Tuesday, December 06, 2005


A Minor Bird
by Robert Frost

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

This poem is pretty short, but it brings out some important things that we learned in poetry. The first thing that I noticed was the the change in the speaker's tone. The tone went from annoyance to almost regret that he was annoyed. The change seems to occur in the third stanza when the speaker takes a different perspective of the singing bird that makes noise and bothers him. He then admits that perhaps it isn't the bird's fault. The last stanza brings out a lot about the speaker in itself. He states that "there must be something wrong in wanting to silence any song". It seems that he has a certain appreciation for the arts including singing and music. The lines bring out a deeper and more thoughtful side of the speaker.


A Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! What is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream - that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star

The poet sets a very calm and peaceful mood throughout this poem. The title of "Dreams" helps to enhance this effect making the poem fantastic and almost divine. Words like "dream", "holy", "light", "purely", and "star" bring out celestial ideas and referrences to the heavens. Not only the poem use "heavenly" words, the poem rhymes. This allows the reader to read the poem with a select rhythm and is carried steadily through the poem. This flow steadily paces the reader through the poem and allows them to feel the effect that the poet is trying to bring across. The rhyme and the diction work together to beautifully create this "dreamy" effect and enhance the poem's reading.

The Eclipse by Richard Eberhart

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

Again I think that the shortness and simplicity of the poem heighten its effect on the reader because the reader is not bogged down in meaningless but beautiful images. Olny the essential images are used in this poem. I like the contrast of the light and the dark. I like the use of cold in this poem it really contrasts the beauty of the eclipse. I like how the last line of the poem links the eclipse to a higher idea, the idea of hope. Making hope be the image of light in the darkness.

Medea by Alison Croggon

Forgetting what is mine
as rain sheds its petals
I will show you everything
falling away like water

As rain sheds its petals
in this endless night
falling away like water
from my callussed hands

In this endless night
I think of knives blooming
from my callussed hands
and a vast exile

I think of knives blooming
treacherous as lips
and a vast exile
numbing every prayer

Treacherous as lips
curling inside the body's love
numbing every prayer
in blood's filthy clamour

Curling inside the body's love
forgetting what is mine
in blood's filthy clamour
I will show you everything

I think that what is most interesting about this poem is its use of very unusual images. They are nothing like what you would expect them to be such as "knives blooming." The repitition of lines used in the poem heightens the use of the strange images. It is a strange pattern because there is a repitition of the second and fourth line as the first in third in each of the stanzas. It creates a strange rythm in the poem, and highlights all of the interesting images.

A poem in Each in a Place Apart by James McMichael

It's early March. She doesn't know if we've
changed for her, but she's looking forward to June,
she wants me to go to Idaho without her. I'm afraid to.
She'll like it here too much without me and won't
want me to come home. It may aready have been
weeks ago that I should have seen it, I can't stop watching,
will we make it or not? She doesn't know. Sometimes she's
hopeful that she'll get the spark back, the one I have for her.
Sometimes she thinks she wants another baby. I
can't let her see I'm cheered. Each time's a chance to
show her that her backs and forths don't matter.
If she feels mointored, it will drive her away.
Something in me touches her for a moment. When she
kisses me at Carl's Jr. while I'm standing in line,
I have to look at her. And if it's for
that moment only that she loves me, I can't hide.

It is usually one or two lines that can sell me on an entire poem. I chose this one for the last few lines, "And if it's for that moment only that she loves me, I can't hide." This is a beautiful way for the poet to show, not tell, how he loves the subject of this poem. What makes this stand out from most of the ways to talk about love is that it focuses on such a specific detail, of her kissing him in the line at Carl's Jr. Most people do not associate the line at Carl's Jr. as a moment where one finds love. However, having this specific context is what makes this detail so real. I also like how the speaker expresses his own worry about the relationship through Linda's worry. By talking about how Linda feels, we can tell that the poet is deeply concerned with the future of their relationship. I also like how it ends optimistically. The whole entire poem is about the struggle of keeping their relationship together, but when he ends the poem on this nice moment in Carl's Jr., it sends the message that even though there is all this confusion and hardship now, it has all been worth it for that one moment of love.


