Monday, November 28, 2005

Te Deum by Charles Reznikoff

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

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

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


Blogger Michael Overton said...

When reading the poem for the first time i got a real sense of religion in it. the humble nature of the speaker was seen and although he didnt prais God directly i could tell that it was his main goal in the poem. he does not gloat and does not work for glory and honor, the things he does is meager in his eyes (but maby not to others). this poem has a great theme of humbleness and having a meek attitude towards life.

9:44 PM  

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