Monday, October 31, 2005


by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Threading the palm, a web of little lines
Spells out the lost money, the heart, the head,
The wagging tounges, 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 reminds me so much of everyday happenings and how people reconcile with themselves that the unthinkable happened because of this sign or because of that sign. People use the phrase, "It's a sign!" so often that its become cliche. The examples that Schnackenberg gives are such typical methods in which people try to "read" the signs. I really liked how she described palm reading without ever having to use the word "read". Honestly, at first I thought that she was talking about a palm tree, but then I figured out all the "little lines" and the spelling that was being written about. I find it so true that we people not only see signs, but we LOOK for signs and I think that that is ultimately why we find them. And by looking for and finding these signs, I feel that we somehow want to guilt trip or pride ourselves into thinking that we knew what happened was going to happen. Schnackenberg does such an excellent job telling of the reading into signs simply through a series of sign examples.

For Friendship

For Friendship
by Robert Creeley

For friendship
make a chain that holds,
to be bound to
others, two by two,

a walk, a garland,
handed by hands
that cannot move
unless they hold.

This poem reminded me a lot of our class' discussion of line breaks last thursday. I had to read this poem through several times before I realized that it was a description of friendship through various illustrations (ie. a walk, a garland, two by two...). Friendship is one of those topics that doesn't seem uncommon, but at the same time, people never get tired of reading about it. I liked how Creeley used metaphors that all "linked" to one another (no pun intended). The symbolism is deep in so many different ways. I feel that Creeley was trying to show that friendship is strong and unbreakable (a chain that holds), sacred and made by some higher authority - be it God or whomever (to be bound to others, like marriage), equal with partnership (two by two), a journey with changing scenery (a walk), something beautiful (a garland), giving and taking on both ends - from both friends (handed by hands that cannot move unless they hold). The line breaks, perhaps intended, maybe not, but I think that they made an illustrative difference. If you look at the first stanza and then at the second stanza, you'll see that the first has a rather jagged shape, whereas the second has a little bit more solid, consistent shape. Maybe Creeley meant to make the shape of his poem that way to further illustrate how friendships takes work and endurance through the ups and downs to get to the straighter parts of the path (walk).

The Rescue by Robert Creeley

The Rescue

The man sits in a timelessness
with the horse under him in time
to a movement of legs and hooves
upon a timeless sand.

Distance comes in from the foreground
present in the picture as time
he reads outward from
and comes from that beginning.

A wind blows in
and out and all about the man
as the horse ran
and runs to come in time.

A house is burning in the sand.
A man and horse are burning.
The wind is burning.
They are running to arrive.

When this poem begins, I see an almost cinematic effect playing out. In my mind i see the man static in the center of the frame riding horseback. The horse's legs are scrambling across the scenery, and we can see the scenery and background whooshing by behind the static profile of the man, upon a timeless sand. As the poem procedes, the image somewhat flips. When the idea of a fire or burning enters into the scene, the whole image is changed. This is, after all, the rescue. Or the attempt at it atleast. This poem is short, yet paints pretty vividly upon the mind. The line structure is pretty much end-stopped. I like the way it is contrasted between the first and last stanza, starting with the man and the horse, and returning at the end to the man and the horse, in a much different scene than the one in which we started in. There was a hint of what was to come with the 'timeless sand' but one could not take note of that if they do not know where the story will go. I thought this was an interesting poem.

Five Dawn Skies in November by David Wagoner


At the roots of clouds a cutworm hollowing
The night, its eyes moonblind.


On the sheen of a lake the moment before wind,
Before rain, a loon floating asleep.


As smoothly blurred as (seen through water) a marten
Rippling among marshgrass.


Deepening into winter, a bear at her burrow
At first light on the first light snow.


A salmon stranded on stones, its mouth still opening
And closing toward the river.

I chose to post this poem because it deals with a similar form to what we were looking at in class. Much in the manner of the blackbird poem, Five Dawn Skies in November goes to tell short characteristics of each of the five dawn skies. and telling a brief story of what is going on in the scene as dawn approaches on these November mornings. I find it interesting that the dawn itself is only a small part of the action, the focus is what is going on in nature as dawn is approaching. This poem has a very tranquil, naturalistic tone to it. It is slow moving like the rising sun, and each short stanza relating to each dawn gives us a short,yet rather vivid description of the events which occur. Wagoner wrote this poem so as to put a set of unmistakable visual images into the reader's head as he reads the poem. I really like the way the peacefulness of nature at the break of dawn is portrayed in this poem.

week 6 post 2

Deborah Ager

Over the fence, the dead settle
in for a journey. Nine o'clock.
You are alone for the first time
today. Boys asleep. Husband out.

A beer bottle sweats in your hand,
and sea lavender clogs the air
with perfume. Think of yourself.
Your arms rest with nothing to do

after weeks spent attending to others.
Your thoughts turn to whether
butter will last the week, how much
longer the car can run on its partial tank of gas.

This poem seems to be the thoughts at the end of a day of a typical housewife. She likes the solitude that she has at night because all day she is busy attending to her husband and sons. Though this poem is short and straightforward there are hidden meanings about her life throughout it. She might be telling the reader that she is having problems with her marriage because her husband is out at 9pm. Why is the beer bottle sweating in her hand? Is she worried or tense about something? I also noticed where the line breaks were in this poem. It would have been very easy for her to make the line breaks where there was a punctuation; it would have made the poem easier to read. She even ends one of the stanzas in the middle of a sentence. The way that the lines breaks have been done makes the poem awkward and takes the reader a longer time to read it. I think that she did this because otherwise it would be really easy to skim through the poem, but this way makes the reader understand the meaning of each line better.

week 6 post 1

Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I really loved this poem because it is so inspirational. It is nice to hear someone say for once that they feel attractive without trying and just being themselves. Throughout our day we are faced with constant advertising images telling us to change ourselves, to wear this and do that so that people will be more attracted to us. In this poem Maya Angelou goes against the stereotypes of what a beautiful woman is and yet she is attractive enough to make other women jealous. The line breaks make this poem an even greater one. After she says “I say,” in each stanza she lists out the ways that she believes makes her attractive. When she does this, the lists are short and easy to read. The line breaks are done with correct punctuation and also each line break starts a new thought. All these techniques makes this poem easy to understand and easier to read.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Coming to This

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 food 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.
-mark strand

This poem has an underlying tone of bitterness and for some reason reminds me of a time in the Great Depression. The characters in the poem have to do their jobs and dispose of their dreams and even though in the poem it says prefer, I think it is forced. "We have welcomed grief," shows that times are hard for the people in the poem. The habit that is talked about in the poem seems like a state of going to work, coming home, eating dinner, and going to sleep. The habit is unbeatable, because there is nothing better and although their existence is not wonderful it is still an existence. "Coming to this has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away," the couple in the poem seem melancholic with their state and are not about to do anything to get out of their situation, simply becuase they cannnot. After reading this poem I am left feeling sorry for whoever the poem is about.

A Cat/A Future by Kay Ryan

A cat can draw
the blinds
behind her eyes
whenever she
decides. Nothing
alters in the stare
itself but she's
not there. Likewise
a future can occlude:
still sitting there,
doing nothing rude.

