of tone and literary devices. “Cinderella” and “Barbie Doll” share the common theme that people will mutilate themselves to obtain what they perceive as happiness and that society create a standard of living, which classifies how certain genders should act.

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Maxine Kumin Poetry Analysis

Maxine Kumin definitely has a very shocking way of portraying her poetry. It can easily be seen that she has a deep love for nature and animals. However, it goes to a much further distance than your average person. In the poem “Morning Swim” and “To Swim, to Believe” she describes swimming, as obviously mentioned in the title. In “Morning Swim” she describes becoming one with the body of water as she travels through it. In “To Swim, to Believe” she describes Jesus walking on the water, as described in the Bible. She states about how Peter had doubt about what Jesus told him to do, and thus as a result fell into the water.

This poem demonstrates the importance of believing. “Heaven as Anus” is a very strong poem. It describes the multiple horrors and atrocities that animals face while they are facing testing and experiments. The poem really stabs at you and expresses its opinion with feeling. For example, “The whitewall labs fill up with the feces of fear. ” (Kumin) “Requiem on I-89” describes the carcasses of animals being devoured on the road. She shirks in no details at all. The putrid, split carcasses strewn across the road are explained in vivid detail. For example, “lies on its side, bust open. ” (Kumin) Kumin uses very interesting rhyme schemes.

In “Morning Swim” it is pretty straightforward. Every line rhymes with the one following it. In “Heaven as Anus” I can really only see the first and third lines rhyming, as well as the last two lines rhyming. In “Requiem on I-89” I can see that no consecutive lines rhyme with each other. Donald Justice does a very good job of using imagery to portray events in his poems. In “First Death” he describes the death and wake of his grandmother. One quote that really affected me was “Powder mixed with a drying paste” as I remember the makeup that my late great-grandmother wore. In “Absences” he describes the emptiness of a snow-stricken day.

This poem is rather gloomy in tone, as it describes his memories of playing a childhood piano. I really found that “Men at Forty” was a rather interesting, if somewhat humorous, poem. In it, he is describes how middle-aged men reminisce about certain things. For example, remembering teaching their sons how to tie their shoes. “The face of the boy as he practices tying. ” He says “There are more fathers than sons themselves now,” alluding to the fact that at this point in the men’s lives (at least in this time period) their children are growing old enough to the point where they are beginning to move out.

Donald Justice rhymes his poem “First Death” in a very simple matter. Every line rhymes with the subsequent line following it. This goes on for all of the forty-eight lines that it contains. I could honestly find no evidence of rhyme in his poem “Children Walking Home From School Through Good Neighborhood. ” The same is the case of “Absences. ” This reinforces the concept, that comes from previous readings as well, that rhyme is not needed at all to create great works of poetry.

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Acceptance: Chinese & American Born Perspectives in Poetry

Kelvin Yee 10/21/12 Skyline College English 110 Paper #2 Acceptance: Chinese & American Born Chinese Perspectives in Poetry The United States is a place where people can have diverging views on how to describe the diverse nation. The country in fact does not have an official language because of the myriad of distinct ethnicities residing within the country. With all this diversity it is only natural for people to struggle with which cultural norm to follow. Of the many immigrants that have journeyed to the U. S. or a better life, Chinese immigrants perhaps have been discriminated against the most because at one point they were considered an alien incapable of assimilating which lead to laws preventing their immigration and naturalization during our nation’s not too distant history. From a Chinese perspective, appearance is everything and by default that means acceptance as well. Chinese immigrants often will develop opposing personas since the United States is predominantly an individualistic society whereas Chinese society is predominantly a collectivist culture.

This imbalance in values has caused some Asian-Americans to become baffled over how to discover their true identity. While achieving acceptance while balancing multiple identities is not an easy feat to accomplish, authors Kitty Tsui and Laureen Mar have used poetry in similar and dissimilar ways to support people who are endeavoring to navigate through diverse and conflicting identities, through their poems: A Chinese Banquet and My Mother; Who Came From China, Where She Never Saw Snow. Both authors are activists that use poetry as well as other literary mediums to reach a broader audience.

Tsui was born in Hong Kong and she is a lesbian with a loving partner so she is very familiar with longing for acceptance since she is a minority within a minority. Mar is of Chinese descent born in the United States at a time when discrimination against Chinese and Asians in general was still vastly prevalent throughout the nation. The two authors use their intellect to enlighten as many people as they are able to reach with their literary works. The protagonist in Tsui’s poem is arguably modeled after her where she is striving to be accepted for being gay by her family.

