Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Hearts

The Hearts
by Robert Pinsky

The legendary muscle that wants and grieves,
The organ of attachment, the pump of thrills
And troubles, clinging in stubborn colonies

Like pulpy shore-life battened on a jetty.
Slashed by the little deaths of sleep and pleasure,
They swell in the nurturing spasms of the waves,

Sucking to cling; and even in death itself-
Baked, frozen - they shrink to grip the granite hearder.
"Rid yourself of attachments and aversions" -

But in her father's orchard, already, he says
He'd like to be her bird, and she says : Sweet, yes,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing,

Showing that she knows already - as Art Pepper,
That first time he takes heroin, already knows
That he will go to prison, and that he'll suffer

And knows he needs to have it, or die; and the one
Who makes the General lose the world for love
Let him say, Would I have never seen her, but Oh!

Says Enobarbus, Then you would have missed
A wonderful piece of work, which left unseen
Would bring less glory to your travels. Among

The creatures in the rok-torn surf, a wave
Of agitation, a gasp. A scholar quips,
Shakespeare was almost certainly homosexual,

Bisexual, or heterosexual, the sonnets
Provide no evidence on the matter. He writes
Romeo an extravagant speech on tears,

In the Italian manner, his teardrops cover
His chamber window, says the boy, he calls them crystals,
Innanely, and sings them to Juliet with his heart:

The almost certainly invented heart
Which Buddha denounces, in its endless changes
Forever jumping and moving, like an ape.

Over the poor beast's head the crystal fountain
Crashes illusions, the cold salt spume of pain
And meaningless distinction, as Buddha says,

But here in the crystal shower mouths are open
To sing, it is Lee Andrews and The Hearts
In 1957, singing I sit in my room

Looking out at the rain. My teardrops are
Like crystals, they cover my windowpane, the turns
Of these illusions we make become their glory:

To Buddha every distinct thing is illusion
And becoming is destruction, but still we sing
In the shower. I do. In the beginning God drenched

The Emptiness with images: the potter
Crosslegged at his wheel in Benares market
Making mud cups, another cup each second

Tapering up between his fingers, one more
To sell the tea-seller at a penny a dozen,
And tea a penny a cup. The customers smash

The empties, and waves of traffic grind the shards
To mud for new cups, in turn; and I keep one here
Next to me: holding it a while from out of the cloud

Of dust that rises from the shattered pieces,
The risen dust alive with fire, then settled
And soaked and whirling again on the wheel that turns

And looks on the world as on another cloud,
On eerything the heart can grasp and throw away
As a passing cloud, with even Enlightenment

Itself another image, another cloud
To break and churn a salt foam over the heart
Like an anemone that sucks at clouds and makes

Itself with clouds and sings in clouds and covers
Its windowpane with clouds that blur and melt,
Until one clings and holds - as once in a Temple

In a time before the Temple was destroyed
A young priest saw the seraphim of the Lord:
Each had six wings, with two they covered their faces,

With two they covered their legs and feet, with two
They darted and hovered like dragonflies or perched
Like griffins in the shadows near the ceiling -

These are the visions, too barbarous for heaven
And too preposterous for belief on earth,
God sends to taunt his prophet with the truth

No one can see, that leads to who knows where.
A seraph took a live coal from the altar
And seared the prophet's lips, so he spoke.

As the record ends, a coda in retard:
The Hearts in a shifting velvety ah, and ah
Prolonged again, and again as Lee Andrews

Reaches ah high for I have to gain Faith, Hope
And Charity, God only knows the girl
Who will love me - Oh! If we only could

Start over again! Then The Hearts chant the chords
Again a final time, ah and the record turns
Through all the music, on into silence again.


First, and foremost, sorry for taking up as much space as I did with this post. I was looking through the book and the first stanza of this poem just grabbed me. I think it is simple yet absolutely beautiful how that stanza portrays the heart, not as something pretty, but as something in a sense that is natural, a muscle, yet the source of our highest highs and lowest lows. While a drug manipulates these circumstances, the poem seems to make the heart into merely a part of our human composition that causes us to feel these things, and not something greater and more metaphorical. Then the poem opens up. The poem alternates being pretty with mentions of a love affair, and how one should like to have another as their lovebird, to the dark image of his love being like a jazz musician whose career and life had imploded as a result of his heroin addiction, comparing the love to that man's love of heroin. In a sense, this is reconfirming the assertion that love can be the highest of highs and at the same time can be the lowest of lows. It seems like the speaker is simply freely-associating the various stories he has heard throughout his lifetime which stick out most boldly in his mind regarding love, and it's greatness alongside it's darkness. The poem archforms with its drawing out in different directions but repeatedly mentioning Lee Andrews, only to end with song lyrics from "Lee Andrews and The Heart" appropriately named, and then, only then, do we see a vivid, clear picture of what exactly is causing the speaker to have this emotional, total tirade over the highs and lows, the joy and pain, of the heart.

Prodigy

Prodigy
by Charles Simic

I grew up bent over
a chessboard.

I loved the word endgame.

All my cousins looked worried.

It was a small house
near a Roman graveyard.
Planes and tanks
shook its windowpanes.

A retired professor of astronomy
taught me how to play.

That must have been in 1944.

In the set we were using,
the paint had almost chipped off
the black pieces.

The white King was missing
and had to be substituted for.

I'm told but do not believe
that that summer I witnessed
men hung from telephone poles.

I remember my mother
blindfolding me a lot.
She had a way to tucking my head
suddenly under her overcoat.

In chess, too, the professor told me,
the masters play blindfolded,
the graet ones on several boards
at the same time.

This poem beautifully interweaves chess, the game that symbolizes war between opposing royalties, and the actual occurances of World War II. The way it sort of bounces back and forth in an almost dreamlike manner from his game of chess to the reality that is his mother hiding his face so he should not bear witness to murder at such a young age allows us to contrast the game with the reality. We are clearly taken into the scene of the war, with the speaker's references to planes and takns shaking the windowpanes. He even bothers to put us in a specific year, thus, asking us to call upon our historical knowledge of what was going on in the world at this time, and contrast it with the white King being missing, and a substitute being called upon. The duality of this poem is what makes it so interesting, and I also think the word "endgame" standing out of the rest of the poem deserves proper attention. While, the immediate connontation derived when we think that all that the reference is to is a chess game, is, of course, check mate. However, this is also a reference to the defeat of a people, and the end of a war. Very interesting poem that really portrays the war through a likely yet unlikely medium.

That Will to Divest

That Will to Divest
by Kay Ryan

Action creates
a taste
for itself.
Meaning: once
you've swept
the shelves
of spoons
and plates
you kept
for guests,
it gets harder
not to also
simplify the larder,
not to dismiss
rooms, not to divest yourself
of all the chairs
but one, not
to test what
singleness can bear,
once you've begun.

I really like how this poem's lines are broken up. I don't know what the word "divest" means, but I can guess from this poem that it might mean something like the act of removing all but one thing. The fluidity of this poem is quite apparent, especially if you read it aloud. Other than that one word "divest" I really like how the words are simple as is the message. I feel, however, if Ryan had broken up the lines in a way where the last line is just a single word, presentation of the poem as a whole would have more of a beneficial affect to the overriding message of "that will to divest."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

week 10 post 2

First Breath Last Breath
Antler
When a baby boy is born
and the midwife
holds him up
as he takes
his first breath,
Place him over
the mother's face
so when the baby exhales
his first breath on Earth
the mother breathes it.
And when the mother dies
her middle-aged son
the baby grew up to be,
by her side
his head next to her head,
Follows her breathing with his breath
as it becomes shorter
and as the dying mother
exhales her last breath
her son inhales it.

