Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Although this poem seems like one massive block of poetry, it is marked by structure with the reducing of the father's life. Starting with the mother kicking him out, then his divorce from his family and finally his firing from work. The layers of this unknown characters life are being peeled away, as the poem progresses. "Now I pass the bums in doorways...and I wonder who took it from them in silence until they had given it all away and had nothing left but this." Summing up the disintegration of their father's life, by relating it to a bum's empty life, shows the true emotional anger and hurt the child still feels. With the beginning of the poem being in the past, it ends with the child seemingly in present day and safely without their father.
Sharon Olds on her autobiographical poetry:
I also noticed how there were only two stanzas in the poem. This I thought was interesting because the speaker is meant to be "between two rooms." The first stanza is the observation of the people in one room and the second stanza, is the speaker observing the people in the other room. The different language used in the second stanza and second room, helps make the two rooms even more of seperate worlds. Throughout these observations, the speaker seems to be comparing and contrasting both worlds.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I love the poetry of Billy Collins so, I chose a funny and cynnical poem, for an outside of Norton choice. This one begins with, "Smokey the Bear heads into the autumn woods with a red can of gasoline and a box of wooden matches." This statement is funny for the ironic imagery Collins uses by placing the fictional flame-fighting bear with the proper equipment for starting a forest fire. The tone starts funny with this picture but with the next line, "his ranger's hat is cocked at a disturbing angle," this turns the tone to a more dark one because the idea that Smokey would actually start a fire becomes realistic. (Although the entire poem is fictional, smokey's intentions become clearer here). Collin's outlines Smokey's thoughts, "He is sick of dispensing warnings to the careless," his true feelings show with the description of "half-wit campers" and "dumbbell hikers." This playfully ironic poem boarders on reality by exposing Smokey's true annoyance for the many forest fires, started by idiotic people. "He is going to show them how a professional does it," this statement truly shows Smokey's bitterness and intentions of creating a fire for the desired effect of cruel irony.
I like this particular poem mostly because of the tone of irony and sarcasm that Collin's is known for. The imagery he creates with the descriptions of Smokey's, "brown fur gleaming in the sun" and "paws, the size of catcher's mitts" give the reality of Smokey the Bear being fed-up and literally going out to start a fire. Collin's light language, clearly sends the sarcastic message of retaliating against the idiotic people of the world, albit in a silly way.
Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me--
After reading My Papa's Waltz in the Norton I really liked Roethke's style of poetry and researched some more of his work and found The Geranium. The situation of this poem isn't clear in the beginning, its very ambiguous. The first line, "When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail, She looked so limp and bedraggles, so foolish and trusting." This description doesn't immediately point to the subject being a simple potted flower. The way Roethke describes the Geranium makes it take on a human persona, the reader feels the speakers feelings for the plant. Althought the speaker points out his mistreatment of the plant, "The things she endured!" He seems to feel guilt for his bad care for the withering plant. He refers to the geranium as "she" which attributes to the speakers idea of the plant being a woman. "Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me, and that way scary" This observation by the speaker shows the reader how deeply the speaker believes the plant is really alive, human being. Even though the owner of the plant seemed to not care much for the geranium because of the way he treated it, at the end he gets back at the maid who threw the flower away by firing her. "I was that lonely", is the last statement the speaker makes about his life, without his geranium. This simple sentence sums up the speakers true love for the flower and how sad he is that "she" is now gone.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The speaker then goes on to describe their house more in depth, what they see when they might come into their living room. "dictionary and atlas on the rug, the typewriter waiting for the key of the head, a cello on the radio...the lawn steaming like a horse in the early morning." This situation is what the speaker awakes to every morning, looking around their house and seeing familiar things. Then looking outside to see the same lawn every morning covered in dew. I liike this poem because of these simple descriptions that everyone can relate to seeing in the morning.