The protagonist attempts to come out to her mother “but she will not listen, she shakes her head. ” (Tsui 613) This avoidance can become very problematic due to the conflicting societal teachings and will only perpetuate the alienation. When there is disapproval in Chinese families often a distance will start to build as children and parents start alienating one another. This largely stems from Chinese children being taught not to question authority while Western society is teaching almost the exact opposite.

The main character in Mar’s poem is a Chinese immigrant mother that succumbs to a cycle of monotonous despair without even realizing it. The mother appears to be content doing the same job day in and day out for relatively low wages as she has been sewing sleeves onto ski jackets over and over again for twenty four years. She must work to support her family and because “she earns money by each piece, on a good day, thirty dollars” (Mar 533), thirty dollars that could easily be ten if she slows the pace.

Being an immigrant with limited knowledge of the English language, she is not left with many options in terms of rising above her socioeconomic class but she cannot afford to slow down to take English lessons. Like many immigrants the mother gets caught in a catch 22 and over time loses sight of the goal of providing a better future for her and her family after all, she could have stayed in China to do this job. Both poems emphasize the struggles that someone goes through while both being and feeling like an outsider which only illustrates how important it is to bring conflicting viewpoints into equilibrium.

Tsui’s poem illustrates the narrator grappling with her own persona as well as the persona her family would like her to portray. In contrast the struggle in Mar’s poem is about the inner workings of the intricate interactions between society and the immigrant population in America. These issues are deeply philosophical as there are many cultural dimensions rooted within them. These two distinguished poets have gone to great lengths to not only alert us to mounting issues in our society but they give us a map to navigate these turbulent waters as well.

The struggles presented in the poems are not merely that of being an outsider because they have a fervent underlying clash of cultures that exists within them. Take Tsui’s poem for example, she asserts that you should allow your individuality to shine through but at the same time be respectful of the differing societal views. The first evidence of this notion is established early on in her poem where the reader discovers the narrator’s individuality flourishing in the form of fashion because the reader is specifically informed that the narrator is dressed differently from the rest of the female attendees of the family function.

The narrator could have easily chosen to cause a raucous or simply refuse to attend the family function because her partner was not welcome at the event. Instead of pursuing either of these two scenarios she attends and “[sucks] on shrimp and squab” (Tsui 613) minding her own business while daydreaming of acceptance. This decision is very significant because the narrator demonstrates that she is still able to be respectful of the traditions of her family and culture while still allowing her individuality to thrive as much as possible given the circumstances.

Through all of this she is still very conscious of not only her perceived image but her family’s image as well. In contrast Mar’s poem proclaims that you should not go against tradition in the slightest bit, but instead encourages people to follow tradition with one key factor to keep in mind; do not overwork yourself until you lose sight of why you are working so hard in the first place. Chinese society places great value in a strong work ethic but the mother keeps working without questioning authority, also something Chinese society teaches, which can be viewed as either a positive or negative Chinese trait to have.

The mother ends up being overworked with a seemingly low prospect of climbing to a higher socioeconomic class without even realizing the disparity in the working conditions compared to the typical working conditions of native born Americans. Mar points out that many immigrants get taken advantage of because they are unfamiliar with what is proper and what is downright unscrupulous in hopes of Chinese immigrants realizing that virtues that are prized in Chinese culture may become a point of exploitation in cultures with dissimilar values.

Not only have these renowned poets given us instruments to aid us as we traverse challenging obstacles in multicultural lives, but they have done it in such manner that a reader of the poem can’t help but marvel at how they have used certain literary tools to reiterate their point without creating a feeling of alienation. Throughout both poems, both poets have given us subtle clues that are not immediately apparent but after careful reflection provide the reader with a revelation about the society that we live in.

Tsui’s use of repetition is meant to have the reader believe that the family function is fairly casual despite initial evidence to the contrary. Very early on the speaker in the poem uses an oxymoron stating that “it was not a very formal affair but all the women over twelve wore long gowns and a corsage, except for me. ” (Tsui 612) Clearly the event itself was a formal affair; otherwise the women over twelve would not have been in long gowns with a corsage. They could have simply been in a casual dress or pants for that matter. It was not a very formal affair” is repeated several times during the course of the poem in an attempt to create a feeling of casualness. This casualness is a key concept that is further developed by the lack of punctuation in the entirety of the poem. Making the poem have a casual atmosphere is yet another way to show respect while still inserting individuality because she is able to soothe a stressful topic. For traditional Chinese families having a gay child is a very serious matter.

In general Chinese society value sons more than daughters because the sons will continue the family name and it is assumed that sons will care for the parents in their old age. Since multiple cultures are working against Tsui it is only natural that she would endeavor to frame the issue in a softened manner. She points this out as not only a remedy for coming out but also as a guide to manage any tense situation in which there is are significant disadvantages. Mar utilizes a literary device known as enjambment to aid in emphasizing the irony in her poem.