The thing I like about this poem is that it wraps up around then and point of the poem becomes very clear. I don’t know if it makes sense but this poem seems very circular. I guess like the circle of life, someone is born and then they die, and it just continues like that. Something that is special to the poem is that the line breaks are very choppy. That might be representative of life because it doesn’t always flow smoothly, but I would think that because the poem has to do with breathing the beats would be the same throughout so that it would mimic a steady breathing. Because the line breaks are done so choppy it makes the poem seem more suspenseful because the reader is waiting for something very surprising to happen. I was a little disappointed to realize that the poem ends with a very obvious ending.

week 10 post 1

Sand
Patty Seyburn

It's not mine
but I should have seen it coming —
the gradual pulverizing — you know,
eventually it will all disappear,
as will you.
I did not mean for everything
to get smaller.
I did not mean for the rich, richer
and the poor, poorer,
nor for everything to be fair
though my translators
bandy about "justice" and "righteousness"
with abandon
as though words were meant to correlate to thoughts.
As though ideas matter.
And things matter.
Do dunes compensate?
I did not invent intent.
You did.
And the way indented footprints disappear
on the ocean's arrival?
That was yours, too.
How eloquent

I really like the title of this poem “sand” and the image I get from it. This poem has a lot to do with something that is being lost and minimized and I picture it like sand slowly slipping through my fingers. There is also another example of this at the end where you can picture footprints disappearing as the ocean waves wash it away. I think that this poem is about money and that the speaker of the poem had money, but lost it some way. The first line confuses me because if it was not the speakers then how did she have the power to change it. I also like how the poem finishes. “how eloquent” seems like a very elegant touch to put at the end. It also seems very stuck-up and that the speaker doesn’t really care about what has happened by the end of the poem. I wonder what the importance of sand has to do with this theme of disappearance.

Monday, November 28, 2005

week 9 Post 2

The Return, II

My brother thinks it's best to distract my sister,
not ask her about longing and its dirty tricks,
its flirty tricks, her girls

oh, hiding under the sheet waiting to be found,
digging ditches in the dirt,
blowing out the candles-

He holds her up, his arm over her shoulders
so she won't see the eyelashes they leave there,
for luck, like she taught them,
for making wishes that can't be spoken aloud

but I know he hears them,
as she does,
asking the same thing again-

come with us- come with us-

This poem utilizes the past and present tenses to create an image of memories and the pain that they hold. The introduction to the poem describes how the speakers brother distracts the speakers siste from "longing". this personification of longing comparing it to a person that plays "dirty tricks" is a good example of how the author uses memory as a sort of negative thing. The speakers sister is longing over something, and further reading of the poem reveals that that something is her daughters. The next stanza describes the past about how the sistes daughters used to hide in ditches and play around. the next stanza still speaks of the past, stating how the brother would hide the sisters eyes form her daughters eyelashes which were scattered around the house. This constant refrence to the past and the pain of the memories shows the pain of the speakers sister and her longing to get back her daughters. The last part of the poem, which the speaker hears the daughters say, "come with us" can be seen as many things. The way I enterprit it is that we all must die, and although the speakers sister misses her daughters, I'm sure the daughters miss their mom as well.

Week 9 Post 1

The Return
by: Catherine Barnett

For a long time there were no signs though we looked
wildly for them.
Of course there were lawyers, they came to the house,
lawyers might have been a sign-

And the birds in the park, circling us-

And the DNA, which Aristole
would have called the fourth kind of recognition,
not what we invent (oh the girls come to us in dreams)
or what we remember, on waking, but-

Someone resembling me has come:
No one resembles me but them:
Therefore they have come.

This poem is the firs poem in my book and it is a bit confusing but has many interesting aspects to it. The beginning of the poem talks about something lost as the speaker keeps refering to the fact that there "were no signs". What signs the speaker is refering to are still very ambiguous. The speaker then goes on to describe how there were lawyers, and birds circleing them in the park, and DNA. These are "signs" to the speaker, but still the thing the speaker is talking about is still unknown. The first sign of what the speaker means is shen she states "(ah the girls come to us in dreams). This is what Aristotle calls the fourth sign. Its funny that a philosipher would be talked about in a poem but it seems now that the speaker was talking about girls. And there were signs of them, just not very concrete signs, signs like dreams. The last stanza is in italic font and stands out. It describes this sort of paradox that says that someone resembling the speaker has come, yet no one but "them" resembles the speaker therfore it must be them that is comming. We get form the previos portion that the "them" is the girls in the dreams. Again the true insights into this poem are very vague, but it has a sort of majestic tone and creates a sense of fantasy with the talk of signs and the like.

Te Deum by Charles Reznikoff

Not because of victories
I sing,
having none,
but for the common sunshine,
the breeze,
the largess of the spring.

Not for victory,
but for the day's work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.


This poem is one that I found online by Charles Reznikoff. The title of the poem is interesting because it is in a different language and can be also called an Ambrosian Hymn. The title, "Te Deum," seems to be associated with Catholicism and having to do with the church because as I have researched, it seems to be related to something along the lines of praising God. The whole poem, consisting of two sentences, seems to be discussing the victory and the rejoicing of a days work. The poem clearly says "not for victory, but for the day's work done," which in a sense shows how humble the speaker of the poem really is. The whole poem seems to be talking about an accomplishment that the speaker has made within himself. In the last line, when the speaker says "not for a seat upon the dais but at the common table," could be seen as something related to a religious aspect when one realizes that one is a sinner and is just like the rest of the people amongst the earth, hence the reference to the common table. "The dais" seems to be something that is a raised platform and is used for special occasions, possibly for a wedding where the bride and groom sit and in this case, it is shown as something that is not of everyday use and not for everyone, which also relates to the translation of the religious apsect of the poem. The poem can also be interpreted as just having the appreciation for life in general because when the speaker says "I sing, having none, but for the common sunshine," it seems as if there is just an appreciation to be able to live and be victorious in life in general.

The Cabbage by Ruth Stone

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.


I found this poem online as well and found it to be rather intriguing. The title itself seems to be a different aspect of the entire poem. The whole poem involves itself around this painting which the speaker's daughter painted of a "large frilled cabbage," and the incident of renting a new apartment and living life now can be reflected on the analysis of this painting. The painting of the cabbage is significant throughout the poem because it represents the chaos that is now in the speakers life. the "eager vegetable, opening itself" seems to be also related to the new beginning that the speaker is enduring with this new apartment and life that he/she is about to start. Throughout the poem, the speaker uses "you" as if this poem is talking to someone else, possibly someone that they know and they are just observing as a friend. In the second line of the poem, when the speaker says "y0u have come to this enclosure with physical relief," it seems as if the renting of this apartment has been something that the person has been struggling with for awhile and that this act could be the beginning of something good. The tone of gratification and satisfaction can be found in the last line, when the speaker says "you can live with this," because then it sounds as if there is a sense of peace and composure to the whole situation.

The Room

The Room
by Mark Strand

It is an old story, the way it happens
Sometimes in winter, sometimes not.
The listener falls to sleep,
The doors to the closets of his unhappiness open

And into his room the misfortunes come --
Death by daybreak, death by nightfall,
Their wooden wings bruising the air,
Their shadows the spilled milk the world cries over.

There is a need for surprise endings;
The green field where cows burn like newsprint,
Where the farmer sits and stares,
Where nothing, when it happens, is never terrible enough.

"The doors to the closets of his unhappiness open". This line is by far my favorite in the poem. It is a metaphor that is developed through the poem, but is so interesting because of the additional connotations to the ones which are preconcieved by us as children where there is always a monster hiding in our closet. In addition to that, we can drraw that in order to live his life like a successful human being, the speaker locks all his unhappiness with the world and with his life away in a closet, or merely shuts it out in a hidden place so as not to let it interfere with his day to day life, something I think we all do to a certain degree. Then there is an interesting turn in the poem where it seems the speaker needs to let these unhappinesses out at night because his life is too boring otherwise, in the pastoral farmtown. If taken literal, the speaker now seems to be disturbed, watching his cows burning on the field but having it not be terrible enough. Either that, or he is comparing the cows burning to his terrible dream, the dream inside of him which embodies all his unhappiness, which not even this is on the same level as. Interesting poem.

The Dreadful Has Already Happened

The Dreadful Has Already Happened
by Mark Strand

The relatives are leaning over, staring expectantly.
They moisten their lips with their tongues. I can feel
Them urging me on. I hold the baby in the air.
Heaps of broken bottles glitter in the sun.

A small band is plaing old fashioned marches.
My mother is keeping time by stamping her foot.
My father is kissing a woman who keeps waving
To someone else. There are palm trees.

