Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shape: dying is fine)but Death by E.E. Cummings

dying is fine)but Death


wouldn't like

Death if Death

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
's miraculous

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
it mildly lively(but


is strictly
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death

In another infamous E.E. Cummings shape poems, he addresses death versus dying and how they both have completely different meanings. In the title dying is fine)but Death, Cummings first introduces the topic of dying being different than death. He explains that death begins when everyone is born. It is a natural process that is constantly happening throughout ones life. "dying 's miraculous why?be cause dying is perfectly natural;perfectly putting it mildly lively," meaning dying throughout life is "lively."Cummings views this process of dying, as natural in comparison to the final act of death, "Death is strictly scientific & artificial & evil & legal)." Believing "the sin of Death" to be an un-natural phenomenon that occurs alien to the act of dying.

The shape of the poem looks like a bunch of tiny hills or mountains, like the natural path of ones life, full of bumps to overcome. The stanza "?0 baby i" although the middle part of a thought in the poem, i interpreted this (especially since its at the beginning) as the beginning of a persons life as a literal baby. Then, progressing through the years the sentence structure grows into a hill at "when(instead of stopping to think)you begin to feel of it,dying " and then another question is pose "why?", like there is an actual person who Cummings is addressing while watching them grow and "die" essentially. Kind of like a mid-life crisis of the eternal question "Everyone is dying, how do I make my life meaningful and enjoy it?" The next bump includes the census that dying is "lively" relating the act of enjoying life towards the end of it. When the final bump comes it isn't fully formed, showing how death comes sudden and stops the dying in its natural process. By the final half bump, the poems message is fully explained and the final line "we thank thee god almighty for dying (forgive us,o life!the sin of Death" alludes to the religous and the symbolic persons final thoughts at deaths door. Ultimately praying that the evilness of Death won't kill them the way the "lively" dying was.

**I found this band Ra Ra Riot, that has a song called "Dying is Fine" and they quote a lot from E.E. Cummings poem. Here's their website where you can listen to it for free and it explains their reasons for writing the song,

Sestina: A Miracle for Breakfast by Elizabeth Bishop

At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee,
waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb
that was going to be served from a certain balcony
like kings of old, or like a miracle
It was still dark. One foot of the sun
steadied itself on a long ripple in the river

The first ferry of the day had just crossed the river
It was so cold we hoped that the coffee
would be very hot, seeing that the sun
was not going to warm us; and that the crumb
would be a loaf each, buttered, by a miracle
At seven a man stepped out on the balcony

He stood for a minute alone on the balcony
looking over our heads toward the river
A servant handed him the makings of a miracle
consisting of one lone cup of coffee
and one roll, which he proceeded to crumb
his head, so to speak, in the clouds—along with the sun

Was the man crazy? What under the sun
was he trying to do, up there on his balcony!
Each man received one rather hard crumb
which some flicked scornfully into the river
and, in a cup, one drop of the coffee
Some of us stood around, waiting for the miracle

I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle
A beautiful villa stood in the sun
and from its doors came the smell of hot coffee
In front, a baroque white plaster balcony
added by birds, who nest along the river
I saw it with one eye close to the crumb—

and galleries and marble chambers. My crumb
my mansion, made for me by a miracle,
through ages, by insects, birds, and the river
working the stone. Every day, in the sun,
at breakfast time I sit on my balcony
with my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee

We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee
A window across the river caught the sun
as if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony

A sestina is a rather complicated form of poetry, comprised of thirty-nine lines in seven stanzas. The first six stanzas are six lines long with the seventh stanza having three lines. The last word of each line in the first stanza, is repeated in varying order in the next five stanzas, ending with a three line "envoi"/tornada involving all six repeated words. This word-repitition creates a rhythm to a sestina that is similar to a rhyme scheme.

Bishop wrote A Miracle for Breakfast, after reading Sir Philip Sidney's double sestina "Ye Goatherd Gods." Supposedly inspired by a winter morning in 1935 during the Great Depression, when food for breakfast was scarce. A friend of Bishop's suddenly introduced her to "Wonder Bread" and the ironic name sparked her imagination. It inspired Bishop to create her sestina around the kind of miracle a physical object (food), can bring to someone who is suffering without it. In the sestina, she repeats the words coffee, crumb, balcony, miracle, sun and river, to tell the story of the speaker who waits for a charitable breakfast while fantasizing over an extravagant life where coffee and bread are in abundance.