I chose this poem because I thought it paralleled the poem we analyzed in class and is a good example of line breaks bringing attention to seemingly mundane things. I feel like this poem's tone isn't specific to one feeling. I get serenity, seriousness, neutralness, creepy feelings, but at the same time, peaceful. The line breaks are nice because I feel they are in places where it leaves the reader hanging and creates a lot of tension. This is, oh gosh, I think I forget the term...injambment. I hope I spelled that right. I like how the poem focuses on such a specific thing- a cat's inner eyelids and makes it the attention of her poem. It drew me into how interesting it is that a cat can be staring the same but seeing something completely different. I also like the idea of the cat not being present on the inside while nothing changes on the outside.

Mirage Oases

First among places
susceptible to trespass
are mirage oases

whose graduated pools
and shaded grasses, palms
and speckled fishes give
before the lightest pressure
and are wrecked.

For they live
only in the kingdom
of suspended wishes,
thrive only at our pleasure
Kay Ryan

I first read this poem quickly and did not get the meaning. After reading it two more times, this is my interpretation of the poem. I think the poem is about the daydreams that everyone has. By trespassing on, "mirage oases," I think the author is talking about before people actually do wrong, they think about it first. For example, when people commit a crime, they plan it before they actually do it and that is the trespassing part.
I just read the poem again, and my first interpretation may be completely wrong. Perhaps the author of the poem is writing about a much more innocent subject. Maybe the trespassing she is referring to is simply going from a state of reality to an imaginary state. The crossing over would be the part of trespassing. When she writes, "thrive only at our pleasure checked," I think this means that we can imagine all we want and that the dreaming only stops when we want it to.

Week 5 Post 2

Broken Clock
By: Catherine Barnett

At the hour of astrinomical twilight
when all stars are visible to the searching eye

you say it's morning,
your traunt hands shaken and blue,

ungoverned by the weight on the weightless line
that keeps your time.

How you lie and cry
your prodigal hours,

that ditchy cluck starting up again
pretending happiness! joy!

This poem is very moving and by knowing nothing about the author you can still feel the great sorrow of this poem. The author uses such simple words, but a strong image of one who has lost much is created and a great tone of mourning is felt. The discussion of traunt hands that just give you that feel of a disaster. Whenever you get hurt, or whenever your loved ones get hurt, the shaking of the hands is almost natural. And the talk of how the person in the poem just lies there and cries realy gets to you. The last part of the poem is the most relavent to me though. I can relate to it so much, and I bet most others can as well because we all tend to hide the emotions that we feel inside. Putting on an exterior of joy so that others will not worry about you. Again, the word that are used are not complex or hard to understand. The message that the author wants to get across is right in fornt of the readers face. Thats why this poem is powerfull though, there is no hidden problems, no trying to figure out whats going on. Just a simple, but powerful, depiction of a perosn in sorrow, in such a state because of a loss of something. This is a poem all can relate to because everyone has lost at least one thing important in life.

Week 5 post 1

Ninth Birthday for Coriander
By: Catherine Barnett

On rainy days like this how empty the park is.
We push the seeds a quarter of an inch down,
two per inch. They're round and black,
like water beads on glass,
and they like cool weather,
garaunteed to bolt slowly when they do.
Were we to bite into one,
it would at first taste bitter,
then like wine or soap burn our tongues.
We stand under the apple trees,
the only gardeners out on a day like this,
unseasonably cold for late August,
and the harder it rains the better we feel.

This poem, titled ninth birthday, is a very touching poem. Its kind of corny, but the images and the story of this poem make even the hardest of hearts want to cry...but not really. The beginning line of the poem sets a gloomy mood that continues throughout the poem. A rainy day with an empty park, this image sets the readers for a sad poem to come. The speaker of this poem uses the word we to describe the actions that take place in the poem. Although the truth of the matter is that there is no we. The speaker is the only one really there and readers find this out when the speaker quotes, "were we to bite into one...". This is in the middle of the poem and allows readers to realize that the speaker is speaking of something that could have happened. The speaker is discussing what could have occured if the "missing person" were there. Knowing that this poem is dedicated to the authors dead neice things start to make sense. The author discusses a scen where her and her neice would be great gardeners on a rainy day. Planting apple seeds and biting into them. The poem is broken up into step by step events and the first half, although a little gloomy, seep perfectly normal. The second half, after realizing that the "we" is really a "me" makes the tone a bit more saddened and lonely. the gloomy mood is the perfect backdrop to this and the image of the last poem brings these sad feelings togeather. The more it rains the better we feel. This last line makes you think that maby the speaker just feels better in the rain alone trying to forget everything.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Week 5 Post 2

Pitch and Black Lift
By: Catherine Barnett

Where my father's hip was rejoined
his leg lost an inch or two

His right shoe is a ladder,
a shadow under him,

a hearse of black rubber he can't escape.
He stands before the shoemaker

in his old bare feet
shaking off sadness,

a boy shaking pebbles out of his shoe.

The tone of this poem is sad and dark. The speaker tells of her father's life left over. He had a hip rejoined, probably meaning surgery and that made his leg a little shorter than before. She is discussing the ordeals that her father go through now after that dramatic event. He goes to the shoe store and has to stand there in front of the shoemaker and face the pain and sorrow of what he is left of. The images in this poem are ghastly almost, as if predicting that the man has little time left in his life. "A hearse of black rubber he can't escape." She describe the shoe as a hearse, making it seem like the man is barely making it through and is not enjoying what is left. The last few lines describe his feelings more than what she percieves of him. "His old bare feet shaking off sadness" She pulls the effect of this line by ending it half way and starting the rest on the next line. She compares the man to a boy shaking pebbles out of his shoe. It makes the man sound childish and innocent. When you get something stuck in your shoe, you stop and take it off to get the stuff out. The man is essentially doing the same thing except with his sadness. A metaphor for what he feels.

Eyes Fastened with Pins by Charles Simic

Eyes Fastened with Pins
By: Charles Siminc

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing deaths laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death's supper table.
The Neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting in the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
someone with a bad cough,
But the address somehow wrong,
Even death can't figure it out
among all the locked doors...
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death's side of the bed.

I love this poem, although grim, it is still well written. The poet personifies death, giving it personal characteristics, giving it life. The poem proceeds to go through the life of death, from misfortunes to bad luck with weather. It gives us the illusion that even death is apart of our daily lives. It is with us at work, at home, on our way home it is all around us. It is a natural part of our lives, "undressing slowly, sleepily, and stretching naked on death's side of the bed" is a great line from this poem. It is ironic how death is giving life in this poem, it is given emotions and a "normal" life as well perceive it to be. The poet is almost trying to make us more familiar and unafraid of death.

The Drowned Children by Louise Gluck

The Drowned Children
By: Louise Gluck

You see, they have no judgment.
So it is natural that they should drown,
first the ice taking them in
and then, all winter, their wool scarves
floating behind them as they sink
until at last they are quiet.
And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms.

But death must come to them differently,
so close to the beginning.
As though they had always been
blind and weightless. Therefore the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth that covered the table,
their bodies.