The hills are spotted with orange flamboyants and tall
Billowy clouds move beyond them. "Go on, Boy,"
I hear somebody say, "Go on."
I keep wondering if it will rain.

The sky darkens. There is thunder.
"Break his legs," says one of my aunts,
"Now give him a kiss." I do what I'm told.
The trees bend in the bleak tropical wind.

The baby did not scream, but I remember that sigh
When I reached inside for his tiny lungs and shook them
Out in the air for the flies. The relatives cheered.
It was about that time I gave up.

Now, when I answer the phone, his lips
Are in the receiver, when I sleep, his hair is gathered
Around a familiar face on the pillow; wherever I search
I find his feet. He is what is left of my life.

I found this poem extremely interesting. It was somewhat hard to decipher, but I took it as a metaphor for a coming of age inside the speaker. I do not think that he is literally tearing a baby's lungs out, but rather growing up in the painful growth to maturity where he is murdering his own innocence and childish side of himself as his older family members are urging him on to merely grow up. I like how the first four stanzas end with a very vivid natural image, taking us away from the scene and into a pacific natural setting. But the image also develops. At first, there is pure sun, then palm trees emerge. I do not know if this comes to the typical reader, but when I see palm trees, I see sunset, and I see wind. Then the speaker brings rain into the scene in the third stanza. In the fourth, he literally brings the wind into the scene. It is as if he is bringing the storm that is the child growing up to this beautiful place of innocence.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Edge by Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.


What caught my attention in this poem was the uses of stanza breaks as cliff hangers (which is probably why the poem is called "edge"). It seems like the second lines of each stanza make more sense when coupled with the first line of the next stanza, although each stanza introduces a completely new image. It is very hard to put each image in this poem together, to create something that makes sense. It begins with what seems to be a beautiful dead woman, who had lived a complete life. It starts to get eclectic later, where it seems as if the woman becomes food for baby worms and flowers as her body decays underground, until there is only bone left. Although this woman was very accomplished in her life, it is OK that she is decayed, because it is all natural.

I Know A Man by Robert Creeley

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,--John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.


I found this poem interesting because it makes no sense unless it is read aloud. It uses line and stanza breaks almost randomly, forcing the reader into pausing while reading the poem. The line breaks do no seem to have any purpose. But the stanza breaks do separate different ideas throughout the poem while the stanza's themselves are each exactly three lines. The way Creeley chose to spell "said" as "sd," and "you're" as "yr" reminds me of internet text messages of an adolescent. The virtually incoherent conversation in this poem also resembles the speech of a teenager. Re-reading the first stanza clarifies the poem, because it explains that the speaker is "always talking." The entire poem seems to reflect this idea since it is very colloquial. Even the speaker's friend in the car gets angry by the last stanza, where the friend criticizes the speaker for talking too much, while he should be focusing on driving.
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
-Edgar Allan Poe

In this poem, Poe uses a rhyme scheme and imagery to create a wonderful poem. In the poem, he not only states a point, but also tries to refute scientists. In the beginning of the poem, it seems that Poe has a dislike for scientists and of their "peering," into poets' hearts. Scientists try to find out answers for everything and as Poe writes, even love. It is not necessary to figure out why a person loves a person, it just is. There are some things in which answers are necessary and helpful, but for others it is nice to simply be stumped.
As Poe writes in his poem, and is my interpretation, if everything had answers, then the world would be a lot less interesting. Cures to diseases, why hurricanes happen, and sollutions to pollution are all interesting topics; when the line crosses into answers that people would rather not know, science turns intrusive. I think the purpose of Poe's poem was to state his dislike of sciences intrusive nature, and he simply wants to be left out of it.

Week 9 Post 1

To Helen
By: Edgar Allen Poe

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in you brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!

Edgar Allen's Poem uses the allusion of the Greek Helen of Troy story to describe the beauty he wants to express. The descriptions he uses to describe Helen's captivity to other men fill the reader with such great imagery. Each description gives a specific of Helen and paints her picture out. In the last few stanzas the speaker describe Helen as a statue, and talks of her enchanment. He compares her to a statue and when I think of statue and Greece, I think of those huge white statues that you see in pictures and muesums. The perfect shape of the body and the perfect complexion. Not one bit of flaw in those figures. But the speaker talks of her stance. How still like she stands and how she shines. This lovely woman, who has hair and a face of what Greeks would. I think that it was clever how he described her face as classic. Classic makes it seem like old. People use the word classic to describe all sorts of antiques, and using classic to describe her face makes it sound like she's an antique. I wonder if he wanted that effect.

week 9 post 2

To the River-
By: Edgar Allen Poe

Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow
Of crystal, wandering water,
Thou art an emblem of the glow
Of beauty–the unhidden heart-
The playful maziness of art
In old Alberto's daughter;

But when within thy wave she looks-
Which glistens then, and trembles-
Why, then, the prettiest of brooks
Her worshipper resembles;
For in his heart, as in thy stream,
Her image deeply lies-
His heart which trembles at the beam
Of her soul-searching eyes.

Poe likes to compare the captivation of females to nature. He is a romantic. The images in this poem are specific enough where the reader can see the picture poe wants them to see but the picture may not necessarily be all the same. The first stanza of the poem describes the beauty of the river. The imagery just makes the river seem so pristine and even innocent. He adds in specifics like "alberto's daughter" though to us doesn't mean anything but he later expands on the meaning. At first when I read this poem I did not know where Alberto's daughter came from but then after reading it over I understood that the second stanza was for the daughter and it described her. The speaker addresses the river, as he creates his flow of words. The "playful maziness of art" , each of the speaker's lines of description give the river better features and more of life. When he goes to describe the feelings toward the girl, the speaker makes himself seem like he is worshipping a god. Intricately placing himself in front of this majestic beauty.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Country Stars

The near sighted child has taken off her glasses
and come downstairs to be kissed goodnight.
She blows on a black windowpane until it's white.
Over the apple trees a great bear passes
but she puts her own construction on the night.

Two cities, a chemical plant, and clotted cars
breathe our distrust of darkness on the air,
clouding the pane between us and the stars.
But have no fear, or only proper fear: the bright watchers are still there.
-William Meradith

This poem's theme seemed to be of pollution and a world that is becoming dangerous. It first starts off with innocence in the child making a window foggy by breathing on it. Since the child turns the windowpane from black to white, I was thinking that this was an idea of good battling evil. The good is the innocence of the child and the bad is the dark and cold of the window and the world outside. The last two lines of the first stanza confused me, because I am not sure what the bear is referring to. The possibility of a bear being in a city like atmosphere is highly unlikely, so perhaps it is a car or a person. The next line reads that, "She puts her own construction on the night, so I think the girl uses her own imagination to create a different image of the bear.
In the second stanza, there is much more refernce to the polution in our world. There are cities, cars, and a chemical plant that all create smog. The imagery that made this a very good poem was, "Clouding the pane between us and the stars." It was interesting to think of the smog creating a blurry window for us to cloud our vision of the stars.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Home is so Sad by Philip Larkin

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.


I found this poem online as well and while reading it, I didn't really understand it at first. The poem seems to be a bit confusing at first because it just simply talks about how the home is so sad, just as the title says. One can't help but wonder if there is supposed to be an underlying meaning to the poem or if it should be open to different interpretations or if there is story behind the poem. When reading the poem first, I felt as if it just simply was talking about how the home is lonely if one does not accompany to it or maintain it. I think that this poem can be translated into the leaving of loved ones in the family, such as going off to college or leaving because of marriage. When the speaker says "shaped to the comfort of the last to go," I think that this can represent the bonding of the home and the people who live in it. This poem treats the home as if it is a living object with feelings and emotions where they are sensitive to what happens to them. There is a sad tone throughout the poem because of the presence of lonliness that it contains due to the leaving of the home. The last three lines of the poem, when it says "you can see how it was, look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase," these descriptions are things only the familly of the home knows about and can relate to, which is why this poem can be significant and meaningful strictly to the home owners only.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


I found this poem online and I found it to be very interesting because of the language that the speaker uses throughout the poem. The entire poem seems to be panting a picture for the reader, possibly even describing a picture that has already been painted. As we have studied these types of poems in class, it seems as if this poem describes a picture that contains scenery as well as people that are in the picture. I enjoy reading this poem because of the descriptive words that the speaker uses. Phrases such as "midnight's all a glimmer," and "lake water lapping," just allows the reader to engage into the poem and the overall picture that it creates. The poem also contains many incidents where the speaker talks about himself, such as "I," and I feel that is a very powerful way to allow the speaker to be connected with the poem itself. The natural aspect of the poem is also taken into account for when reading the whole poem because it creates a different effect on the scenery as well as the tone of the poem. When the speaker talks about the hive for the honey-bee and the crickets singing, the reader can picture those animals and those objects out in the picture that they are painting from the description. I enjoy how the poem allows the reader to be taken into the picture and the overall tone of just a calm and gentleness is given.