Traveling Light
by Dabney Stuart

Moving through still time, its opposite
it creates no friction. They are both gifts,
one the infinite eye of the needle
the other threads. Occupies.
Emptiness is full of itself,
a never air, the lens for being.
In the long way of this place,
the afterthought of gasses becomes
what we tune in, its tickless
preoccupation and amaze our present.
If such light made a sound
it would be as if the wide spacewind
formed a bell of itself,
and a smaller wind within, and rang.

The poet uses an intellectual tone of voice through his use of time-related words. He uses words like "moving", "time", "infinite", and "emptiness" which create a transcendant and fleeting kind of feeling. These words make his poem effective in creating this quiet and timeless mood. He always furthers this effect in the use of structure. He creates enjambments and end-stops to control the flow of his poem. He slows the reader down through his periods, but makes sure at the same time that the poem is moving forward and taking passage throughout the stanzas. Overall he does a great job in controlling the flow of his poem and giving the poem an intellectual tone.


by Liam Aungier

A man of few words and little grace,
Peter Carey, bachelor, pensioner,
village farrier. As a child
I'd see him SUnday mornings
awkward in an ill-fitting suit
hobbling home from early Mass.
And when I was eight or nine he died.

So, imagine my surprise to meet him now,
this afternoon in the county library,
to find him translated
between the covers of the Iliad
conversing with the Immortals:
deity of the dragging footsteps,
old artificer, fire-god,

In this poem, a man recounts his childhood of knowing some old man. In the second stanza there is a meeting between the two, but it does not seem to be real. It is almost as is his character has reincarnated through the pages of a mythological book. The most bold part of this poem is the sudden change in the middle of the poem. The man dies and the poem is enjambed at that moment, but an unexpected twist suddenly comes about. The man sees the dead man way later at a random place as a library. The change brings a very eerie mood to the poem and draws the reader in to see how exactly the man was able to come back. Some questions that can be asked are what form exactly did the man return? Was he a character in the book, or did he literally sit in the library and read the Iliad or what? The tension of the speaker and his recount truly do help the poem however in drawing the reader in through this unexpected twist.

poem 15 Komunyakaa

Facing It
by Yusef Komunyakaa

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way--the stone lets me go.
I turn that way--I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

The guilt of for survival is overwhelming for many veterans. In this poem the speaker is visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and seeing himself in the wall. At first he speaks of his face beign a part of the stone relfecting, butt hen he looks for him own name, half expecting it to be there. The reader get s sense of despair from him at the other people who are also visiting the memorial. Like names shimmering on a woman's blouse, and even after she walks away, and the wall becomes a memory, those names will still be there, and the men will still be dead. Even a woman who he initially thinks is trying to erase the names, to take back what has happened to them, is merely brushing a boy's hair, an almost ignorant of the important of the structure before her.

poem 14

To Elsie
by William Carlos Williams

The pure products of America
go crazy--
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure--

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from Monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags-succumbing without
save numbed terror

under some hedge of choke-cherry
or viburnum-
which they cannot express--

Unless it be that marriage
with a dash of Indian blood

will throw up a girl so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease or murder

that she'll be rescued by an
reared by the state and

sent out at fifteen to work in
some hard-pressed
house in the suburbs--

some doctor's family, some Elsie--
voluptuous water
expressing with broken

brain the truth about us--
her great
ungainly hips and flopping breasts

addressed to cheap
and rich young men with fine eyes

as if the earth under our feet
an excrement of some sky

and we degraded prisoners
to hunger until we eat filth

while the imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in

the stifling heat of September
it seems to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car

Even without knowing the meaning of the title, that is, the reader has no knowledge of who Elsie might be, this poem has a very strong message about the degredation of American culture. The speaker moves through the land, addressing different parts,a nd different people, from Kentucky to New Jersey. How the dirty, rundown life style can produce a female who will be apt to this lifes style, and can preform well in it. One of my favorite lines in the poem is "as if the earth under our feet were an excrement of some sky". I have to say it gives interesting imagary.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Messy Room
by Shel Silverstein

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!