And yet they hear the names they used
like lures slipping over the pond:
What are you waiting for
come home, come home, lost
in the waters, blue and permanent.

This poem although truly very sad is also filled with great emotion, great description. The poem is almost a short story about the loss of a child, a loss of a loved one. The little child in this story drowns in the lake, step by step. The poet gives him the vivid insight into the death of a child. The end of the poem, "what are you waiting for, come home, come home, lost in the water, blue and permanent" captures the death but also revival of the child's memory by the calling at the end. This poem is written from an outsider standing on the sidelines as this is going on, as in the bystander is watching the child drown without intervening. It makes it almost too calm, to serene in this poem almost too indifferent.

XIX Lilent Noon by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,--
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-search'd growths the dragon-fiy
Hangs like a blue thread loosen'd from the sky:--
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companion'd inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.

I like this poem becuase of its vivid descriptions and its complex form. In the second line there is a personification of the fingers that "look," probably because it is too dark for their eyes too see. The ryhme scheme of the first stanza is abbaacca, then the last stanza is: aabccb and the poem has a pentameter rhythm, so it is lyrical and flowing. There is some serene imagery of a quite night of emptiness, and nothing happening for a while. It is very beautiful until the second stanza where it gets a little weird. I'm not sure what a dragon-fiy is, but I think it means dragon fly. And for some reason, it falls and lands in front of the two lovers in the middle of nowhere. I think it is very weird that they think it is somehow romantic.

Men Mind No State In Sickness by Robert Herrick

That flow of gallants which approach
To kiss thy hand from out the coach;
That fleet of lackeys which do run
Before thy swift postilion;
Those strong-hoof'd mules, which we behold
Rein'd in with purple, pearl, and gold,
And shed with silver, prove to be
The drawers of the axle-tree;
Thy wife, thy children, and the state
Of Persian looms and antique plate:
--All these, and more, shall then afford
No joy to thee, their sickly lord.

I decided to write about this poem because I am not sure what it means. The poem has a lot of descriptions about everything but the subject, until the last line. It seems like it is from around the 17th century when people had coaches and lackeys (a male servant, according to the dictionary). At first, I thought this poem was about a woman, since men would come to kiss her hand. Reading on, I realized that it is about a noble man, who is probably part of royalty (I got this from the mules with royal colors). This person is so rich that his coach's axle-tree is decorated with the royal colors and precious stones. The speaker describes the subject's wife and children as being picture perfect. I think that the last couple lines say that all the things that this king has does not bring him any joy, hence being sickly. From the tittle, I'm guessing that he does not mind being unhappy, although he has everything.

Friday, October 28, 2005

week 5 post`1

What the Naked Eye Looks for but Cannot Find
By: Catherine Barnett

Why ask her to wake?
So she can look into the sky at what?
The stars keep her company but niggardly so.
She watches them as they fall, pointing out
the tiny invisibles of black
where stars have been named for her girls
who can't be seen with the naked eye
though we all pretend to follow the map she draws
into the cloak of holes.

The poem starts with a question and it seems like a pitiful situation. The speaker asks why wake the woman if all she can do is look into the stars and find little comfort there. The stars are named for the girls that died and cannot be seen. This poem all in all sounds very depressing. The woman in the poem has lost her children and all she does now when she is awake is live in this dreamy state. A state where she can still see her kids when she looks up at the night sky. It has such a sad and pitiful tone. The words emphasize how lonely it is and how in disillusionment the woman in the story is. She can only find comfort in something that no one else can see. Only through her eyes can she see her kids up in the night sky. It has such a deep dramatic effect on the reader. It makes the reader feel the pain the woman goes through and understand for her. The bond she shares with her kids make it so that only she can see them when they are not really there. The images the speaker draws using words such as holes and "invisible blacks" it intensifies the despair and the darkness in the world of the woman. A dreamy dark state where no one can touch her. The question in the beginning is more like a rhetorical question. Because the answer is given in the next lines. The woman is asleep and at peace with herself and the rest of the world, but if she wakes up all she will do is look more longingly at the night sky to get in touch with her kids.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Coming to This by Mark Strand

P. 382

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

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

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

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

The Drowned Children by Louise Gluck


You see, they have no judgment.
So it is natural that they should drown,
first the ice taking them in
and then, all winter, their wool scarves
floating behind them as they sink
until at last they are quiet.
And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms.

But death must come to them differently,
so close to the beginning.
As though they had always been
blind and weightless. Therefore
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth that covered the table,
their bodies.

And yet they hear the names they used
like lures slipping over the pond:
What are you waiting for
come home, come home, lost
in the waters, blue and permanent.

Overall, the poem brings a sense and tone of dreariness. When just reading the title alone of the poem, one can tell that the poem is going to be about something sad and depressing. In a way, the title defines the poem in how it is going to be analyzed and read. The word "drowned" kind of shows that it's going to be kind of a lonely and gloomy poem. The whole poem is just simply kind of dreary because of the diction the speaker chooses to use. Words such as "sink" and "dark" show that the poem still has a dark feeling amongst it. As the poem talks about drowning children, the process of what they go through and the emotions that they experience, it kind of brings a surreal idea into the reader's mind. The thought of drowning children never really crosses one's mind until one truely experiences it or knows someone who has gone through it. I know that there are instances everyday where children drown in pools or the ocean, but it just seems like a topic that isn't spoken about that often. This poem brings out a real life experience and it kind of seems as if the speaker is trying to show others and let them know what this experience is about. The first line of the poem, "you see, they have no judgment," kind of throws off the poem a bit, however, it kind of shows that the kids are kind of innocent. These children that drown are just so innocent and they don't really know anything, yet they still drown, therefore showing that this poem contains once again a sad atmosphere.
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident

the art of losing's not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

There are so many parts of our lives that we give great importance that don't really mean anything in the long run. We get so caught up in our daily lives we forget what is really important. Bishop goes into the little things, and the big things, from losing keys to losing your home. She doesn’t discuss what she actually considers to be important, but merely how most of the things we hold closest to us are meaningless. And in the end it isn’t difficult to lose them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Watermelons by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

This poem just tickles me. It makes me feel inexplicably happy when I read it because even thought the content, (if you think about spitting out someone else's teeth) is kind of grotesque, but the imagery somehow has the opposite effect on me and is quite pleasing. I really actually appreciate how the poet titled this poem "Watermelons" to just let the reader know what it is he's talking about. Sometimes it's fun to figure out more cryptic poems, and I think the close reader could figure out that the poet was talking about watermelons without reading the title, but I can just instantly enjoy the poem this way with the title being "Watermelons." I think this poem has such a positive effect on me because in such few words, I can see the images of Watermelons being peaceful centers of happiness, and when we eat them, we can possibly gain that enlightment as well.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The World Doesn't End

The World Doesn't End
By: Charles Simic

We were so poor I had to take the place of the
bait in the mousetrap. All alone in the cellar, I
could hear them pacing upstairs, tossing and turn-
ing in their beds. " These are dark and evil days,"
the mouse told me as he nibbled in my ear. Years
passed. My mother wore a cat- fur collar which
she stroked until its sparks lit up the cellar.