By having her thoughts flow in a continuous manner the reader does not have an opportunity to immediately pick up on the irony since there is no break between her thoughts. This writing style allows suspense of the poet’s point to build up, creating an epiphany upon reflection of the poem at the end. This style of writing allows the author to blend thoughts together that individually would not be very substantial but when combined, form a very profound and thought provoking literary work.

Had Mar chosen to use an alternate style of writing she would have likely had to delve much deeper in her selection of words in order to convey her point with such an impact. Most rational people regardless of their cultural background would choose to portray their mother in a positive light. The narrator of Mar’s poem describes her mother as having hair as “coarse and wiry, [and] black as burnt scrub. ” (Mar 532) No one would intentionally depict their mother in such a horrible fashion unless there was something amiss however; the little details like this are not immediately processed with the enjambment.

Further analysis reveals additional evidence to suggest something is irrational. All the Chinese dialects are tonal languages like most Asian languages. Due to the pronouncing of certain tones in many Chinese dialects, many Westerners have viewed some of the dialects as being harsh and abrasive when in fact from the perspective of a native speaker, the dialogue is nothing more than a normal conversation. Mar specifically choses to have the narrator, a native speaker, describe Toisan Wah, a Chinese dialect, as being harsh.

Obviously this suggests that there is some dissatisfaction of the current situation just as the fact that the mother has immigrated to America for twenty four years, but the speaker in the poem specifically points out that English is the mother’s second language suggests additional discontent. After twenty four years it shouldn’t be necessary to explicitly communicate this detail despite being a fact. On the surface of these two poems a reader can get wealth of information to guide through balancing multiple diverging identities but it is perhaps after careful analysis that you can appreciate the true implications of the poems.

Both Tsui and Mar are activists but being that they come from a Chinese cultural background, though slightly differing views, they know how to express their opinions without being overbearing. Chinese culture is a high-context society meaning that there is a lot of emphasis put on the meanings of not what is said but rather what is implied whether it is in the form of writing style or nonverbal cues during physical interactions. A considerable wealth of knowledge can be lost without delving deeper to read in between the lines of our intricately elaborate network of intertwined cultures.

With globalization and acculturation happening at an increasingly unwavering rate, these two poets have prompted us to take heed not to lose sight of our culture, the very essence of our identities, in a robust but diplomatic approach to gain acceptance. Works Cited Mar, Laureen. “My Mother; Who Came from China, Where She Never Saw Snow. ” Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto and William E. Cain. A Little Literature. New York: Longman, 2007. 532-533. Poem. Tsui, Kitty. “A Chinese Banquet. ” Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto and William E. Cain. A Little Literature. New York: Longman, 2007. 612-614. Poem.

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Definition of Lyric Poetry

Definition of Lyric Poetry Lyric Poetry consists of a poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now commonly referred to as the words to a song. Lyric poetry does not tell a story which portrays characters and actions. The lyric poet addresses the reader directly, portraying his or her own feeling, state of mind, and perceptions. “Italian Sonnet” by James DeFord, written in 1997: Turn back the heart you’ve turned away Give back your kissing breath

Leave not my love as you have left The broken hearts of yesterday But wait, be still, don’t lose this way Affection now, for what you guess May be something more, could be less Accept my love, live for today. Written by William Shakespeare: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed, And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed. Poem by Emily Dickinson named “I Felt a Funeral in my Brain. ” It describes a person who is going insane, or thinks they are: I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, And Mourners to and fro Kept treading – treading – till it seemed That Sense was breaking through – And when they all were seated, A Service, like a Drum -Kept beating – beating – till I thought My Mind was going numb – And then I heard them lift a Box And creak across my Soul With those same Boots of Lead, again, Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens was a Bell, And Being, but an Ear, And I, and Silence, some strange Race Wrecked, solitary, here – And then a Plank in Reason, broke, And I dropped down, and down – And hit a World, at every plunge, And Finished knowing – then – Nonsense Poetry Nonsense poetry is a form of poetry that many people are familiar with, even if they didn’t know they were reading nonsense poetry. The many limericks (both family friendly, and otherwise) that people have read and heard over the years are a form of nonsense poetry.

The works of Edward Lear are some of the finest examples of the form. So are the many classic nursery rhymes that we read to our children. Sometimes the language doesn’t make obvious sense and other times the stories being told seem impossible or illogical. Either case can be a technique for writing nonsense poetry. Many of the works of Lewis Carroll are classics of the form. Ronald Dahl is another writer who has entertained us with his strange tales. Words such as silly, strange, bizarre, illogical, whimsical, and fantastic are often used to describe nonsense poems.