This poem is absolutely hilarious. The irony that the author
poses at the end of the poem is a perfect way to end this giant mess that this
room is in. The speaker has this very condescending tone of voice and sounds
almost like a father figure from the beginning. The poem is wild and vivid and
full of images such as the underwear on the lamps and the pants that are
carelessly hung on the door. The poem seems take almost a moral of the story
kind of outlook. Be sure not to judge others because we ourselves may be guilty
of the same crime being committed. In terms of greater themes or tensions in the
poem, I think this poem lacks. But it is a comic relief from the other kinds of
poem that we’ve been reading and writing throughout the quarter.

poem 13 hughes!

Life is Fine
by Langston Hughes

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

I had to laugh when I read the first stanza of this poem. I have known Hughes as a great writer for most of my life, and the voice of this poem seemed so elementary at first. After working my way thorugh it I realized that there was much more to it. The speaker tells about how he tried to kill himself, both in the under water, and in the air, but could not bring himself to do it. He comes to the conclusion, that though life may be hard at times, even if a lost love may cause grief to bare down on you, it is never worth taking your life. Even though it may be a senitive subject, Hughes's writing almost evokes a trite quality to the emotions that are supposedly strong enough for him to comtemplate killing himself. Though in the end, after submerging himself in water and peering over the edge of a tall building, the speaker comes to the conclusion that it would be ridiculous for him to take his own life, now matter how much emotional pain he was in.

poem 12

Going Blind

She sat just like the others at the table.
But on second glance, she seemed to hold her cup
a little differently as she picked it up.
She smiled once. It was almost painful.

And when they finished and it was time to stand
and slowly, as chance selected them, they left
and moved through many rooms (they talked and laughed),
I saw her. She was moving far behind

the others, absorbed, like someone who will soon
have to sing before a large assembly;
upon her eyes, which were radiant with joy,
light played as on the surface of a pool.

She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke

If it weren't for the title of this poem it would be much more difficult to figure out its meaning. Though there is no mention of actually going blind in the poem itself, the act of going blind leads the reader to understanding that this poem is about an elderly person, who is losing many of her physical abilites as she ages. The poem opens with her at a table, showing her in a social stituation (presumably with her family). Though she is like them for the most part, she holds her cup slightly different, showing that she is froma different time, that she is older then them, and differs in some ways. Later, when everyone is walking through the halls, she is following behind, not able to keep up, but the light in her eyes reminds the reader that though her body may bnot be able to move quickly, she still has a lot of life in her, and is not hendered mentally by her inability to act out physically.

Poem 11


As I look at the clock to see the time. Butterflies in my
stomach write the ryhme. Wondering what you might be, boy or
girl the world waits to see. As I see your mother shake I
try to be strong.As she pushes and strains I know it won't
be long. I looked in your mothers eyes and from that moment
on, I would hold her hand forever this feeling will never be
gone. As you make your way out eyes already open. As the
doctor says it's aGirl, My life just began.

John Keats

I can imagine writing a poem about soemthing as emotional as the birth of his child would be extremely easy for a poet, especially one as elegant as Keats. I can not say that I am very impressed with this poem though. The words seem almost generic, there is nothing very special about anything he says. His structuring is interesting though, using rhyme in prose form. It would have gone over better if he had made the poem itself a little more personal.

Beads on the bottle of vinho verde,
a plate of prawns bathed
in a heat of passion,
the fado singer keening softly--
reminding me
how much I still
and always
miss you.

Not that I knew you then,
those weekends spent
with friends
around the bay of Lourenco Marques.
But it seems as though
you were in my genes,
even then,
so long ago--
in another lifetime.
Yvonne van Onselen

Starting out with simple description of artifacts associated with this culture, the little things that remind the speaker of a place she once visited, she thinks nostalgically back on her vacation in Africa with friends. Her language sounds as though she knows the place well, as though it is close to her heart, though she says that when she first went there she knew nothing of the palce. But now, looking back on it she has fond momerories of the place. This poem, in its simplicity shows the importance of memories we associate with a certain place. Even though the speaker had no previous attachment to the country, she felt closer to it in her thoughts after she spent time there, "as though [it was] in her genes".