The stone is a mirror which works poorly.
Nothing in it but dimness. Your dimness or its dim-
ness, who's to say? In the hush your heart sounds
like a black cricket.

This line caught me by the first line. It is such a vivid scene with obscene details and descriptions. The poem is confusing in the beginning as it starts out with the speaker being in the basement, trapped. The port shows absolute despare and raw human emotion. It contradicts the poor, desperate beginning with the image of the mother and her "cat" fur coat which is a symbol of wealth and influence. The rat in this poem seems to have the upper hand in this situation or the control, almost as if the rat is more worthy than the speaker. I find this poem to confusing yet very powerful.
Winter Field by Ellen Bryant Voigt

The winter field is not
the field of summer lost in snow: it is
another thing, a different thing.

"We shouted, we shook you," you tell me,
but there was no sound, no face, no fear, only
oblivion-why shouldn't it be so?

After they'd pierced a vien and fished me up,
after they'd reeled me back they packed me under
blanket on top of blanket, I trembled so.

The summer field, sun-fed, mutable,
has its many tasks; the winter field
becomes its adjective.
For those hours
I was some other thing, and my body,
which you have long loved well,
did not love you.

Going along with the theme of winter/ gloomy poems, I thought this one suted well. The poem is very strange but talks about a person who fell in the ice. This is like my last poem except the speaker survives the incident. The speaker talks about a winter field and how it is not just the same field as summer was with the addition of snow, but something more. The speaker then goes on to describe the events that happened as the speaker was "fished up.." out of the water and "trembled so." The depiction of this event shows the harsh reality of winter. The speaker first showed joy for this fantastic place of snow and mystery. but after the "oblivion..." and after someone or many people fished the speaker up out of the frigid ice water and packed "blanket upon blanket.." on the tone of the poem changes. This place that the speaker once revered as has become "some other thing..." for the hours that the speaker endured. The last line of the poem state that the speakers body "which you have long loved well, did not love you." The alst part shows a contrast as to haw easily on can change moods when put in a life or death situation. Field which had taken care of this person and which the speaker loved was not loved at all by the speaker the moment something bad happened. This poem brings to life the uncontrolability of nature. it is beautiful, it does take care of us, but it can harm us as well.
The Drowned Children by: Louise Gluck

You see, they have no judgment.
So it is natural they should drown,
first the ice taking them in
and then, all winter, their wool scarves
floating behind them as they sink
until at last they are quiet.
And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms.

But death must come to them differently,
so close to the beginning.
As though they had always been
blind and weightless. Therefore
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth that covered the table,
their bodies.

And yet they hear the names they used
like lures slipping over the pond:
What are you waiting for
come home, come home, lost
in the waters, blue and permanent.

This poem talks about death, to be more particular, the death of children by drowning. The author ststes in the first line of this poem that "they" have no judgement. This refers to the fact that in catholisism the age of sin is seven and older (I think). Stating this in the first line allows the speaker to show his side of the story. The author is trying to give a good reason as to why these children had to die, and why they had to die by drowning. It's because they had no judgement by God, that they had to die by drowning. its because they were helpless that they had to die in a helpless way. All thoroughout the poem the author keep trying to explian this tragedy. Its as if he is shocked by the whole experience and doesnt konw what to think any more. The only thing you can do when something disatrous happens is think of possible explenations. Along with that, the author uses imagery to vividly describe the scene the children were in. He ststes words such as "ice taking them in..." and "wool scarves floating behind them as they sink...". These depictions give a great sense of sorrow to the reader. The scene is set up and one can almost feel the sharp chill of the cold those children felt run down the spine. Without really creating a "mushy" kind of poem that talks about crying and feeling sorry for those poor children tha author has created a very gloomy and real event that captivates readers. One can see the pain the author goes through without the author really stating how sad he is. Its a wonderfull peace that really puts death into perspective. It will happen to us all, it is the inevitable outcome of your life. And most important to remember is it can happen to anyone at any time. Death shows no prefrence and kids are up for grabs as well. Its a hard concept to realize but thats life.

I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died by Emily Dickenson

I HEARD a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.

The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnesses in his power.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portions of me I
Could make assignable, -and then
There interposed a fly,

With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.

I found this poem to be both very weird and very interesting. It seems unusual to me to be choosing a fly as the last image that a person is to see when they die. Before the fly the motions that she goes through in describing death are normal the will and the signing away of possessions. Also the tears and the pause that is between them. I think that is was very clever of her to note that pause because though I had experienced it I had never stopped to notice it before. When the speaker of the poem is at last to die there is a fly that causes a pause in that moment of time. The last thing that that person saw and heard was a fly and I was wondering if Emily Dickenson meant for the fly to be symbolic of something, but I am not sure.

The Man Splitting Wood in the Daybreak

The Man Splitting Wood in the Daybreak
By: Galway Kinnell

The man splitting wood in the daybreak
looks strong, as though, if one weakened,
one could turn to him and he would help.
Gus Newland was strong. When he split wood
he struck hard, flashing the bright steel
through air of daybreak so fast rock maple
leapt apart- as they think marriages will
in countries about to institute divorce-
and even willow, which, though stacked
to dry a full year, on separating
actually weeps- totem wood, therefore,
to the married- until- death- miseried asunder
with many small lip- smacking gasp- noises.
But Gus is dead. We could turn to our fathers,
but they protect us only through the unperplexed
looking- back of the numerals cut into their headstones.
Or to our mothers, whose love, so devastated,
can't even in spring, break through the hard earth.
Our spouses weaken at the same rate we do.
We have to hold our children up to lean on them.
Everyone who could help goes or hasn't arrived.
What about the man splitting wood in the daybreak,
who looked strong? That was years ago. That was me.

I didn't get the full effect of this poem till the end. The man splitting word is a metaphor for youth. When we are young we do think that anything can down, and that we are able to achieve the most difficult tasks. This is a reflection of aging, and how age effects the morality. To this poet, life seems to be short and unplanned. That once in his life he was able to fix things, was an object of male power and strength. And now the speaker realizes that as time passes so does his strength, his ability to save others. He understands that now that he is older, the people who he turns to are gone, like his mother and father that have passed. That he soon will be beneath the soil like his parents, and people before him. I like the quote about his children and how people raise children and hope that one day they will be there for them as they were as parents. However this idea seems more idealistic nowadays, people no longer want to care for their parents in old age because of the high demands of life. So often they are placed in retirement homes and visited on Christmas and Mother's Day. I think that is what the poet fears most, being forgotten by the people closets to him the most.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Eros by Louise Gluck

I had drawn my chair to the hotel window, to watch the rain.

I was in a kind of dream or trance-
in love, and yet
I wanted nothing.

It seemed unnecessary to touch you, to see you again.
I wanted only this:
the room, the chair, the sound of the rain falling,
hour after hour, in the warmth of the spring night.

I needed nothing more; I was utterly sated.
My heart had become small; it took very little to fill it.
I watched the rain falling in heavy sheets over the darkened city-

You were not concerned; I could let you
live as you needed to live.

