Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Illiterate

The Illiterate
by William Meredith

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.

His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
that keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

I'm hoping to recite this poem on Tuesday, so I don't want to say too much to spoil the originality of my presentation :) ... but I loved this poem; I just had to make it one of my journal entries. First of all, I found it quite ironic that the title of the poem was "The Illiterate", yet it obviously requires someone who is litterate to understand the poem. Also, I didn't realize this until I read the poem a few times, but the entire poem isn't about someone who is illiterate. The illiteracy part of the poem is simply a mean or similie through which the poet uses to explain some sort of inexplicable feeling or situation. I know that Sarah isn't really all that fond of poems that rhyme, but I really liked the syntax, rhythm and flow of this poem. I didn't feel that there was a widespread use of different vocabulary from line to line. For the most part, the poet used the same words, to bring the reader back to what he was talking about. I think that this is a very good tactic because then it keeps the reader close to the illustration and doesn't allow their mind to wander too far off track. Great poem :)

2 Comments:

Blogger MValentine said...

I like how Brianne saw both of the meanings of the poem because ther is the literal meaning and the more metaphorical meaning. I think that the simpleness of this poem is what gets the message acroos. It is direct and to the point without hiding the true meaning in a mess of words and images. I think that the poem captures that sense of helplessness and shame that we have all felt and all can relate to in some way.

3:20 AM  
Blogger Michael Overton said...

I liked the poem as well and the title was very interesting as well. You can see that whoever wrote the poem is not illiterate and also, whoever reads it isnt eiter. The way the author chose to describe the feeling of iliteracy using an extended similie was great. I liked how ist like recieving a letter you cant read and not being able to ask the man who wrote it what it means. Great poem.

3:00 PM  

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