Sunday, December 04, 2005


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 onto 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.
-Sylvia Plath

This poem has many morbid images, but I do not think that is unusual of Plath. There are images of a dead woman, dead children, and emptiness. I do not understand, but it says in the poem that the woman is perfected after she is dead. Perhaps Plath is talking about the state of her body in her peaceful state. It seems like whatever the woman was trying to do, she accomplished it and so now she is at peace.
The image of a dead child looking like a white serpent is hard to swallow, but I suppose if they are dead, their skin would turn shades to a white tone which would explain the imagery. The last two stanzas are detached from the poem, in that the topic is completely changed. The poem explains about the moon and how it has nothing to be sad about. This poses an interesting question, I interpreted it as someone who is completely detached from the situation would feel no sadness about the events that progressed. On a larger scale, this could be people in the U.S. who see the state of third world countries, but are so far away that they do nothing.

Amplitudes Poem 6 by Alison Croggon

For that it is noble to die of love
Is a wisdom only those who are poor
Can chew down to the core

I like the shortness of this poem. It brings simplicity to an idea that can often be overcomplicated in fairytales. By bringing this firytale idea to a very simple idea it brings a romantic touch to the poem. Almost like that middevial knight in shining armor type love. Something that has been carried over for centuries and centuries. It was even in the film Donnie Darko tonight. Donnie died for a woman that he loved. This is the simpilist form of the poem that has had all sorts of other stories wrapped around it.


Country Stars
by William Meredith

The nearsighted 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.

This poem is very beautifully written. The images of the breath on the windowpane and the image of the city in contrast against the darkness of the nighttime sky are just simply well-expressed. The poem seems to portray these country stars as the saviors and the eyes that watch over the city and the poor, little child. The child seems even more helpless as she is nearsighted and needs the aid of glasses to see clearly. This brings out even a greater need for the stars to watch over the land. The way that this poem is written, it seems like the speaker is almost whispering in the ear of the reader. It seems like the speaker is drawing our attention to a little child in the midst of this vast world and the speaker doesn’t want the child to know and speaking to the reader that all is well because of the stars and such.

Untitled By Pablo Neruda

My life was tinted purple by so much love,
and I veered helter-skelter like a blinded bird
till I reached your window, my friend:
you heard the murmer of a broken heart.

There from the shadows I rose to your breast:
without being or knowing, I flew up the towers of wheat,
I surged to life in your hands,
I rose from the sea to your joy.

No one can reckon what I owe you, Love,
what I owe you is lucid, it is like a root
from Arauco, what I owe you, Love.

Clearly, it is like a star, all that I owe you,
what I owe you is like a well in a wilderness
where time watches over wandering lightning.

I think that what draws me to Pablo Neruda's "love" poems is that they are so different then any other poems about love that they really stand apart. They are a lot more interesting to read just because they are so non-cliche. Another thing that I like about thi poem is that he is directly talking to love instead of talking about it. It brings different sort of perspectie to the poem. Also, the highlighting of the word love draws attention to the words importance.


by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Threading the palm, a web of little lines
Spells out the lost money, the heart, the head,
The wagging tongues, the sudden deaths, in signs
We would smooth out, like imprints on a bed,

In signs that can't be helped, geese heading south,
In signs read anxiously, like breath that clouds
A mirror held to a barely open mouth,
Like telegrams, the gathering of crowds--

The plane's X in the sky, spelling disaster:
Before the whistle and hit, a tracer flare;
Before rubble, a hairline crack in plaster
And a housefly's panicked scribbling on the air.

This poem is very well written. At first, I was pretty confused about the content of the poem but it sort of came together as I read it a couple of times. The speaker talks about signs in general. There’s no single sign that the speaker focuses on the focus of the poem is the trace of something else A.K.A a sign. The tension in the poem is pretty interesting to look at. At first glance the poem seems kind of chaotic, but then there are a lot of “s” sounds in the poem that aren’t reflective of this idea: spells, sudden, signs, smooth, south, spelling, sky, and scribbling. This “s” sound is not a harsh sound that would bring out the chaotic nature of events that is going on in this poem such as the deaths and crashing airplane, but still this idea of very well portrayed.