Monday, November 21, 2005

It Is This Way with Men

It Is This Way with Men

They are pounded into the earth
like nails; move an inch,
they are driven down again.
The earth is sore with them.
it is a spiny fruit
that has lost hope
of being raised and eaten.
It can only ripen and ripen.
And men, they too are wounded.
They too are siften from their loss
and are without hope. The core
softens. The pure flesh softens
and melts. There are thorns, there
are the dark seeds, and they end.

C.K. Williams uses three illustrations to describe men. The first is with the nails, then with the spiny fruit, then with man himself. I think that this is a very powerful poem, both understandable by men and women. I believe that the first illustration shows that men are tough to crack. Most men don't want to appear any less than strong and confident in everything they do and the only way to change them is to humble them greatly, hence, the "driving them down into the earth." Also dealing with the issue of man's confidence, I feel that the spiny fruit illustration is telling that men want to be appealing and wanted just as much as women do. Yet when they don't feel adequate enough, physically or maturity-wise, the only thing that they can succumb and resort to is "ripening" with time in hopes that they're be more desireable later. And the last description of men pretty much sums up the last two illustrations in "they too are stiften from their loss and are without hope," yet I feel that Williams is trying to say that once you get past the hardness and unripened part of a man's being, you'll find someone who is wounded and seeking what everyone else in this world is seeking - love.

Paired Things

Paired Things

Who, who had only seen wings,
could extrapolate he
skinny sticks of things
brids use for land,
the backward way they bend,
the silly way they stand?
And who, only studying
birdtracks in the sand,
could think those little forks
had decamped on the wind?
So many paired things seem odd.
Who ever would have dreamed
the broad winged raven on despair
would quit the air and go
bandylegged upon the ground,
a common crow?

This is the first poem I have ever read on my own and noticed so much slant rhyme used. I really like the way that Kay Ryan ryhmes in a sort of abacdc kind of pattern. I never really noticed or recognized slant rhyme as being something significant, but I think that this poem is a good example of just that. I think that what Ryan is trying to say in this poem is that things come in pairs in many mysterious ways. The example that she based most of her poem off of is her observation of the bird, which is pretty ironic since our object poem for this week is on animals. But Ryan points out that not only does this bird have pairs of wings, feet and footprints, but also two seemingly different lifestyles: one on the land and one in the air. This observation really helps bring out the message of the poem that pairs aren't always the presence of two things, but moreoften a duality of lifestyles and alter egos. At the same time, Ryan could merely be talking about just the bird's pair of legs and pair of wings. - I'm sure, like most poetry, it's up to interpretation.

week 9 post 2

Metaphors
Sylvia Plath

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

I’ve read this poem before and I like it very much. It is what Sylvia Plath wrote when she was pregnant. The poem is very clever and funny. The number 9 is very important I this poem. There are 9 months in pregnancy, 9 lines in the poem, each line has 9 syllables, and the word pregnancy has 9 letters in it. This is a poem of metaphors about the way she looks during her pregnancy. I am not sure whether she is happy about it or not. I think that she is regretful of her pregnancy because of the last line “there’s no getting off”. She writes in a way that seems likes she’s trapped and not something that she is looking forward, rather something she is stuck with. She compares herself with an elephant, a house, an watermelon, bread, and a purse. The baby becomes all of the important and precious things of the objects that she speaks of. The baby is the ivory of the elephant, the timbers of the house, the fruit inside the watermelon, the growing yeast of the bread, the money inside the purse. Everything that she describes has something valuable of growing in it which is metaphoric of the baby growing inside her

week 9 post 1

Happiness
Raymond Carver

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

It is very obvious that the speaker of the poem is very happy. He talks about ordinary things in a glorious and unusually happy way. Something that probably happens everyday at his house, such as the paper boys dropping off his newspaper becomes this remarkable thing and he basks in how happy they are. In the poem it does not say anything about the boys being happy, they are not even speaking with each other, so how does the speaker know they are happy? Since he is happy everything around him is happy too. So he perceives these two boys as being happy, even though they necessarily are not. He also comments on the weather and its beauty. It seems like nothing other than sunrise, something that occurs everyday. Something has happened to him that makes him so happy that the death, ambition, and love that he has been facing cannot change how he feels.

week 8 post 2

As by Giving or Letting Go

How to tend to their belongings-
Mend them?

Spend them?
Send them to us who still have children

though we try not to speak of them,
frightened as we are.

Lent to my son and me:
four cartoon plates, a box for lost teeth,

and a homemade board game
with a sack of markers and dice.

For a child of six and a child of eight
it must have been ecstacy to count so high!

What my sister can't give away
let her break, remake,

take out of the closet the red velvet dress
her eldest wore one thanksgiving in high fever

when we pressed our hands to her forehead
to cool her, fool the child sleep.

This poem is very strong and conveys a sense of mourning. The title "As by Giving and Letting Go" gives readers an inside to what the poem is going to be about. The speaker talks about receiving "their items" and as the speaker describes the items given, it is clear that the "their" belongings refers to children's items. This is seen as the author talks about the cartoon plates and the board games. The end of the poem talks about the items the speaker's sister cannot give away. The item talked about is a velvet dress that the child wore one Thanksgiving. This image has a very sad feeling as readers figure out near the end of the poem that the speaker's sister must give away the belongings of her dead child. And although she cannot give away all of her belongings, the one that she does keep and the ones she does give away all hold very strong emotional memories. The poem conveys the sense of loss while talking about something as childish as cartoon plates. Readers feel the pain of both of the people. They feel the speaker's pain as she must accept these so called "gifts" from her sister and they also feel the sister's pain having to give away the memories of her children.


week 8 post 1

Site, II

We were all she's there-
sister, sister, sister, mother, friend, friend-
and by then we know.
We sat on the floor in the mortuary looking as if for beauty
at a plate of jewelry and a room full of urns.
One urn pale wood,
one urn with two cloisonne cranes,
one urn blue steel with four bolts underneath.
My sister took a small brass cube from the velvet plate
and two hollow stars and a screw-top heart
she's to fill with ash and hang from chains
around her neck. What was she thinking?
Who could pour ash into such tiny shapes?
And whose ash?
For one chlid we had a penny bag,
for the other not a thing.

This poem describes an image of a lot of women searching for jewerly at a store. The reality is that these women, sisters, mothers, and friends, are looking at a room full of urns to fill with the ashes of their dead. The speaker describes as her sister picked out some jewel shaped urns to pour ash into. Speaker asks some questions, such as what was she thinking? Who could pour ash into such tiny shapes? At the end of the poem, the speaker describes how they picked out a penny bag for the ash of one child, and have not picked out an urn for the other yet. This poem describes the way the women searched for urns as like shopping in a department store. This comparison although a bit humerous has much sorrow as the theme can be ultimately seen as death. The end of the poem shows the sadness that picking out urns for your children can be seen as such a frivolous thing. The author gets her point across as this complex comparison is described, and readers can't help but feel that although death is a sad thing, it is also something that society created into a mockery. That people "shop around" for things to put their loved ones in before burial and such.

Paired Things

Paired Things

Who, who had only seen wings,
could extrapolate he
skinny sticks of things
brids use for land,
the backward way they bend,
the silly way they stand?
And who, only studying
birdtracks in the sand,
could think those little forks
had decamped on the wind?
So many paired things seem odd.
Who ever would have dreamed
the broad winged raven on despair
would quit the air and go
bandylegged upon the ground,
a common crow?