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Mpare and Contrast the Way in Which Heaney

Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney and Stealing Peas by Gillian Clarke both approach passion and disappointment in life by describing childhood experience. They explore love and regret through the description of childhood and nature; Blackberry Picking through the explicit meaning of picking blackberries but them decomposing, and Stealing Peas through the explicit meaning of children stealing peas from pea rows in a field in the day, but later on with a girl asking a boy a question and her being given a disappointing and seemingly unexpected answer.

Both Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney and Stealing Peas by Gillian Clarke are similar in subject; they both are poems about sad or unfortunate childhood events that have perhaps lingered in both of the poets’ memories. “Blackberry Picking” uses nature as a basis for the narrative. Heaney writes about his childhood experiences; picking berries in “late august”. Heaney and Clarke both create strong feelings in their poems. In “Blackberry Picking”, Heaney conveys a sense of lust and greed for the berries: “We hoarded the fresh berries”, but that afterwards the berries fermented and grew sour: “The fruit fermented”.

Alternatively, Heaney could also be describing the excitement and joy people feel at the beginning of relationships and how it can deteriorate into something that is bitter and rotten. Heaney does this by describing how a fungus grows upon the berries that they had picked, making the “sweet flesh” of the berries turn sour. Similarly, in “Stealing Peas”, Gillian Clarke also uses nature as a basis for the narrative when she writes about two teenage lovers crawling in pea rows, stealing the peas and eating them.

They crawl in the pea rows, slid the peas down their tongues. The girl asks, “Who d’you like best? and he replies with “You’re prettier. She’s funnier. ” She writes, “I wish I hadn’t asked” indicating she regrets having asked. The implicit meaning of “Stealing Peas” is that a boy and a girl go to a field and have sex in the pea rows: “We crawled”, “slit the skins”, “with bitten nails”, “chutes of our tongues”-these each help to heighten the air of sexual tension in the second stanza, with the crawling as a way of remaining undetected; showing that what they are doing is perhaps forbidden and could get them in trouble, and this observation is reaffirmed by the mentioning of “stolen green light”.

The use of the word “stolen” symbolises the loss of virginity or innocence, whilst the “green” showing the go ahead. The poet also describes how a “parky” shouted at a “child we could not see” which could either simply be another child in the field, or a child growing inside the girl- she has become pregnant, or lost her innocence. Heaney and Clarke both create strong feelings in their poems.

In “Blackberry Picking”, Heaney conveys a sense of lust and greed for the berries using images of the children hurriedly filling cans with the berries, and by using words such as “ripen”, “flesh”, and “sticky”. These words have very sensual connotations and give the reader the impression that the poet was experiencing feelings of lust and greed at the time, and that the acts are forbidden. Heaney is also personifying the berries by referring to the “flesh” of the berries; perhaps showing that he felt feelings towards them that you would feel towards a person.

Heaney and Clarkes’ poems are, to an extent, different in their form and layout. And though they both appear different, the poems are both similar in that they both focus more on the positive experiences, rather than the negative. “Blackberry Picking” is structured into two distinct stanzas with a sharp contrast between them. Heaney writes of the picking of the berries in the first stanza, introduces sexual themes, uses aural devices, and utilises similes and metaphors to create strong imagery.

In the second stanza, he then moves on to talk about the how the berries are ruined- a “rat-grey” fungus, “glutting” on their “cache”. There is a notable difference between the two stanzas of “Blackberry Picking”. The first stanza is very long, describing the joy of the children as they go out collecting berries, but the second stanza, where Heaney talks about the fungus, is considerably shorter- it seems that Heaney is recalling the good part of the memory fondly, whilst quickly brushing over the bad.

Unlike “Blackberry Picking”, Clarke has structured “Stealing Peas” into four stanzas. In the first stanza, Clarke sets the scene for the poem by describing the tide “far out”, the “warm evening” voices and the park “clipped privet”. In the second stanza the poet describes a boy, mentioning that he wore a “blue” shirt with an “Aertex” logo, and more sexual language is introduced: “filthy with syrups”, “grime of the town park”, “tendrils of my hair”. Filthy and grime suggesting the sensual, dirty, and perhaps forbidden acts that they are doing.

There also is a notable difference between the four different stanzas of “Stealing Peas” in terms of length. The first stanza is very short, showing that Clarke is choosing not to remember her surroundings at the time so strongly, while the second stanza is much longer, indicating that the time spent with this boy, crawling in the pea rows together, meant more to her than any other part of the day, and that she herself has selected this part of the memory to stand out more vividly than any other.