At dawn the rain abated. I did the things
one does in daylight, I acquitted myself,
but I moved like a sleepwalker.

It was enough and it no longer involved you.
A few days in a strange city.
A conversation, the touch of a hand.
And afterward, I took off my wedding ring.

That was what I wanted: to be naked.

I chose this poem because it was very sweet and simple in message without revealing too much of the story behind the words. I'm inferring that the speaker has been through the ending of a meaningful relationship and this is her first time coming to acceptance and embracing a life outside of a couple. The poet does a good job I feel of setting the tone of the poem; I feel very content while reading this poem, and I get a sense that the speaker is empowering herself as she writes this. Even though in the poem she describes how she wants nothing and feels content, it is apparent that she is working/has worked very hard to achieve this state. She consistently mentions the person she is separating herself from, which makes me believe that she is not quite over the old relationship and her embracing her aloneness is a big step for her. Somehow, the way she uses the weather is very effective and not cliche. It's weird because it is a cliche thing to have the rain be pouring down when one is going through troubles and have the sun come out when you feel whole again, but she works it in so it sounds natural and goes along with the feeling of the poem. I think this may be because even though she is going through a hard time and then coming out of her rut, (following the pattern of the weather in her poem), she mixes in positive feelings with the rain and neutral feelings (sleepwalker) with the sun. I feel like she is discovering herself in the duration of the poem and finds the conclusion at the end that yes, she is enjoying being by herself and the room she is in, but ultimately, she is enjoying being freed and not having to shield herself ("to be naked").

I guess I should talk about the title as well. Eros, when I looked it up is in Greek Mythology as a playful guy running around able to make humans fall in love- also as the connection between "love" and "war." It is interesting that the poet should choose this as a title for her poem, considering it seems that the poem talks about falling out of love. Or maybe it is that she feels in love with life itself, and in that way, feels that she has been a target of Eros. I'm not sure.

The Colonel by Carolyn Forche

What you have heard is ture. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son whent out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion bside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Braoken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for callig the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes,: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.

Wow. This is quite a substantial poem, not only in length but in subject matter. What I really find interesting about this poem of how shocking it is without really being shocking at all. The writer does not really use much dramatic language, and doesn't even bother to structure this poem in stanzas or line breaks in any way. She simply tells her story. The first half of the poem has so much normal imagery, I think it fools the reader into getting comfortable with what is happening before she mentions how the Colonel drops a whole bunch of ears on the dinner table. There becomes this huge contrast to the simple family life going on inside with the daughter doing her nails and the pets with all the terribleness that is happening outside where there is a war going on and people are being brutally tortured. I feel like if the imagery with the ears to describe the brutality going on outside was dramatized in any way, the poem would lose its powerful effect. The image of human ears spilling onto the dinner table is so intense and terrible as is, that there needs to be nothing else to explain it. I feel like the line "There is no other way to say this" rings true throughout the poem. It's interesting how she even mentions the Colonel saying "something for your poetry, no?" as if he is expecting her to make this a big deal and is expecting her to dramatize this story, but the poem is simple in telling the story, almost as if to outsmart the Colonel in the way she tells it.

The Illiterate

The Illiterate
by William Meredith

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

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

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

The Hangman at Home

The Hangman at Home
by Carl Sandburg

What does a hangman think about
When he goes home at night from work?
When he sits down with his wife and
Children for a cup of coffee and a
Plate of ham and eggs, do they ask
Him if it was a good day's work
And everything went well or do they
Stay off some topics and kill about
The weather, baseball, politics
And the comic strips in the papers
And the movies? Do they look at his
Hands when he reaches for the coffee
Or the ham and eggs? If the little
Ones say, Daddy, play horse, here's
A rope -- does he answer like a joke:
I seen enough rope for today?
Or does his face light up like a
Bonfire of joy and does he say:
It's a good and dandy world we live
'In. And if a white face moon looks
In through a window where a baby girl
Sleeps and the moon-gleams mix with
Baby ears and baby hair -- the hangman --
How does he act then? It must be easy
For him. Anything is easy for a hangman,
I guess.

This poem is really interesting. It just takes a look at an unsual profession, and treats it as normal. It is a given that a hangman is not a typical or desireable profession, but the question nonetheless exists as to whether the individual who supports his family by employing himself with such a dispicable profession does so simply to put food on the table or does so because he is a sick individual. Sandburg takes on an almost comedic tone analyzing the hangman as if he had any other profession, nonetheless, focusing on the unusuality of the profession. It is strange to think of a person who does something so horrific all day long as being an ordinary person, somebody's husband, somebody's father. That's what I like about this poem. It is someone whose job is probably the most horrific job that a person can have, and yet at the end of the day, he comes home to his wife and kids the same as any doctor, lawyer, mailman, or teacher. This poem analyzes how he would be in his personal life and allows us to think about something that ordinarily would never cross many people's minds.


by Richard Wilbur

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this simile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

I really liked how the mind is described through the analogy of a bat's life. The first stanza, I interpreted, was about the perseverance of the mind and how it doesn't give up, nor bound by unseen restrictions. The mind is "playfully" coming up with ideas and throwing them left and right according to a sort of sense of "trial and error". I think that the second stanza is poetically and creatively describing what we know to be "common sense" in the mind. It's so natural, that we aren't consciously thinking about what we don't think about. I know, that sounds a little confusing :) And the third stanza encourages the poet's reader to take from the poem what they want. It's not a piece that's meant to be thought about deeply. Because it's not thought about deeply in our "minds", the meaning of the poem carries out it's validity by our every thought and interpretation of it.

The World Is a Beautiful Place by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The World Is a Beautiful Place
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind some people dying
all the timeor maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn't half bad
if it isn't you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey towith its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs
and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally'living it up'
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

I thought this was a very fun poem even though there is bitter, sarcastic undertone throughout the entire poem. He writes that the world is a great place but then follows it up with all of the negative aspects of life. He is basically critizicing our society. He writes about war, starving children, and our "Name Brand society." Though in the fifth stanza he lists some positive aspects of living, such as"making babies and wearing pants." He lists things like kissing, falling in love, and smelling flowers, and actions using the five senses. However, in one line he writes, "and even thinking," as though it were something people rarely did. I think that he is commenting on all the faults of our society and how we don't even think about them anymore. One of my favorite lines in this poem is" the world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't much mind a few dead minds in the higher places.", basically saying that the people who run this society are not nescessarily the most qualified to do so. In the final stanza which has the list of all the positive aspects of our society, the final lines end with another depressing note. My guess is that he is saying that people never expect the end, so you might as well always be enjoying yourself and "living it up."