This is the first poem I have ever read on my own and noticed so much slant rhyme used. I really like the way that Kay Ryan ryhmes in a sort of abacdc kind of pattern. I never really noticed or recognized slant rhyme as being something significant, but I think that this poem is a good example of just that. I think that what Ryan is trying to say in this poem is that things come in pairs in many mysterious ways. The example that she based most of her poem off of is her observation of the bird, which is pretty ironic since our object poem for this week is on animals. But Ryan points out that not only does this bird have pairs of wings, feet and footprints, but also two seemingly different lifestyles: one on the land and one in the air. This observation really helps bring out the message of the poem that pairs aren't always the presence of two things, but moreoften a duality of lifestyles and alter egos. At the same time, Ryan could merely be talking about just the bird's pair of legs and pair of wings. - I'm sure, like most poetry, it's up to interpretation.

The Garden By Louise Gluck

From: The Garden By Louise Gluck
5. The Fear of Burial

In the empty field, in the morning,
the body waits to be claimed.
The spirit sits beside it, on a small rock-
nothing comes to give it form again.

Think of the body's loneliness.
At night pacing the sheared field,
its shadow buckled tightly around.
Such a long journey.
And already the remote, trembling lights of the village
not pausing for it as they scan the rows.
How far away they seem,
the wooden doors, the bread and milk
laid like weights on the table.

I think this poem is very powerful in the way that it captures the uncertainty and the loneliness that is associated with death and the afterlife. Here in the first stanza, the poet creates a beautiful scene, of a spirit and a body waiting for a place of belonging. The soul lonely above the ground and the corpse below. It also describes the loneliness of the cemetery and how forgotten the dead are. It think that it is interesting how the poet relates the loneliness of the dead to the coldness of the living towards the dead. On how when we die we are both forgotten and are lost without what was so familiar all of our lives. When loved ones die, we tend to bury them in an area far from us, far from the living. As in the poem the port hints to as the body or "soul" glances at the village lights. As in we draw a connection, a border between the life of the living and the dead. "How far away they seem..." As the poem continues; this making the newly passed soul seem more lost and fearful than if the mourners where to comfort the dead into the afterlife.

For an Album

For an Album
By Adrienne Rich

Our story isn't a file of photographs
faces laughing under green leaves
or snowlit doorways, on the verge of driving
away, our story is not about women
victoriously perched on the one
sunny day of the conference,
nor lovers displaying love:

Our story is of moments
when even slow motion moved too fast
for the shutter of the camera:
words that blew our lives apart, like so,
eyes that cut and caught each other,
mime of the operating room
where gas and knives quote each other,
moments before the telephone
starts ringing: our story is
how still we stood,
how fast.

After glancing through the book several times in order to find a good poem for this week I came across this one. By the first line I was hooked, not because it was so vivid but because it took one of my loves, photography and turned it into a story of memories. However it not wanted to be a cliche took the idea of photographs capturing memories into a story in which a photograph wasn't sufficient enough. The picture could not capture the emotion or the moment for the poet. It goes no explaining how in fact that a camera was too fast, over looked too many details of the moment that the poet is trying to capture and keep. Don't get me wrong, this poem is confusing to me because when reading it I get a sense of loss of tragedy. The knives and gas remind me of a cold hospital emergency room and the phone call almost of tragic unexpected news. I feel when the poets says that the camera was too slow, I feel that in the time that the person received such news that the world around them stopped. Time stood still, about to change their lives forever when time resumed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

week 8 post 2

Evening Star
by: Edgar Allen Poe

'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

The poem uses the images of the moon to convey something dark and evil while the images of stars to prevail over the moon. The literal interpretation of the poem is the moon is evil and smiles coldly on the earth below. While the stars are portrayed to be something stronger than the moon and surpasses its brightness. This was an interesting way to portray the moon and stars. First of all, I don't look at the moon and see something cold. The beauty of the moon is staring at me in the face. But I can see where the author comes up with the moon being something cold. Anything in the sky that can look down on the earth while the earth is in sorrow can be pretained as cold. The stars play a special role in this poem. They are the light that beats the moon and shines brighter than the moon. In a way this leads to things that are small but can still bring so much to someone. A sad tone in the beginning of the poem, it ends with hope.

Week 8 post 1

SnowDrops
by: Louise Gluck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring-

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

The poem is written simply and doesn't have complicated words, but the meaning behind the words are complicated and intense. The speaker is a flower and is talking about the event of harsh conditions and being able to survive it. The speaker asks the audience if they know what it feels like to go through pain and almost dying in the figurative sense, and compares it to winter. Winter is thought to be a time where everything is covered and all the animals are hiding for the season. There is no life in the winter. For the plant to be able to go through such harsh conditions and still be able to survive. The plant describes the feeling of being able to come back from such a desolate place and feel alive again. There is so much joy but it is said in such a monotone way that it is hard for the reader to get that feeling at the first reading. The last few lines of the poem really make the poem come together. All the emotions and feelings of what it is like to come to a new place is expressed. JOy for being there, caution for being somewhere new and scared for doing something different. The raw wind of the new world makes it seem like it really is a new beginning.

Friday, November 18, 2005

TO OENONE. by Robert Herrick

What conscience, say, is it in thee,
When I a heart had one, [won]
To take away that heart from me,
And to retain thy own?

For shame or pity, now incline
To play a loving part;
Either to send me kindly thine,
Or give me back my heart.

Covet not both; but if thou dost
Resolve to part with neither;
Why! yet to shew that thou art just,
Take me and mine together.


The title of this poem first attracted me to it. 'Oenone' sounds like 'owing one' which is probably because the speaker's significant other owes him her love, in exchange for his. This poem is cool because it shows that love takes both parties to give, or else love will not work at all. This is a relatively basic concept, and it is reflected on the basic abab rhyme scheme. The word play of the poem also makes it interesting. If you read the second line with the last word being "one," then it makes the speaker seem vulnerable, having only one heart that the subject of the poem takes from him. If that line is read with "won" rather than "one," it feels like the speaker freely gives his heart to the winner, his significant other. However, the speaker does not seem to be so vulnerable, as is not compromising with his heart; he wants to trade, or no deal.

The Funeral by John Donne

Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair, which crowns my arm;
The mystery, the sign, you must not touch,
For 'tis my outward soul,
Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,
Will leave this to control
And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.
For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
Through every part
Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
Those hairs which upward grew, and strength and art
Have from a better brain,
Can better do'it; except she meant that I
By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die.

Whate'er she meant by'it, bury it with me,
For since I am
Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry,
If into other hands these relics came;
As 'twas humility
To afford to it all that a soul can do,
So, 'tis some bravery,
That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.


This is a confusing poem with a simple abab rhyme scheme. It seems like the speaker's death is a metaphor of his love relationship. The first stanza is graphic about the process of death: hair growing freely and still growing after the body is dead, the limbs dissolving, etc. The speaker's lover is keeping the speaker from dying, just as they are trying to keep their love from failing. The speaker likens his love to being a prisoner, as if he is being forced in this relationship before it dies. The second stanza changes from the process of death, to a reflection of death. I'm not sure how the speaker is a martyr. I think the relics that the speaker wants buried with him are memories of his ex lover, that he is burying with the death of their love. In the end, the speaker seems to get his revenge on his ex lover, for whatever happened.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams

If when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,-
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely,
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,-

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

This is another poem that I found online by William Carlos Williams. I enjoy reading this poem because of it's ironic point of view. Not only does this poem have a humorous point of view, but it also makes the reader look at things in a different perspective. The title of the poem, "Danse Russe," is kind of confusing in the sense that I'm not clear on what the speaker is talking about. I would like to think that "Danse Russe" is the name of a person, but I'm not positive. I like how the beginning of the poem just begins with this description and imagery of a man just dancing around naked in a room. The beginning couple of lines of the poem discuss the characters which the speaker involves himself with as well as the scenery of the outer world. While the poem progresses, it brings in a comical point when the speaker says "dance naked, grotesquely." The word "grotesquely" just makes me laugh and think of this man just dancing naked in a weird way. The comical relief of the poem continues on when the speaker talks about how he waves around a shirt in circular motion above his head and I could just imagine a man doing that just because just about everyone has seen an image just like it or similar to that. The last two lines of the poem kind of bring the whole poem into focus. When the speaker proposes the question, it kind of brings the poem into a halting end. Not necessarily in a bad sense, but just in a way where the reader rethinks the purpose of the poem. When I read the last two lines, it made me reconsider the poem, not just in the humorous sense, but also that there is a dominating tone of the man throughout this poem.