The third stanza is noticeably shorter, with her asking him “Who d’you like best? ” The use of sound is important in both poems, and both poets use it to great effect. Techniques such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhyme- the words “purple clot” and “hard as a knot”, “smelt of rot” and “knew they would not” in “Blackberry Picking”, are all strategically used to evoke images and create sounds by Heaney and Clarke.

In “Blackberry Picking”, the use the letter p in “pricks, our palms” is short and sharp to emphasise the sharpness of the pricks from the blackberry thorns, b in “bleached our boots” and “berries in the byre” is very bubbly and bouncy, reflecting the children’s emotions as they set out on a journey of exploration, whilst the use of f in “filled we found fur” is also soft sounding- creeping in, similar to how the Heaney talks about how the “rat-grey fungus” seeps in and ruins the blackberries.

Clarke also uses aural devices; alliteration with the use of the letter s in “slit the skins”, helping the reader to visualise the sounds created when the children, crawling through the rows, and stealing the pea pods, slit the skins open. The “s”, when said aloud, is a soft sound, but in the context of the stanza, creates a more sinister, hissing sound, as though the skins are being hastily ripped open in lust. Again, the use of the letter s in “slid the peas” helps the reader visualize– almost hear, the youths sliding the peas down the “chutes” of their tongues.

Lastly, the use of onomatopoeia in “a lawn-mower murmured”, creates a very sexual feeling- perhaps from the boy, towards the girl. In conclusion, it can be seen that the two poems are alike in many ways such as they both recount childhood experiences that the poets regretted. What I found interesting was how Heaney and Clarke wrote the poems, spending more time describing the good experiences, rather than the unfortunate– in a way suggesting that the poets have selectively recorded these events in their minds.

Free Essays


“Uphill” by Christina Rossetti is about the journey of life, or death, to heaven. The poem is an exchange of a series of brief and succinct questions and answers between two speakers: an inquiring traveler who asks many questions about the journey of life or death in which she is heading to (heaven), and an ex-traveler or guide who has taken that path before answering with a assured, and perfectly calm tone. In the poem, the poet uses difference devices such as quatrain, common meter , and perhaps it is written in strict iambic meter with lines vary in length and in the number of feet.

The poet uses imagery, and symbolism (allegory)to express emotion and picture a traveler who has to take the road “uphill”, and who hopes to find an inn at the end of her travel. The poem sends a message that though find life hard but there are always comfort, help, and generosity along the way. This poem illustrates two ways in which line length is varied in a strict meter. The first variation is seen in the first line, which has nine syllables. This is still a five foot line because feet are constructed by iterative parenthesis insertion from right to left, the leftmost foot is the last constructed and can fall short.

The second variation involves the number of feet in each line. As can be seen in “uphill” all odd-numbered lines are pentameters, whereas the even-numbered lines vary in length between three and five feet, there are 5 trimeter lines, 1 tetrameter and 3 pentameters. This difference in length reflects the fact that the poem has the forms of a dialogue where each odd-numbered (pentameter) line represents a question asked by one speaker, and the odd-numbered lines are answers given by her guide.

The difference in length of line reflects the different styles of the two participants in the dialogue. In addition, the poem can be considered it is in common meter which is a close kin to the ballad stanza, with the stanza following a characteristic ballad pattern of 4+3+4+3 stressed syllables to the line. The first stanza of the poem is an example of common meter, four line rimed a b a b and tending to fall into 8, 6, 8, and 6 syllables.

At the beginning of the poem, the speaker asks, “Does the road wind uphill all the way? (Line 1), the road is representing for the journey of life, and “wind uphill” stands for difficulties, or struggles through life. The inquiring traveler seems very worried or wondering about how hard the journey will be, and the guide softly affirms her worse hope, is that this journey will absolutely take “ to the very the end” (Ln 2). The second question has the same sort of relation to life ,”Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? /From morn to night, my friend” (Ln 3-4).

Life is a road that takes “the whole long day” to bring us “to the very end. ” The night is death that awaits us at the end of the journey. Just as an uphill journey is long, and lasting from morning to evening, life also is full of difficulties right from birth to death. From these two questions which reveals that the inquiring traveler is asking about aspects of living and the journey of life. In the following stanza is presenting a sort of reassurance answer out of the wisdom of the ex-traveler.

To begin with the speaker asks, “But is there for the night a resting-place? ” (Ln 5) which is answered: “A roof for when the slow dark hours begin” (Ln 6). The night is metaphor for death, the speaker is wondering that when her final come (death) will be there a place for resting. The ex-traveler is reassuring the inquiring traveler that she will have time for rest along the way, which can be metaphorically taken, as it already stated as the path of life. In these lines, the speaker was searching for some sign of relief to come along the way.