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

This poem was most likely inspired by an actual conversation Hughes had with his mother. The poem's message is to basically never give up and don't expect things in life to be handed to you. The mother explains that nothing was ever given to her, and that life was filled with countless challenges. Life is represented as a staircase in this poem, and the mother refers to the more fortunate ones as having crystal stairs. The mother, on the other hand, had stairs filled with splinters and broken boards. Despite the obstacles, the mother explains to her son that he must continue to climb the stairs, and overcome the splinters and broken boards that hinder or impede his progress as his mother has done and continues to do. I think this is a beautiful poem, and reminds me that splinters and broken boards make the journey up the staircase more interesting and satisfying. Perhaps the shape of the poem was meant to symbolize steps as well.

week 5 post 2

She Walks In Beauty like the night
Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

The way the speaker talks about the girl in the poem is very sweet and tender. He gives her the characteristics of night, which can also be dark and harsh, but he brings out the beauty in it. He thinks that this girl has all the characteristics of the night. My favorite parts are “and all that’s best of dark and bright” and “one shade the more, one ray the less” . I feel that in these lines he is describing her face and the shadows in it. I love that he thinks this girl is innocent and her love is pure, that is something that you rarely see in love poems. Though this poem rhymes, for some reason I didn’t realize after reading the poem a few times. I think it is because the reader gets so caught up in the words that they don’t notice the style.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The City in the Sea by Edgar Allen Poe

Lo! Death has reared himselfa throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy heaven come down
On that long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently-
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free-
Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls-
Up fanes- up Babylon- like walls-
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers-
Up many and many a marvelous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye-
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass-
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea-
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave–there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide-
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow-
The hours are breathing faint and low-
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.

Once again I am doing another Poe poem (I just love his stuff). I think that what made this poem capture my attention was the use of descriptive language this world is literally created before you eyes. It shows good use of descriptive detail by using unusual images to create this world. I think that the sea is an interesting location for this underworld place that he has created, because images of heaven are usually in the sky. It is also interesting that he associated this land heaven but this land of the dead is melencholy and he establishes a tone in the first stanza that is traditionally un-heavenlike. I also decided to look back at Annabell Lee another poem of his I have done for this blog, and I found it interesting that there were images of the sea throghout that poem as well. He reapeats over and over in that poem "In the city by the sea" and he also associated images of her death with the sea by placing her coffin by the sea and using phrases such as "nights tide." In poem again the sea is associated with death, and this makes me wonder if this is a recurring theme throughout his poems.

Sonnet XXXIX by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Because thou hast the power and own'st the grace
To look through and behind this mask of me
(Against which years have beat thus blanchingly
With their rains), and behold my soul's true face,
The dim and weary witness of life's race,--
Because thou hast the faith and love to see,
Through that same soul's distracting lethargy,
The patient angel waiting for a place
In the new Heavens,--because nor sin nor woe,
Nor God's infliction, nor death's neighborhood,
Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,
Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,--
Nothing repels thee, . . . Dearest, teach me so
To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good !

I chose a sonnet to write about since I will be reciting Shakespeare on tuesday. This is a nice poem where the speaker seems to be praising a significant other for being able to see the speaker's true character. The language is confusing at points, but I think this is straightforward until the end, where the speaker asks his significant other to teach him gratitude. I think this just means that the speaker cannot thank his "dearest" as much as he would like, and is asking her to use more of her "power" and "grace" to help him. I think Browning chose to write this poem as a sonnet since he was trying to enhance the poem's beauty, but its not very beautiful to begin with. It is mostly about the love she has for the speaker, rather than the speaker's love for her (the way that a typical sonnet is).

Dawn by Rupert Brooke

Opposite me two Germans snore and sweat.
Through sullen swirling gloom we jolt and roar.
We have been here for ever: even yet
A dim watch tells two hours, two aeons, more.
The windows are tight-shut and slimy-wet
With a night's foetor. There are two hours more;
Two hours to dawn and Milan; two hours yet.
Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore. . . .

One of them wakes, and spits, and sleeps again.
The darkness shivers. A wan light through the rain
Strikes on our faces, drawn and white. Somewhere
A new day sprawls; and, inside, the foul air
Is chill, and damp, and fouler than before. . . .
Opposite me two Germans sweat and snore.

I'm not sure why I like this poem. It is an account of a simple experience: riding the train in Europe. It reminds me of trip to Europe; how long the train took, and how there are so many people with different backgrounds. How the trip feels like aeons in a foreign land. The details the speaker decides to mention enhances the sense of awkwardness in the train. It is so quiet, that the speaker notices the awkward movements of the Germans. It makes me wonder why Brooke chose to focus this poem on a couple Germans sleeping on a train, but the amount of focus and detail he puts on them makes this poem interesting. He makes them seem so dark and dirty in the gloomy train. The abab rhyme scheme also makes the poem odd since the speaker breaks the pattern by repeating the last line from the first stanza.

week 5 post 1

My Philosophy of Life
John Ashbery

Just when i thought there wasnt room enough
for another thought in my head, i had this great idea
call it a Philosophy of life if you will. Briefly
it involved living the ways philosophers live,
according to a set of principles. Ok, but which ones?

That was the hardest part, i admit, but i had a
kind of dark foreknowledge of what it would be like
everything from eating watermelon to going to the
or just standing in a subway platform, lost in thought
for a few minutes, or worrying about rain forests...

This poem was really interesting to me because it didn’t even sound like a poem, but rather a short story that was a rambling of whatever was going on inside the speakers head. His subject seems to switch back and forth a few times. He begins talking about his philosophy and he describes it in an interesting way for a few lines and then seems to get side tracked for a while. Then he continues the next stanza beginning about traveling and the weather. He brings a sort of comical relief to the poem when he talks about the public toilets where people have carved things into them. He questions if these are their philosophies after using the toilet. Near the end he admits to writers block and writes his way out of it, in a really talented way. He then returns back to saying that maybe he is not going to adopt this philosophy but live his life the way he has been. He takes us through spiral and at the end we are just at the beginning.

Friday, October 21, 2005

To the River

Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow
Of crystal, wandering water,
Thou art an emblem of the glow
Of beauty the unhiden-heart-
The playfulness 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 arms.
-Edgar Allan Poe

In this poem, the way that Poe uses personification to compare the river to people is really amazing. The beauty of the poem is seen through Poe comparing it to the beauty of a woman. The words flow so nicely, that it would be an amazing poem to hear out loud. Although Poe uses words that could be considerd cliche, like, "wandering water," and, "clear flow," he was probably one of the first words to use these to describe a water.
The impression that I took to be the true meaning of the poem was that Alberto's daughter is the young girl that Poe will later marry in life. He is comparing her beauty to the river in a very positive way, so he must like her quite a bit. I like the positive tone that the poem takes, and we see that Poe can be a very optimistich, bright writer. The alliteration and consonance in the poem really help in the way the poem is heard and how I interpret it.