To a Poor Old Woman by William Carlos Williams

munching a plum on
the street a paper bag
of them in her hand

They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. They taste
good to her

You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand

Comforted
a solace of ripe plums
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her


This poem found on a website by William Carlos Williams is an interesting poem because of the repeated lines and simplistic picture it presents. As the poem starts out, it talks about a woman who munches on a plum. This plum is really good to hear and an observer can tell by the way she eats it. The woman eating the plum is comforted by the plum that she is eating as well as the bag of plums that she carries. The second stanza of the poem is just one phrase that is repeated twice. This stanza seems slightly odd to me because it is just a phrase that is repeated. The speaker possibly wants to emphasize the fact that "they taste good to her," because of the constant repetition. In the first stanza, when the author chooses not to capitalize the first letter of the first word, it kind of creates a different appearence of the poem. I kind of get the understanding that by not capitalizing the first word of the poem to make it seem as if it is starting a new sentence, it really isn't capitalized so that the title of the poem can be read as a connected piece to the poem. With this poem barely having any punctuation to begin with, I think it adds to the speaker's perspective of things. As the speaker is just simply an onlooker of this poor old woman, it could possibly be a different meaning to the story, the figurative meaning of the poem that is. It is possible that the speaker is trying to tell his/her audience to indulge in what you already have and in this case, the poor old woman loves what she has, which is a plum.

Intrusion

Intrusion
by Denise Levertov

After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones

something my former hands had longed for
came and asked to be rocked.

After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new one's grown

something my former eyes had wept for
came asking to be pitied.

For some reason, I felt that this poem had a lot of poetic/litterature and Biblical allusion. The reference to cutting one's hands off refers to one sinning and "plucking one's eyes out" reminds me of the character Oedipus. I like it when poems have allusions because if one understands the parallel it helps them better understand the emotion and meaning behind what the poet is trying to convey in their poem. Also, the lines are so spread apart and it's easy on the readers eyes and allows them to better focus on each set of two lines as opposed to reading something that's more condensed. This poem is a good example of a narrative with figurative meaning, various allusions, yet clear meaning: when something "intrudes" into our lives, we do our best to learn from them, and feel blessed with what took its place and be thankful for what had formerly intruded into our lives.

week 8 post 2

The Apartment is Dark
Dimitri Shostakovich

The apartment is dark.
I like it that way.
Through unshaded windows
I look across the street.
People there have lights on.
I see them through curtains.
A muscular young man
Washes dishes with his wife.
A woman drinks beer
In the blue light of TV.
On the top floor a mother,
A daughter, a daughter:
Three without men.
Next door an old couple
Smothers the fear
Of who will die first.
In a singles bar
I meet a woman
And have nothing to say.
Too many times
I have said the same things.
I watch here in darkness,
In the peace of aloneness,
And think about me,
And think about you.

This poem has a lot of imagery and really shows what the speaker is feeling through other peoples actions. The first line says that he likes the apartment dark. For almost the rest of the poem, he is observing different families and couples. Without saying he makes the reader aware that everyone is missing someone or something in their life that would otherwise make it a picture of the perfect family. The speaker is lonely and the last two lines show this and more precisely that he is lonely for another person. Probably a woman because he speaks of a woman that he meets in a singles bar and feels like once again it is going to be the same process. He rather sit in his dark apartment and watch other people’s lives and thinking about the person he is missing. This does not necessarily mean that he likes sitting in his dark apartment, but believes it to be a better choice than starting another relationship with someone that he fears will be the same old story.

week 8 post 1

First Love
Wislawa Szymborska

They say
the first love's most important.
That's very romantic,
but not my experience.
Something was and wasn't there between us,
something went on and went away.
My hands never tremble
when I stumble on silly keepsakes
and a sheaf of letters tied with string
— not even ribbon.
Our only meeting after years:
two chairs chatting
at a chilly table.
Other loves
still breathe deep inside me.
This one's too short of breath even to sigh.
Yet just exactly as it is,
it does what the others still can't manage:
unremembered,
not even seen in dreams,
it introduces me to death.

What I really like about this poem is that the whole time you understand everything the speaker is saying and at the end it leaves you guessing. This is obviously a love poem, but different from other love poems because the speaker doesn’t seem to think that this was a significant love. Then why write about it? I think that since this was her first love, at the time it was probably very important to her as well as emotional. After falling in love a few more times, she realized how little she really loved the first person. She says that he was her first love, but that “something wasn’t there between us”, she doesn’t not seem to have any sadness or remorse about their relationship. Then why does the last line say “it introduces me to death?” I am thinking that if not because it was the hardest love to get over, it maybe because a death has occurred in this relationship. My favorite line is “other loves still breathe deep inside me”. I like it because it is so intense and meaningful. To be able to say that something lives inside you is very personal and means that one must have an extremely deep connection to it.

Shimmer

Shimmer
by James Schuyler

The pear tree that last year
was heavy-laden this year
bears little fruit. Was
it that wet spring we had?
All the pear tree leaves
go shimmer, all at once. The
August sun blasts down
into the coolness from the
ocean. The New York Times
is on strike. My daily
fare! I'll starve! Not
quite. On my sill, balls
of twine wrapped up in
cellophane glitter. The
brown, the white and one
I think you'd call ecru.
The sunlight falls partly
in a cup: it has a blue
transfer of two boys, a
dog and a duck and says,
"Come Away Pompey." I
like that cup, half
full of sunlight. Today
you could take up the
tattered shadows off
the grass. Roll them
and stow them. And collect
the shimmerings in a
cup, like the coffee
here at my right hand.

This poem really caught my eye because the poem preceeding this one in the anthology has long lines and the poem looks very wide. I like how this poem is all about perspective and play on words as well as a lot of personification. The illustration and picture painted of the cup and sunlight is somewhat cliche, but not too cliche because it serves it's purpose well. the tattered shadows rolling off the grass is another great illustration. Also, because of the line breaks and effective punctuation, i feel that the entire poem is connected well together and the reader can go all the way from nature (beginning of the poem) to a coffee cup in one's hand (end of the poem) and not feel that they're reading two completely different poems.

Untitled

An excerpt from Each in a Place Apart
by James McMichael

My wife is taking it well enough.
If there's another woman she doesn't want to know.
In LA, where no one knows us and would tell,
I rent a studio above a garage. Linda moves
out of the Y to the front unit of a duplex.
She's at the Ambassador for Bobby Kennedy's
victory party the night I leave. Dumbfoundedness,
one more impossible cortege, but she can come
over now, I can go see her, summer, our walks up the
fireroad in the last light, rabbits and even
deer sometimes across the reservoir on the grassy fans.
We go to the store together. There's time for
movies, now, and double solitaire. We wrestle.
She cuts my hair one Saturday outside the kitchen.

I like this poem because it has a simple, matter-of-fact tone that is not commonly used in poetry. All the speaker has to say of leaving his wife is that she's taking it well enough, as if to stoically say "Eh, whatever" about her. He then goes on to tell the events of his life with the new girl of his affection. Even while describing this, he is very literal, and simply poetically describes what they do together, and how there is now time for them to live their lives together. This poem takes place in a form of almost free-association, bouncing from his wife taking it well enough to his life in LA, and then randomly skipping from one even in which the speaker or his lover are involved in and jumps from one to another. He goes from talking about wrestling with her to her cutting her hair one Saturday. There is a serenity to the poem as a result of the lack of tension and slow-moving, detailed description of the daily activities that are normally omitted from such a short work.

Coming to This

Coming to This
by Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have 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 seems really depressing. The first line contrasts with the rest of the poem. It sets us up for what we think will be a bright, cheerful poem, and then jumps right into the idea of discarded dreams. For me, this poem is really hard to understand, but that is part of it's appeal. I think that it is saying that as life weathers us we let go of our dreams, and become content with what is. We lower our limits, tighten our boundaries, and eventually settle on a way of life. Having nowhere to go, and no reason to stay, we find simple idleness that causes us not to care and become rather unemotional creatures of habit. I suppose one could generalize and say that nobody goes through life with no regrets, but eventually we become numb to the things that pass us up, and simply accept and are comfortable in life as it is. This is a rather dark view on things, lending from the dark tone in the piece. An interesting, yet difficult to understand poem.
The Wild Iris
by Louis Glueck

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.