The parent follows the little girl as she takes off on her bike. Suprisingly the girl doesn't fall at all, "I kept waiting for the thud of your crash as I sprinted to catch up." The image of the parent running behind their child after teaching them how to ride a bike independently, metaphorically shows the child leaving their parent behind. The title To a Daughter Leaving Home, makes the reader think the poem would be when an adult daughter leaves home but, the author here takes an old memory of a simple day of learning to ride a bike as a metaphor. Learning to ride a bike is similar to learning to live on your own. Your parent teaches you all they know (like being taught to ride a bike) and then they set you free, to experience and learn on your own.
At the end the emotions of the parent realizing their child is growing up changes the tone to a sad but happy one. "you grow smaller, more breakable with distance", the parent sees their daughter growing up and naturally worries about their safety when they set off alone. The last line is bittersweet because the image and setting of the little girl in the distance,"hair flapping behind you like a hankerchief waving goodbye", shows what the parent sees of their young daughter, enjoying riding her new bike and unknowingly growing up and leaving home.
Audio reading of poem:
Linda Pastan on fiction & poetry:
The little girl in the poem changes into Che Guevara in order to amuse her father, this is where the title, The Changeling, can be explained. The little girl puts on a show for her father "until Mother called us for dinner", showing the childish and fun tone of the poem. The title only reflects that silly, make-belive world of children with the mystical title The Changeling. I feel like the title would be chosen by the little girl in the poem if she had to choose a name for her self.
This poem is also interesting because the reader doesn't have a full understanding of the speaker until the end of the poem. The beginning stanza is all the back-and-forth of flirting and dating that the speaker talks of almost boringly. But, she also hints of her deeper nature, "nor can you ever see the thousand little deaths my heart has died." This sad statement changes the tone from a playful flirt to the darker soul of a woman with history.
The final statement of the speaker at the end, "And what goes on, my love, while you're away, you'll never know", truly alluminates her real self. Throughout the beginning of the poem the fakeness of her life was shown but slowly enough the sadness was exposed. When she says "my love", I have doubts that she actually means it or is just talking in the same fake tone as when she discusses flirting with a man. If it was meant to be taken that way, it fits with the idea that the speaker is actually a very sad woman, who hasn't really experienced love/someone who appreciates her without all the fake dating.
The last line of the next stanza, "fearing the chronic angers of that house", exposes the hidden anger living inside the home to the reader. This changes the tone from innocent to more somber, like there are more secrets inside the home. The child/speaker talks to their father, " indifferently" and doesn't seem to appreciate their father and what small loving things he does. The foreshadowing of the "chronic angers" of the house, gives justification to the childs reaction and demeanor towards their father. The last two lines hint at an almost sadness for not having shown this appreciation before, "What did I know, what did I know of love's austere and lonely offices?" The fathers love, was a "lonely office" where only he dwelt. The child never recipricated the love of the father. Although the love was flawed, ("chronic anger of that house") and not always perfect, the father really truly loved his family.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the second stanza, the speaker further expresses what he sees and feels while walking through London. "In every cry of every man, in every Infant's cry of fear," these examples of innocent children's and strong men's cries, show the despair and sadness that the speaker feels in London. The crying symbolizes a cry for help from the people of London to a higher power (ex:government) but, they get no response or help. The next stanza has an even more explicit example of the people of London feeling beat down by their government, "the hapless Soldier's sigh runs in blood down Palace walls." The exaggerated image of a fallen soldier lying near the Palace walls, furthers the message of the people versus power, that the speaker feels while walking. This image also shifts the tone from a somber, almost accepting of despairity, to anger for being underminded as people by a higher power.
By the last stanza, the speaker summarizes his overall view and experiences of London. "But most through midnight streets I hear, How the youthful Harlot's curse...and blights with plagues the Marriage hearse." The specific example of the "young harlot's" and the "marriage hearse", could be a metaphor for the life of London. Youthful people full of life, end up miserable and cursing themselves for getting trapped. Either in marriage or by London itself, the more powerful governement that regulates its peoples happiness. This ending tone is the speakers thoughts and experiences of London. He can't escape the sadness and anger that fill London, he feels the paine even when he walks down the street.