After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones

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

After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new ones grown

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

The reason why I like this poem is actually because of how many times I read it before I established an opinion about what I think the author is saying. I think the author is talking about growing up as a human, and changing physically, mentally, and emotionally. When the author writes about her hands being cut off, I think she is saying that she is going from playing with dolls to having her own baby. "Something my former hands had longed for cam and asked to be rocked," so when the author was little she longed to have a baby and then she grew up and she had a child. The last two stanzas are about the author as a child crying for someone she saw begging in the street, and then when she grows up that same person is begging her for money.
The aspect that my opinion holds could be completely wrong, but that is why I like this poem. I think there are many different interpretations of this poem that would all be completely believable, and make a good point.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Week 4 Post 2

Part Four: Time and Eternity
By: EMily Dickinson

I WENT to heaven,—
’T was a small town,
Lit with a ruby,
Lathed with down.
Stiller than the fields
At the full dew,
Beautiful as pictures
No man drew.
People like the moth,
Of mechlin, frames,
Duties of gossamer,
And eider names.
Almost contented
I could be
’Mong such unique

This poem describes heaven to a small town. Heaven has different meanings for people. It can be considered as a peaceful serene place and the beauty is so majestic that it's hard to capture. "Beautiful as pictures No man drew." It just means that this place is so picture perfect and incredible that no painting can do it justice. The next few lines the speaker describes the people around the town and she finds them so quaint that she is happy to be around such people but she does not say that she is completely content. "Almost Contented" It means she is almost satisfied. I think in human nature we are always wanting more. We hardly are satisfied with what we have and it's in our nature to want more. The society that the speaker encounters is more than she has seen elsewhere. Heaven is suppose to be like that. It suppose to have such beautiful scenery and such compatible people. So much so that life seems to be perfect. A uphoria. This town is like a dream town, where things we want a town to be is. IT takes itself away from reality. The comparison of a town to heaven makes heaven tangible. You can grasp something like a town, while heaven is almost unreachable.

Week 4 Poem 1

Part Four: Time and Eternity LXVII
By: EMily Dickinson

IF I should die,
And you should live,
And time should gurgle on,
And morn should beam,
And noon should burn,
As it has usual done;
If birds should build as early,
And bees as bustling go,—
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
’T is sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with daisies lie,
That commerce will continue,
And trades as briskly fly.
It makes the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene,
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!

The poem in a way mocks society and the world on how easily once someone dies, they will cease to ever exist. It talks about if she were to die today, everything in the world will continue to go on without her. It makes it seem a little lonely. The first half just explains how things in life will just move on without noticing that she has died, and how her reader will also continue to move on without thought of her death. The morning will come and the noon will continue to pass. It makes death seem light, and that nothing will change once one person dies. It mocks how people live their lives to be extravagant but end up dying and being put aside. The second part of the poem has a change in tone. It seems almost surpise on how things go on. And then it accepts what happens and finds the optimism in dying. "Soul Serene" Some of the words create a very calm and accepting mood to make it seem very placid. Tranquil only adds to the already peaceful death that people will go through. But the last two lines make the picture complete. It makes the whole poem seem to be an orchestra where there are men who conduct what is going on. And life sometimes seem like that, though one side has died and disappeared, the rest of the orchestra will go on and continue to play the melody.
They All Work

As red traffic lights flash green
and headlights shimmer off of
slick streets amidst a storm of
angry car horns,
I cringe, panic stricken,
until I notice the sidewalk.
The sidewalk peers
up at me through a flood
of hydrated workers fleeing
from their nine to five inconveniences,
protecting their weathered brows,
from tiny wet spears with
headlines from the New York Times.
As quickly as it started
the flood dissipates into
calm silence and I observe
the sidewalk, cracked and bruised
from a stampede of Gucci heels
and Oxford soles, and then
for a split second I can relate.

David Dews

Dews uses very little connotative details in this poem. For the most part all of he description of his environment is very factual. He brilliantly relates the flow of traffic and how when we are in our own hurried lives we forget about almost everything else. When he looks over and sees people walking on the sidewalk he has a brief moment of compassion for them. Walking down the dirty sidewalks in their expensive hells, running into each other and pushing their ways through the crowds. But then he goes back into his own world in his car, in traffic. The ironic thing about his poem, which I ‘m sure he meant, is that everyone is in the same place. They are all going through the same thing, trying to get home from work in a busy area. But the speaker distances himself from everyone, with only short-lived breathe of sympathy for those around him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings

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)

This is a beautiful poem about everlasting love. Probably one of the best I’ve ever read. It is unlike the common love poem with its clichés and red roses. Personally Love poetry impacts me more because I could understand it a bit more. In this poem we don’t know anything about the two sides; the speaker or her/his love. We don’t know if its someone that the speaker longs to be with or someone whom he has a relationship with, but yet through the wonderful comparisons that the speaker makes about his love we know for sure that this is true love. “I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart” is trying to explain that he or her have loved this other person to the point where both of their souls have formed one. That everything he does or wherever he is at, his love is also there doing the same. And because of true love, the speaker has no fears and goes on living knowing that his love is there. No matter what happens, his faith is this love. What the speaker use to see as beautiful and unexplainable such as the moonlight and the sun, have more true meaning know that he feels love. All beautiful feelings that the world use to bring became one that is engulfed by his feeling of love.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less is gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

The first two lines of this poem reminde me of a goodnight kiss. As for the rest of the poem I am having trouble figuring out Poe's true meaning for it. I see it as Poe in a literal sense can be talking about a dream, or in a more metaphorical sense he can be talking about the trials of life. If I were to take the more literal sense of the poem as is suggested by "can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp?" that sense when you wake up from a dream and it is taken away from you like the "pitiless wave" does in the poem. I think that a lot of it is comparing life to a dream or the ideal dream that you hope to find in life. There are things that are taken away from you just as dreams slip from you clasp. Either way I think that this is a beautiful poem there is just something about it in the sense that it is hard to figure out Poe's intentions.

The Best Slow Dancer

The Best Slow Dancer
by David Wagoner

Under the sagging clotheslines of crepe paper
By the scond string of teachers and wallflowers
In the school gym across the key through the glitter
Of mirrored light three-second rule forever
Suspended you danced with her the best slow dancer
Who stood on tiptoe who almost wasn't there
In your arms like music she knew just how to answer
The question mark of your spine your hands in hers
The other touching that place between her shoulders
Trembling your countless feet light-footed sure
To move as they wished wherever you might stagger
Without her she turned in time she knew where you were
In time she turned her body into yours
As you moved from thigh to secrets to breast yet never
Where you would be for all time never closer
Than your cheek against her temple her ear just under
Your lips that tried all evening to tell her
You weren't the worst one not the boy whose mother
Had taught him to count to murmer over and over
One slide two slide three slide now no longer
The one in the hallway after class the scuffler
The double clubfoot gawker the mouth breather
With the wrong haircut who would never kiss her
But see her dancing off with someone or other
Older more clever smoother dreamier
Not waving a sister somebody else's partner
Lover while you went floating home through the air
To lie down lighter than air in a moonlit shimmer
Alone to whisper yourself to sleep remember.

This poem is one long sentence. I'm not sure why it does so, but it appears to be one long narrative with incredibly detailed imagery. Attending a school dance is probably something all of you could remember. Wagoner captures the mood and scene perfectly. He contrasts the festive and exciting with the fact that it is a high school gym. I especially like his reference to the "sagging clothesline of crepe paper". This imagery strikes up a chord with nostalgia. The idea of seeing that girl who stands out in the crowd, the one who draws your attention as 'the best slow dancer' is something I can definitely relate to from my earlier days. Another interesting phrase he uses is "the question mark of your spine". When I read this i vividly saw a question mark laid over the spine of an individual with their back curved over resembling the symbol. I really like how Wagoner points out that she's the best but then goes on to point out that he is not the worst, as if to calm and comfort himself. Interesting poem that appeals to nostalgia.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats

O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful-a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked a me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in a language strange she said-
"I love thee true"

She took me on her elfin grot,
And there she wept, and sigh'd fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream'd- Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill's side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death pale were they all;
They cried- "La belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.