Glueck is definitely the kind of poet whose poetry should be read more than once over. This poem came froma book that is filled other other poems like it, about flowers. I found this one especially interesting. The Speaker talks about death, but as I see it, it is the birth of something new. The initial darkness is the bud, or seed of a plant underneath the ground, the sun was weak and could not shine through very strongly. Then the plant starts to grow and comes out into the world. It is so bright that it is overwhelming for thelittle plant. It looks up and sees the azure sky. I relaly like how he writes in such contrasting ways.

Monday, November 14, 2005

week 7 post 2

Still Life with No End
by: Catherine Barnett

Every day in her studio my mother
sets out to paint the large picture, to fix
the order of the planets and their circling,
to find which universe is ice and which fire,
which the limit and which the spreading forth.

When the paint dries she scrapes it flat.
Begins again, upside down.
And the cold thing stares back.
Bold stare. Look of the harrowed.
Downstroke at the brows,
erasure of the rising mark.

This poem is kind of strange and deals with the concept of art and the vast things that it is able to do. The poem starts off talking about the speakers mother painting a picure and that she is to "fix the order of the planets...". This shows the kind of thing that art allows you to do which is create your own universe the way you want it to run. this concept is further discussed as the speaker states "whic univers is ice and which fire...". The line has a feel of searching as the speakers mother tries to find what to paint, or what to create. The second stanza changes tone from this searching kind of aspect to one of gloom and almost surreal. The author states that "when the paint dries she scrapes it flat..." this strong word scrape has a painfull connotation and the fact that the mother destroies the image shows pain as well. When the mother desides to paint again "the cold thing stares back..." which is kind of creepy and gives readers a cold chill. The bold look of the painting is seen and at the end of the poem the speaker says "erasure of the rising mark." Im not quite sure what this line was put there to accomplish but I get a sense of ceartenty that the mother is very sure of the rising mark to come. Overall this poem seems to flow from a simple art painting that the speakers mother likes to paint to an inner painfull experience.

week 7 post 1

Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced
by: Catherine Barnett

We unstrung neckalaces into two glass bowls
and passed them round to the mourners.
The beads were onyx, agate, quartz, all manner

of stone. Everyone was to take two
and at the end of the service
put one back in my sister's hands.

What could she do but collect
the round weights all night?
She has not restrung them,

not wanting to be finished yet with death.

This poem is the poem whose title was chosen for the authors entire book. Knowing that I was a bit biased as to what the poem would be like and how good the poem must be. The poem is a bit strange at first but describes something so simplistic in such a powerfull way. The introduction describes how stone beads are passed out to the "mourners". This word gives the first signal of death in the poem and it is clear form this point out that the poem is talking about death. Two beads are given to the mourners and then they give one of the beads to the speakers sister. the line "at the end of the service" also hints to the death aspect of the poem. Since services can be anything form church to a club meeting the author purposly put mourners to show that the scen is in fact a funeral. The author then states that "She has not restung them...". Refering to the beads that the sister got, this is because she is "not wanting to be finished with death yet.". The last line of the poem is what almost makes one cry (but not really). The pain that is expressed through something as simple as beads, and the act of not wanting them to be strung up to signify that the funeral is finally over. Most people have had to deal with death in some way and the sister is no different. She does not want to be finshed with death yet. She doesnt want the funeral to be over and be done with her loss. The title plays into the bead theme as into perfect spheres are the stone beads and holes pierced can refer to both the holes in the beads as well as holes in the speaker's sisters heart. Good poem that is straightforward and very strong in the tone of death and pain.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

When we first Faced, and Touching Showed by Philip Larkin

When first we faced, and touching showed
How well we knew the early moves,
Behind the moonlight and the frost,
The excitement and the gratitude,
There stood how much our meeting owed
To other meetings, other loves.

The decades of a different life
That opened past your inch-close eyes
Belonged to others, lavished, lost;
Nor could I hold you hard enough
To call my years of hunger-strife
Back for your mouth to colonise.

Admitted: and the pain is real.
But when did love not try to change
The world back to itself--no cost,
No past, no people else at all--
Only what meeting made us feel,
So new, and gentle-sharp, and strange?

The speaker talks about how this new love he is experiencing is bringing back up the history of his old loves. In the second stanza he talks about how he will not be able to access his lover's past relationships, and that this love cannot bury his past either. In the end though, the tone is very hopeful, that even though there will inevitably be pain and suffering in love, and no new relationship can make that go away, he leaves the reader with the a rhetorical questions saying that even though there is all this, love will still try anyway. I enjoyed this poem because even though it doesn't tell the story though concrete details, it is a very elegant way of describing relationships- old and new, a subject that has been exhausted through songs and poetry for years. The rhyming pattern is one that I'm unfamiliar with as well: ABCDAB. I like what it does to the poem, where halfway into the stanza you forget that it rhymes, but it pulls back in the last two lines creating a circular effect.

Serenade

So sweet the hour, so calm the time,
I feel it more than half a crime,
When Nature sleeps and stars are mute,
To mar the silence ev'n with lute.
At rest on ocean's brilliant dyes
An image of Elysium lies:
Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,
Form in the deep another seven:
Endymion nodding from above
Sees in the sea a second love.
Within the valleys dim and brown,
And on the spectral mountain's crown,
The wearied light is dying down,
And earth, and stars, and sea, and sky
Are redolent of sleep, as I
Am redolent of thee and thine
Enthralling love, my Adeline.
But list, O list,- so soft and low
Thy lover's voice tonight shall flow,
That, scarce awake, thy soul shall deem
My words the music of a dream.
Thus, while no single sound too rude
Upon thy slumber shall intrude,
Our thoughts, our souls- O God above!
In every deed shall mingle, love.
-Edgar Allan Poe

In this poem there are many literary devices that are used to make the poem flow well and sound very nice to the ear. There is a rhyme scheme that is pretty much A-B, A-B throughout the poem. There is alliteration and consonance which has many S's throughout the poem. Imagery is also contained throughtout the poem, an example being, "At rest on ocean's brilliant dyes," which is an interesting way to think about the ocean- as dyes that run through and mix together to make brilliant colors. Another line that I thought had something I could never think up was, "When nature sleeps and stars are mute." I considered nature never to really be at rest, because there are always people, animals, insects, that are awake and on its surface, but maybe there is a time at night when nature does rest. The second part of the line, "when stars are mute," is also an interesting thought. I never really thought of stars making noise, but perhaps when they are not twinkling sporadically, they are quieting down.
I like the way that Poe can make the cliche' idea of a love poem, quite original and only his. This is a rarity in poets, as it is difficult to replicate.

That Will to Divest

Action creates
a taste
for itself.
Meaning: Once
you've swept
the shelves of spoons
and plates
you kept,
for guests,
it gets harder
not to also
simplify the larder,
not to dismiss
rooms, not to
divest yourself
of all the chairs
but one, not
to test what
singleness can bear,
once you've begun.
-Kay Ryan

This poem was somewhat difficult for me to interpret, but I thought of it as a poem about turning to solitude. The first line of the poem, "Action creates a taste for itself," made me think of cleaning. When you start cleaning a house, room, or car, you want the whole thing to be clean and do as good of a job as you can. Similarily in this poem, the speaker begins with taking out the dishware that he uses for guests and goes on throwing out everything unneccesary from there. The speaker throws out chairs, excavates rooms, and tries to take out anything that is used for guests.
This poem raises an interesting concept of what is necessary in life. Do you need to have enough extra dishes, chairs, and spare bedrooms for extra guests? Or do you only need what is necessary for yourself. The poem reminds me of a "going into the woods" poem in which the speaker does not want anything but solitude. In the hopes of that, he removes all that would enable guests to come over.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Dreams by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


This is another poem by Langston Hughes which I found online as well. Even this poem is a little bit short, I enjoy the point that the speaker is trying to point across. The literal meaning of the poem is that dreams are something that one should hold onto. Dreams are something that keeps life going and without them, life has no purpose. In the first stanza, when the poem states that "life is a broken-winged bird," it is a metaphor that simply just shows how life would be like if one lets their dreams die. I like this metaphor because it compares life to something that ties in with nature and whenever I think of life, I always think that nature has something to do with it. There's just something about the aspect of life that is always tied in with a serene and calming effect, in this example, nature or animals. It could be cliche or whatnot, but I always seem to find that life always has a connection with nature or animals. In the second stanza, when the speaker compares life to a barren field that is frozen with snow, it shows that dreams are something that should not be forgotten. In this example, it also compares it to something that has to do with nature as well. The whole poem just seems so symbolic of life and dreams in general. I enjoy how the speaker is able to take something which many poets write about and twist it in a way that is different to me at least.