One Heart
by Li-Young Lee

Look at the bird. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings

was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

This poem is so crazy. At first glance it seems that the main event of the poem is the bird, then perhaps the wings, and then again freedom, then the one heart, and then perhaps wings again. The title of the poem is “One Heart”, but I feel that the main idea of the poem is the wings. The wings are what give the “one heart” the “freedom” to fly. It is “fastening” itself on to every “falling thing”. This poem is very well written. The structure of the poem is quite interesting. The poem can be read in different ways and the punctuation helps the poems move or stop. But when read from period to period the poem flows beautifully through its awkwardly-shaped stanzas.


Spider Crystal Ascension
by Charles Wright

The Spider, juiced crystal and Milky Way, drifts on his web through the night sky
And looks down, waiting for us to ascend...
At dawn he is still there, invisible, short of breath, mending his net.
All morning we look for the white face to rise from the lake like a tiny star.
And when it does, we lie back in our watery hair and rock.

This poem has a very calm tone to it. The author uses words like crystal, Milky, drifts, ascend, dawn, invisible, white, lie and brings together an almost majestic tone. These words draw out slow movement and almost a celestial presence of the spider. This poem is very much an animal poem, or insect poem in this case, and is written quite simply about a spider. The spider is the main event of the poem and its emphasis is felt by being capitalized. Some questions I have about the poem are about the ending. I am unsure of what is going on about the lake and the white face and such. I suppose that the lake could be literal and that the speaker talks about lying in the water and letting the ripples rock the body, but overall it’s a bit hard to understand. Nevertheless, I like the beautiful wording and its portrayal of the majestic spider.

the sonnet-ballad by Gwendolyn Brooks

the sonnet-ballad

Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.
He won't be coming back here any more.
Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew
When he went walking grandly out that door
That my sweet love would have to be untrue.
Would have to be untrue. Would have to court
Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange
Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)
Can make a hard man hesitate--and change.
And he will be the one to stammer, "Yes."
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?

Gwendolyn Brooks

This poem is about the narrator's lover going off to war and dying. She asks her mother where happiness is, which is a way of asking how she is supposed to be happy now that her true love is dead. She personifies happiness as though it were a tangible noun. She also personifies death by describing it as a though it were a seductive woman, who took her man away from narrator. She also describes her heart as an "empty heart-cup", creating an image that her heart has been drained, and is now empty. She is obviously very upset over the death of her husband or lover, and so she asks her mother that impossible question, one she doesn't really expect an answer for. In this poem I imagine the speaker as completely overcome with emotion and slightly hysterically. The image I get is that the speaker might not even be talking to anyone- her mother being deceased. I just pictured the most desperate woman when I read this poem, so much that she might have gone a little insane.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Billy Collins

I thought this poem was hilarious. The title first caught my eye. The poem is about a neighbor's annoying dog that barks uncontrollably everytime they leave the house. The imagery the author uses of the dog being a member of an orchestra is great. I pictured the dog in a suit and a little bowtie, even though nothing of the sort is mentioned. He describes the dog as performing a barking dog solo as though beethoven had written a part in his symphony for a barking dog. The author uses repetition twice-once in the first line of the first two stanzas, and the also in a line where he repeats the word "barking" three times. The ongoing image used throughout the poem is one of the dog being part of the symphony. The author describes the dog as being switched on by the neighbors as though the dog were put there just to annoy the author. The perfect touch has to be the title, which isn't mentioned anywhere in the poem, but has to do with what the author is feeling. Obviously the author has a great sense of humor, and he wants to let the reader know that he would be tempted to kill the annoying dog if he had a gun closeby.

Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes

Hawk Roosting

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.

Ted Hughes

Reading this poem made me think of the animal poem assignment that we had to do. This would have been a great poem to plagiarize(jk). What's great about this poem is that I disregarded the title the first time I read it through and it made no sense to me. Even the clues he gives throughout the poem to hint to the reader that it is about a bird didn't really help me. He refers to a hooked head, hooked feet, feathers, and sitting on top of a tree. I really like how he describes how the hawk thinks in terms of kills and killing. That is probably what they actually think about, just where they'll get thier next kill and meal. I really liked this poem because it made it seem like all the hawk thinks about every second of the day is killing, when it is most likely just acting on instinct rather than thinking about anything. But the way this poem portrays the hawks intention makes the hawk seem like a bloodthirsty villian who is more concerned about the killing than eating for survival.