Then speaker continue asks, “May not the darkness hide it from my face”(Ln 7) which is then responded, “You cannot miss that inn” (Ln 8) . An “in” symbolizes for a resting place or perhaps heaven. In this case, there seems to be a comfortable “inn” for her and other wayfarers to stay at along their journey. The speaker in each successive stanza, knows that life is hard but finds that there is rest and a final resting place. The third stanza is also a continuation of this reassuring tone.

The speaker asks hopefully if she will meet other “wayfarers” along the way and “Those who have gone before”(Ln 10) was the response given. This just shows that the inquiring traveler will meet people along her lifetime that will show her the right path to take. “Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? /They will not keep you standing at your door” (Ln 11-12), the guide then again reassures her that she would not be left waited, but welcome. Thus, it suggests that though speaker has the choice to listen to the wise along the way, and she does not have to listen to anybody.

Yet again, this is another stanza of reassurance answer from the ex-traveler on the subject of the inquiring traveler ‘s future life. The last stanza holds perhaps the most comforting lines in the whole poem. “Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? ” (Ln 13) asks the inquiring traveler, and “Of labor you shall find the sum” (Ln 14) is answered by the guide. The speaker seems to worry that she will not find peace after “travel sore and weak”, and the guide has to calm the inquiring traveler nerves by giving her hope of future comfort.

The first two lines offer compensation for labor: the fact that the inquiring traveler can only find as much comfort as much as she puts in labor. In other words, the uphill struggle of life will lead at last to heaven. This is the last stanza out of three that suggest future comfort, “Will there be beds for me and all who seek”/ “Yea, beds for all who come” (Ln 15-16), the beds also represent death and a final resting place. After the journey of the inquiring traveler is over, she is “travel-sore and weak”, and arrives at this resting place (the bed) which opens to anybody who searches for peace.

Uphill” is an allegorical poem in which is regarded the journey of life as an “uphill” journey. Life is recognized as a painful task (it’s up-hill all the way), yet it is the duty of mankind to undertake the trip in hopes of a peaceful rest in heaven as a reward, a reward for all obstacles that obstruct in life. All the pain and suffering are to be expected, not resisted. One benefits from them in the end. The poem ends with a note of hope that in heaven the weary souls will find comfort just like the travelers at the inn.

Free Essays

From Anxiety to Power: Grammar and Crisis in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

In the article “From Anxiety to Power: Grammar and Crisis in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”, by Roger Gilbert, he talks about Walt Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”. Gilbert feels that this poem is odd for Whitman because he “never speaks directly of death” (339). He says that “Whitman’s tone remains resolutely ebullient” (341), even though death is also present throughout the poem. Whitman’s struggle with death is figured in the poem to be a struggle with writing and to cross out of writing and into speech. He wants to start writing about life and power, not death and absence. Whitman really thought out the title of the poem.

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is a crisis poem because of his need to “overcome the deathliness of writing and to return to the spoken idiom that is Whitman’s truest mode” (342). Gilbert feels that the crossing carries the poet from the “face of death” to “a renewed sense of his own power”. In the poem, Whitman uses a second person pronoun, which is rare to see. The article asks why Whitman uses the phrase “face to face”. Gilbert says the answer is because “objects have become people, people in turn have become objects” (343). This allows them to be mastered by Whitman, but also the passengers let him know that he isn’t impervious to death.

When Whitman says the word you in his poem, he in the end talks about “the future commuters” (344). As you read more into the poem, you see that the poet is “metamorphosed from a me” to a scheme that no longer goes with the object-world. Towards the end of the poem, Whitman becomes more passive, which is very uncharacteristic of him. When he says “The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away”, he hints that he is disappearing from the scene. Also after Whitman talks about the sunset and falling back to sea, you can see how prominent death is in the poem. In my opinion, Gilbert does a good job of interpreting Whitman’s poem.

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Judith Beveridge Speech

Judith Beveridge is a poet of great detail. Her poems are written with strong use of language. Strong imagery of her observations and contrasts of her views help create her poems meaning and effect on the reader. Beveridge’s texts are valuable to the understanding of human and nature’s precious life, and her appreciation for life in all. Through her two poems ‘the domesticity of Giraffes’ and ‘the streets of Chippendale’ these both communicate her ideas and values the strongest.

One of Beveridge’s strongest values is of life, in ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ this is displayed from the first sentence of the second stanza. ‘I think of her graceful on her plain’ Beveridge puts herself into the poem, her thoughts of the giraffe in her natural state, gracefully running in the wild. The entire second stanza is crammed with imagery; each line creates a new picture in the mind of the giraffe being free. A strong metaphor end the stanza ‘She could be a big slim bird before flight’ this metaphor symbolising that could be the giraffe’s freedom.