The War in the Air

The War in the Air
By Howard Nemerov

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there
In the clean war, the war in the air.

Seldom the ghosts came back bearing their tales
of hitting the earth, the incompressible sea,
But stayed up there in the relative wind,
Shades fading in the mind,

Who had no graves but only epitaphs
Where never so many spoke for never so few:
Per ardua, said the partisans of Mars,
Per aspera, to the stars.

That was the good war, the war we won
As if there were no death, for goodness' sake,
With the help of the losers we left out there
In the air, in the empty air.

This poem's subject is clearly stated in the title. It is a poem regarding the loss of war and the consequences. As the poet has stated although a war was won it was just or that no losses were experienced. The poet discussed the loss of war and those fathers, brothers, lovers, husbands, and uncles that never returned from this "victorious" war. Yet with all the pain accompanied with the grieving of all the dead, this victory is not seen as "victorious." This poem also stresses the fact war vetern are often forgetten and those who return receive all the praise. Forgetting that those who died, died for the country and giving their lives in the of duty to save others. This is at times true in society.

Styx by Robert Duncan

Styx By Robert Duncan

And a tenth part of Okeanos is given to dark night
a tithe of the pure water under earth
so that the clear fountains pour from rock face,
tears stream from the caverns and clefts,
down-running, carving wondrous ways in basalt resistance,
cutting deep as they go into layers of time- layerd
Gaia where She sleeps-

the cold water, the black rushing gleam, the
moving down-rush, wash, gush out over
red-rocks, toiling the boulders in flood,
purling in deeps, broad flashing in falls

And a tenth part of bright clear Okeanos
his circulations- mists, rains, sheets, sheathes-
lies in poisonous depths, the black water.

Styx this carver of caverns beneath us is.
Styx this black water, this down pouring.


I was reading up on the author and I found out about his background and how it included the study of Greek deities and his fascination with them. The title of the poem was what really caught my eye, and that was Styx. Which I am assuming represents the River of Styx or the hateful river. The River of Styx was seen as the crossing from death into the Greek underworld. "Gaia" or "Ge" is seen as mother earth from which all things were created. The imagery of this poem is also unique in that the descriptions of the water and how it flows over the rocks and edges of the caves is not tranquil but harsh and almost painful. For example "gushing" and "toiling" and "cutting deep" all give an image of something untamed and unpredictable. I think this is the poets attempt to describe the Greeks underworld, one of no hope and no future, as it was seen in the ancient Greek culture.

I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.


I discovered this poem on a website and found it to be very interesting. As the author, Langston Hughes is Aftican-Amiercan, it seems as if the literal meaning of the poem fits. I enjoy the storyline of the poem in its entirety and find it to be very intriging. I like how the poem contrasts and in a way gives two different points of the story. In the beginning of the poem, when the speaker says that "I am the darker brother," it basically just means that the speaker is different than the rest of the characters that he is referring to. As the poem continues and the speaker talks about how they send him to the kitchen to eat, it shows the racial discimination among society. However, as the poem progresses, the speaker shows the gradual change in society's outlook and treatment of people who are not of the same color. In the 3rd stanza, when the speaker talks about how no one will dare tell him to eat in the kitchen, it shows the uprising and growing of society as a whole. In the 4th stanza, when the speaker talks about how beautiful he is, it is symbolic of how everyone is beautiful, no matter what race or ethnicity they are. As the poem begins and ends with the same line, "I, too, am America," it is significant because it identifies what the whole poem is about. In America, there is supposed to be no racial discimination and freedom amongst everyone, which is what this poem is trying to show. I enjoy reading this poem because it just shows how far our country has come along.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Poem 10 by Edmund Spenser

TEll me ye merchants daughters did ye see
So fayre a creature in your towne before,
So sweet, so louely, and so mild as she,
Adornd with beautyes grace and vertues store,
Her goodly eyes lyke Saphyres shining bright,
Her forehead yuory white,
Her cheekes lyke apples which the sun hath rudded,
Her lips lyke cherryes charming men to byte,
Her brest like to a bowle of creame vncrudded,
Her paps lyke lyllies budded,
Her snowie necke lyke to a marble towre,
And allher body like a pallace fayre,
Ascending vppe with many a stately stayre,
To honors seat and chastities sweet bowre.
Why stand ye still ye virgins in amaze,
Vpon her so to gaze,
Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing,
To which the woods did answer and your eccho ring

This poem caught my attention because it is in old English, which sounds cool. Because of the odd spellings, I have to read this poem aloud so that I can understand it. The rhyme scheme does not seem to be consistent either. It is: ababccdcddeeeffgg. This inconsistent rhyming gives the poem less of a structure and makes it interesting because the rhyme are unexpected. It seems like the poem is written just to sound cool, and not for any other purpose. In the middle, it gets a little redundant with its parallel structured lines, but it is cool in its bluntness. The speaker makes the girl seem like an edible, yet elegant statue, which is not considered ok by modern standards. But I like that the speaker makes no attempt to be politically correct, and is raw about the description of what he finds beautiful.

Redbirds by Sara Teasdale

Redbirds, redbirds,
Long and long ago,
What a honey-call you had
In hills I used to know;

Redbud, buckberry,
Wild plum-tree
And proud river sweeping
Southward to the sea,

Brown and gold in the sun
Sparkling far below,
Trailing stately round her bluffs
Where the poplars grow --

Redbirds, redbirds,
Are you singing still
As you sang one May day
On Saxton's Hill?


This poem caught my attention because of its cool sound devices and colorful imagery. it is also so simple it almost seems like it should be lyrics to a pop song. I think it is interesting that only the second and fourth lines in each stanza rhyme, so that it is a abcb rhyme scheme, giving it some structure, but not too much. There are a lot of warm, fallish colors, but I'm not sure of the significance of it. It seems like the speaker first praises the redbird for its beautiful singing, then allows the reader to see through the eyes of the redbird from the plum tree and in the sky. At this point, the redbird has flown away, and the speaker wonders if the redbird still sings. I think this poem is beautiful in its simplicity, even if it doesn't have much of a point.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Week 7 Post 2

Harvest
By: Louise Gluck

It grieves me to think of you in the past-

Look at you, blindly clinging to earth
as though it were the vineyards of heaven
while the fields go up in flames around you-

Ah, little ones, how unsubtle you are:
it is at once the gift of the torment.

If what you fear in death
is punishment beyond this, you need not
fear death:

how many times must I destroy my own creation
to teach you
this is your punishment:

with one gesture I establish you
in time and in paradise.

Many of the poems by this author seem condesending to her subjects. She establishes a sense of higher authority for the speaker and she sets up the stage for the authoritative author to comment about her underlings. In this poem the speaker is talking to lower level. The plants that she describes clinging to the earth can symbolize other living things and how they only know that the earth is their haven. The speaker states that how she does not want to think about the little ones in the past, and about how they clung onto earth with their lives. The speaker's tone is almost godly. that the speaker is a god looking down on earth taking care of her underlings, her creations. And she speaks to them about their fear of death. The little ones cling to earth with their lives and fear death, of leaving their paradise, but the speaker says that they have nothing to be afraid of. She tells them that their punishment is what she wants it to be. She put them where they are and she can take them from that place just as easily. The way the author uses plants to describe deeper themes is amazingly interesting. Something I would have never thought of even correlating together.