"Why do I love" You, Sir? by Emily Dickenson

"Why do I love" You, Sir?

"Why do I love" You, Sir?
The Wind does not require the Grass
To answer—Wherefore when He pass
She cannot keep Her place.

Because He knows—and
Do not You—
And We know not—
Enough for Us
The Wisdom it be so—

The Lightning—never asked an Eye
Wherefore it shut—when He was by—
Because He knows it cannot speak—
And reasons not contained—
—Of Talk—
There be—preferred by Daintier Folk—

The Sunrise—Sire—compelleth Me—
Because He's Sunrise—and I see—
I love Thee—

Emily Dickinson

This was a very interesting poem to read. I'm not quite sure what the author is trying to say but from the last line I'm guessing this is a love poem. It was hard to follow this poem because of the unusual syntax and seemingly abitrary use of hyphens. When she refers to the relationship between the wind and the grass, I think she is using that as a comparison to the relationship between the couple. The relationship between the grass and wind is something that just happens naturally, and it is unpreventable, just as the love between the two people being discussed. I think she also considers him to be the wind that moves her. As for the lightning and the eye comparison, I think she is using that pair in the same way as the other example, where the eye will blink or shut without choice at the sight of lightning.

Last Night I Dreamed of Chicken

Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see...
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.

Jack Prelutsky

I think this poem doesn't really have much meaning behind it. It is meant to be amusing and funny. The author is describing a dream where massive amounts of chickens are running around his room and bed. He describes the enormous number of chickens using repetition at the beginning of every line. He starts off most of the lines using "they were" in order portray just how many chickens there were in his dream. He also uses repetition in the line "there were chickens, chickens, chicken. We find out however, that the chickens might not have just been a figment of the author's imagination because in the last line, he reveals that were eggs on top of him. This was very amusing to me and I thought it was pretty cute. I liked how the entire poem built up to that last line. The reader is supposed to be buying into this crazy dream being narrated by the author and finally we find out that it wasn't a dream at all. It was also clever how he revealed this to the reader in the final line. He uses eggs, and not feathers or an actual chicken because they were already used in the narration of the dream.

i carry your heart with me by ee cummings

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

I think this poem is beautifully written and it just moved me. It is most likely written for a lover but holds meaning for anyone that is dearly loved like a family member. I like how the author starts off with "I carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)" and finishes with pretty much the same line, tying the poem neatly together. The author is basically saying that the person is his or her soulmate, and that they are always with the author, because they are almost the same person, or at least they are two parts of one single entity. The juxtaposition of his words make them more meaningful, such as when he follows every statement about himself with another about how his lover is somehow connected to him.

Friday, December 02, 2005


A Riff of Zoloft
by: Susan Snively

The bug is on the outside of the glass.
The water in the glass is sparkling clean.
Drink up, and all your miseries will pass.

A search for symbolism can harass
a simple thing beyond its power to mean.
The bug is on the outside of the glass,

its journey to your bedside from the grass
nothing that it or you could have foreseen.
Drink up, and all your miseries will pass

through peristalsis into the morass
of ordinary nuisances. Routine
is science by another name, alas.

It takes strict observation to surpass
the paranoiac ghost in the machine.
Between each neuron hovers a crevasse

(Auden's cracked teacup as a demitasse)
good pharmaceuticals can contravene.
The bug is on the outside of the glass.
Drink up, and all your miseries will pass.

I really like the way this poem uses repetition. I have tried to use this method in writing my own poems and it just doesn't come out very well. This author however uses this method to subtly and obviously emphasize certain phrases at the same time. I say subtle because the placements of the phrases are seemingly random but actually very strategic (not always the first or last line of the poem). I say obviously because they are obviously repeated. The poem itself reminds me of the object poem that we wrote in class. The author seems to take a simple thing as a cup of water and turn it into this beautiful poem. This idea of a simple cup and the use of repetition sort of work together to give this poem a very clever kind of ring to it. Two phrases are repeated throughout and they come together at the last two lines of the poem. This effect kind of gives the poem a light and “told you so” kind of feeling. Like this is what the poem was trying to say simply all along.

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.


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
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

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.