This is Beveridge’s only positive stanza throughout this poem this is very effective to display her thoughts on what the giraffes life should look be like. Continuing into the poem, violence and pain in the giraffe is described strongly using several similes. ‘ Her tongue like a black leather strap’,’ bruised apple eyed’ words of strong violence and pain as though the giraffe appears beaten up and battered, this use of violent imagery is disturbing and makes you think deeper about how the giraffes natural appearance seems to have disappeared.

Beveridge observes the giraffe licking the wire for salt and gazing around her pen, her gaze has the loneliness of smoke’. Beveridge describes the giraffes unnatural habits, she becomes a part of the poem again by ‘ offering the giraffe the salt of her hand’ ‘ the giraffe in sensual agony’, this point of desperation for the giraffe is extremely unnatural and saddening to see her have to go to such measures to have what she needs. In ‘the streets of Chippendale’ life is at its lowest.

For a suburb that seems so upper class and pleasant for the names of the streets Ivy, vine, rose and myrtle are so beautiful, all of these names are very misleading. Life in Chippendale is rough, alcoholic and sad. Beveridge uses juxtaposition to contrast the names of the streets with what they sound to be. ‘Abercrombie sounds like the eccentric unmarried third cousin’ ‘but Abercrombie’s different’. Beveridge personifies the street as though it is a grumbling, alcoholic, causing trouble and disturbance.

There is so much violence, as though men are fighting in their drunken confident state to up their lacking self esteem. ‘Sad daughter of the ruined slipper’ violence sexual abuse nothing of what is accepted in society. The community of Chippendale has no value anymore, no society morals exist. Life is not valued or precious, there seem to be no happy memories to ever come from this place ‘ streets go to wall like families’ ‘ ivy vine rose and myrtle not one of your descendants mourns your loss’ the people of Chippendale don’t want to remember this place at all.

Though above the grime and run down nature, ‘Thomas and Edward have climbed to new heights, incomes and renovations, things are slightly looking up in one small part of town. The streets of Chippendale are very male dominated. Beveridge particularly portrays this with certain lines, images in our minds from the words beer mates drunks and work boot bruises come together to create the image of a man after work, in his late night alcoholic state. This poem shows a strong inequality between men and women. The tale of Abercrombie Street is dark and sad.

The street is personified as a pub crawler. ‘Hits the bottle with a dozen pubs, grumbles like a drunken parent, these similes reflect Beveridge’s views on how the street behaves. Beer mates come together her with a feel for violence ‘someone smashes the street lights’’ sad daughter of the ruined slipper’ Beveridge has created the image of Chippendale to be one big self destructed mess. The feeling of male dominancy and female inequality is overwhelmed throughout the poem and is valuable to show how society can really be this way.

The same dominancy is seen in ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ in desperation the female giraffe needs salt. But in no natural way can she get enough. The male bull indolently lets down his penis drenching the pavement. Beveridge uses emotive language to describe how the female giraffe in desperation goes for whets her needs. ‘She thrusts her tongue under his rich stream to get moisture for her thoundath chew. The word thrusts create the image of the female giraffe lowering herself to his waste to get what she needs.

Throughout every one of Judith Beveridge poems, her structure and language forms that she uses are what make her poems phenomenal. By use of strong imagery, similes, juxtaposition and personification our minds can picture what she has written about clearly. The pain of the giraffe in its enclosure would not seem as harsh and unwanted if it was not for the violent images that are created in our minds and the several similes to compare how the image seems in real life.

She languorously swings her tongue’ like a black leather strap ‘bruised apple eyed’’ legs stark as telegraph poles’ Beveridge seems effortless in creating this giraffes appearance. Juxtaposition is repetitively used throughout Beveridge’s poems this is useful to create and enhance different images in our minds. Chippendale’s streets are personified and their names are explained as what they sound to be, ivy vine rose and myrtle, Hugo and Louis, Abercrombie they could have been the homes of kindly aunts, respected gentlemen strolling past, but they’re nothing but beer mates of Abercrombie.

In this poem juxtaposition and enjambment are Beveridge’s two strongest language forms these help create a certain image of the town, and help the poem to flow right through and connect nicely. Each of Beveridge’s poems is valuable. Each explores human’s exploitation to nature and morals of society. The issue of life and its value, men and women’s inequality are actively discussed through both poems ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ and ‘the streets of Chippendale’ both poems are valuable to create one persons view that not many other people observe so deeply.

Free Essays


Many people see London in different perspectives, both positive and negative in both poetry and prose. William Wordsworth and William Blake are two poets which expressed their views and opinions in many contrasting ways about London through poems and prose. The two poets discovered London and valued it in assorted ways. William Wordsworth was a tourist who went through London to get to France.

