Thursday, October 27, 2005

Coming to This by Mark Strand

P. 382

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have the welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.


This poem by Mark Strand is confusing at first, but it also clears up after reading it a couple of times. The literal meaning of this poem in the first stanza is that the speaker talks about how he/she prefers the heavy industry versus the good life. It is shown that the speaker has disgarded the good life because he/she says that they have "welcomed grief." This line kind of brings a sad tone throughout the poem and a sense of pity amongst the atmosphere. In all, the poem seems to have a sad tone and kind of depressing as well because it just seems as if the speaker is so down throughout the poem. Even in the ending of the poem, the speaker says "no place to go, no reason to remain," it kind of seems as if there is no meaning in life left for the speaker and that there is no reason to keep living. The second stanza, when it talks about the meal and how even though the dinner is ready, they cannot eat, it kind of shows that even if they do have these nice things such as meat and wine, they cannot eat them. It seems as if this meat and wine are delicacies and they are to be keep as is. They are kind of like treasures to the speaker and they also symbolize what they want, but cannot have. The title, "coming to this," shows that the speaker is dreading to see what his/her life has come to. He or she is not satisfied with the life that they are now living, therefore saying that there is "no reason to remain."

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