And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

What I like is how in the first two stanzas of the poem use images to set this somber heart sick tone. I also like how the poem goes from asking the Knight why he is in this somber state to the knight answering the question. When he described this faery woman I like how he described this woman as having wild eyes. I think that that is foreshadowing of the events to come. Her wild wild eyes are what gives away her true nature. Also the gifts that she gives to him are wild and exotic, so it is like she is this wild creature that cannot be tamed. Also when she says that she loves him I am wondering if that is what she says at all because the language that she speeks in is strange to him. I think that he is just projecting his feelings on to her and also thinking that what he says to her is said back to him. When he gets lulled into this dream and abandoned by her I think that it is interesting that he finds many more people that have fallen for her and that they are all people of power kings and princes and that she seems to have taken the life out of him. And that is why she is called the beautiful woman without mercy.

mirage oases

Mirage Oases by Kay Ryan pg 531

First among places
susceptible to trespass
are mirage oases

whose graduated pools
and shaded grasses, palms
and speckled fishes give
before the lightest pressure
and are wrecked.

For they live
only in kingdom
of suspended wishes,

thrive only at our pleasure

This poem is basically giving us a wonderful way of thinking about a mirage. Mirages are an extreme representation of earth’s finest sceneries that occur when one is enduring an extremely dreadful situation. Kay Ryan describes it as the “first”. I interpreted this as mirages being formed somewhere inside our heads from the moment we are vulnerable. From the first thought of wish, for example, when crossing a desert with no water, the first thought of their being no water sparks the process of the mirage being formed. In the second stanza Ryan uses a very descriptive form of referring to mirages which gives the poem its feel. The palms and shaded grasses are universal to everybody’s exotic desires of places that we wish we were. Yet “they live…kingdom of suspended wishes” a place behind our reality, not because it can’t be real but because is very special. So a mirage is formed when our reality is no longer livable so our wishes form themselves and are easily destroyed with any awareness of reality. Ryan uses imagery here when he writes “give before the lightest pressure”, almost as if the mirage remained under all of our memory and mindset holding these up. So the Mirage will survive a long as our pleasure is satisfied and nothing else, like what’s real at the time, come across us.

Mind by Richard Wilbur

P. 129

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstables are there.
And so may weave and flitter, dip, and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this smile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bad. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

I enjoyed reading this poem as well as thinking about what this poem could possibly be about. The first time I read the poem, I was quite confused with its meaning and couldn't really comprehend what it was trying to say. After reading the poem a couple of times after that, I began to understand the poem a little bit more, however truthfully, I can say that I don't know the full explanation. To my understanding, the speaker compares the "mind" to a bat, the animal. In a way, that seems comparable because the bat is a creature who has great skills and who are able to see in the dark, kind of like how the mind can search through the darkest places of yourself. When the speaker says "purest play" in the first line, I see it as referencing to a mind that is innocent and not corrupted, kind of like a child's mind. I believe that the speaker in comparing the mind to a bat is trying to prove the point that the mind acts like the bat in the sense that it doesn't need to explore in the dark, it kind of just knows its way around. In other words, a mind has a mind of its own. It doesn't have any guidance or direction, it simply just does what it does. I also enjoy the diction that the speaker uses throughout the poem such as "blackest air," and "senseless wit," because these words are kind of out of the ordinary. On a day to day basis, I usually don't really think of black air, in a way, it kind of seems contradictory because most people know air with no color. As a whole, the poem might be a little confusing at first, but overall, it brings a different way of looking at the mind's role.

Empire of Dreams by Charles Simic

P. 436-437

On the first page of my dreambook
It's always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn't be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

This poem by Charles Simic entrigues me in its first line. As the speaker says "on the first page of my dreambook," it shows the overall picture of the whole poem. The word "dreambook" kind of brings a sense and mood of fairytale like atmosphere. As the poem continues, it fades away from the fairytale like atmosphere and falls into a dark dreary mood. By using words such as "dark" and "black," it shows that there is a sense of darkness and erieness to the poem. The speaker also creates a sense of mysteriousness when he/she states "where I shouldn't be." This phrase shows that this poem is not definite in anything really. The title itslef, "Empire of Dreams," can sum up the poem as a whole because in dreams, it is mysterious and you never really know what can happen. Dreams can be so lifelike and real that sometimes people mistake them for real life. The title is incorporated into the poem because an "empire" is typically associated with something large, therefore showing that dreams can go anywhere. There isn't a distinct point where dreams end which is why throughout the poem there is more then one scene described. Another dark element found throughout the poem is when the speaker mentions the "Halloween mask," which also identifies with the dark and eerie tone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I found this Javan book today in the bookstore and bought it. He has very close ties to my past, and has effected my writing in many ways. I hadn't read anything he wrote in a long time and was suprised ot find his book in the store. What he writes is so exact. He takes indepth thought processes and puts them on paper in words in the most precise manner. This poem was the first one I read from this book and I couldn't get away from it. After I read one of his poems everything he says is so obviousl true, but it's not something we think about. We never put our minds what going on inside our heads. Javan does this for us.

I speak
Becasue I know my needs
I speak with hesitation
Becasue I know now yours

My Words
Come from my life's experiences
Your understanding
Comes from yours

Because of thie
What I say
And what you hear
May not be the same

So if you will listen carefully
But not with your ears
To what I say
But not with my tongue

Maybe somehow
We can communicate.


The World Is To Much With Us; Late And Soon
by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune,
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

This poem is very interesting. The tone of the author seems very excited and almost even desparate. It really sets an interesting mood for the poem. His exclamation marks really seem to be an important factor in setting this mood. I noticed that this poem has a lot of "water" words. There's words like: sea, winds, Proteus, and Triton. These words sort of seem to work to create an ocean image where nothing is still; there is a lot of motion and activity furthering the vital mood of the poem. The allusions to religion and myth are very interesting too. The author almost seems to cry out to the gods confessing that he would rather be a "pagan suckled in a creed outworn" than live a meaningless life. At least that's the way it felt like to me. The author really seems to feel discontent especially when he uses words like "too much" or "waste" or "sordid". All in all the poem seems very effective to me.

Country Stars

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 caught my attention off the bat with the opening line, " as the nearsighted child has taken off her glasses." This is an indication that she is ready to go to bed. And as many children are tucked in or are given goodnight kisses, so is the child in this poem. It gives it a human characteristic which is nice and brings the idea of family and comfort in full circle. The scene that is being described out of her window is an elaborate mixture of urban scenes with the contrast of nature. The speaker acknowledges that even the child is able to recognize the clutter that has been created and placed there by modern society. The "bright watchers" in my interpretation are the stars that provide some kind of softness, and kindness in the cold atmosphere outside.