He saw London’s view from the top of Westminster Bridge; this is why he named the poem ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’. Whereas William Blake experienced and saw London’s ‘secrets’ through the streets of London, and his poem was called ‘London’. Wordsworth observes nature and the beauty lying over London; however Blake observes all the negatives occurring in London deep inside. Blake might of thought negatively about London because at that time London was in the industrial revolution.

The words he uses in his poem such as, ‘In every cry of every Man, In every infants cry of fear’ shows us the woe and sorrow people become because of helplessness while living in London, In contrast to this Wordsworth visualised London early in the morning over the top of Westminster Bridge, only seeing the beauty London’s wearing over itself, the words he uses to describe the things he saw is ‘ The beauty of the morning: silent, bare, ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie’. The most interesting example of personification used in Wordsworth’s poem is ‘Dear God!

The very houses seem asleep: And all that mighty heart lying still’. Wordsworth described London by using metaphors and personification, comparing it to a human. The word ‘heart’ proves that the poet imagines that London is the main part of the country. A heart is the most important part of a human body which has all the veins coming in and going out from it. Wordsworth compares this with London by displaying the fact that London is the capital city of England and it has other countries attached to. Wordsworth also uses the word ‘asleep’ to compare London with a human.

While Wordsworth was studying the beauty of London early in the morning, while everyone and everything was still and quiet, he used the word ‘asleep’ to describe the view of London, to show us that London was sleeping at that very moment of time. On the other hand, the poet Blake also used examples of personification and metaphors in his poem about London in the opposite way. This can be seen in the quotation ‘Runs in blood down palace walls’ shows me that the negatives occurring in London has brain washed Blake’s min.

A palace is somewhere rich and precious but maybe because in those times Blake wrote this poem, there was the industrial revolution where lots of people lost their lives, had Blake tried to signify that blood had covered all the glamour of London. One technique that id particularly effective here is that Blake uses very powerful metaphors to describe the violence and how antagonistic London is to become as you live your life throughout the UN- positives.

Also Wordsworth repeats the word beautiful in his poem over and over again to show the reader that he is not knowing he is using the same word over and over again. Both the poets use metaphors to describe the things they see and compares with a human. William Wordsworth and William Blake have some common themes between their poems. The poem ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’ and the poem ‘London’ are both about London and both the poems where written in the same period of time whereas they both experience completely contrasting views.

In Wordsworth’s poem the theme was mostly based on nature and society. He described the positives and all the beauty of London for instance he describes the sun in the line ‘never did sun more beautifully steep’ Wordsworth uses hyperbole and exaggerates his views. He explains that he has never seen a sun in the morning this beautiful. The quote ‘ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples’ show that Wordsworth described man-made objects as well as nature for example ‘valley, rock or hill’. Also in Blake’s poem ‘London’; there are man-made parts of the city used as well, but in the negative way.

We can see this in the line ‘palace walls’. Description of buildings is also evident in Wordsworth’s poem in the line ‘the very houses seem asleep’. The reader is able to understand that both poets use man-made parts for example buildings from different perspectives, both negative and positive. Blake describes h corruption of the city and how blood is running down palace walls whereas Wordsworth compared the houses as humans sleeping. In Blake’s poem he talks about the darkness of London and the suffering people are in. the quote ‘but most thro’midnight streets I hear.

How the youthful harlots curse’, shows the reader the dark streets barking for help all the negatives and helplessness people are in and the suffering going on. Another quote, ‘marks of weakness marks of woe’ proves us the sorrow and how weak and depressed people have become. Wordsworth talks about the quietness and houses sleeping and the beauty of the nature, however Blake talks about the darkness, sorrow, suffering and the curruption of the society. Both the poets William Wordsworth and William Blake have contrasting ways of introducing structure.

The two poems are structured differently. ‘Upon Westminister Bridge’ is wriitten in the form of a sonnet; which has 14 lines in one stanza. This emphasises the fact that Wordsworth has written a poem which is the love of London this shows romantism. This shows how Wordsworth imagines of London as a ‘whole’ and togetherness. Another way in which Wordsworth introduces structure in an unfamilliar way is the fact that he compares London as the heart of the body; as London is the capital city of England.

Also this can be seen as traditional and however has an irregular rhyme scheme, for example when it says, ‘wear and bare’ and also each line begings with a capital letter. However on the other hand, the poem ‘London’ from William Blake has been introduced in a completley different way. The poem London has 4 stanzas which emphasises the fact that it is breaking down. It has a strict rhyme scheme for example, ‘man and ban/ fear and hear’. William Blake expresses the feeling that London is trapped and restricted as to why this is the reason why the stanzaz look like prison walls, bars or even like a cage.