In the first stanza the setting is alluded to but only vaguely, "At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee/waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb/that was going to be served from a certain a miracle." The unspecific "certain balcony" becomes a symbol of power and a high place in society, simply because it it above all those waiting for a handout of food and because it is the place where the food is distributed. The "coffee and charitable crumb" are the scraps of food offered at soup kitchens during the depression. I felt that these could symbolize a kind of religious aspect, like the wine and bread given by jesus (i think thats how it goes but idk i've never been to church). "At seven a man stepped out on the balcony/He stood for a minute alone on the balcony/looking over our heads toward the river/A servant handed him the makings of a miracle." This could be a metaphor for jesus when he stands above his followers before giving them the gift of food. The background of the sun and river is symbolic towards the nature of life in its pure form.

Towards the end of the sestina, you realize the speaker has shifted narrating from their point of view to creating an exaggerated scene of their breakfast within their imagination. The shift comes with the reference to a miracle, "I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle/A beautiful villa stood in the sun/and from its doors came the smell of hot coffee/In front, a baroque white plaster balcony." The image before the speakers eyes transforms from cold and grey to elegant and warm. Where food is in abundance and the people waiting have no worries. The speaker then speaks directly,"My crumb my mansion, made for me by a miracle/...Every day, in the sun/at breakfast time I sit on my balcony/with my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee." This shows the speaker enjoying the miracle or wonder (see: wonder bread) of endless food and freedom from the depression. Bishop connects her inspiring introduction to Wonder Bread with the speaker in the sestina, who enjoys imagining a place where bread and coffee weren't rationed.

Ending with the envoi, Bishop includes all of her repeated words and arranges them to show the speakers acknowledging the miracle of breakfast. "We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee/A window across the river caught the sun/as if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony," showing the speaker knows the scenario is obviously a fantasy. I like the form of a sestina where the envoi, contains all the repeated words throughout the poem and seems to connect the theme and meaning of the poem as a whole. 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT? (Soo witty! i know)

* Do you believe that Bishop's sestina has a religious undertone? Do you agree that  A Miracle for Breakfast, is a social commentary on the Great Depression? (Hint: connect to the title) 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Villanelle: Miranda By W.H. Auden

My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely, 1
As the poor and sad are real to the good king, 2
And the high green hill sits always by the sea. 3

Up jumped the Black Man behind the elder tree, 4
Turned a somersault and ran away waving; 5
My Dear One is mine as mirrors are lonely. 6

The Witch gave a squawk; her venomous body 7
Melted into light as water leaves a spring, 8
And the high green hill sits always by the sea. 9

At his crossroads, too, the Ancient prayed for me, 10
Down his wasted cheeks tears of joy were running: 11
My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely. 12

He kissed me awake, and no one was sorry; 13
The sun shone on sails, eyes, pebbles, anything, 14
And the high green hill sits always by the sea. 15

So to remember our changing garden, we 16
Are linked as children in a circle dancing: 17
My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely, 18
And the high, green hill sits always by the sea 19

A villanelle or the italian villano meaning "peasant," is originally a dance-song, sun by a Renaissance troubadour with rustic themes and no real form. After Jean Passerat's 16th century villanelle "J'ai perdu ma tourtourelle", the modern form of a villanelle developed. The poem is 19 lines , five triplets, and a quatrain (using only two rhymes throughout). The first line is repeated in lines 6, 12 and 18 while the thrid line is repeated in lines 9, 15 and 19. This creates a refrain like a traditional song and creates the final stanza.

Miranda, is connected to Auden's prose "The Sea and the Mirror" which is a commentary on Shakespeare's "The Tempest." The villanelle in general is the song of the character Miranda, who sings of the images of love while dispelling childhood nitghmares, "Up jumped the Black Man behind the elder tree/The Witch gave a squawk; her venomous body." She begins her song by apostrophizing her beloved and directly addressing him throughout each stanza. Using strong imagery "The sun shone on sails, eyes, pebbles/Down his wasted cheeks tears of joy were running/" to convey the emotions Miranda feels while addressing her love and can compare to Shakespeare's type of writing style.

The repeating lines "My dear one is mine as mirrors are lonely/And the high, green hills sits always by the sea" shows her happiness at finding her "dear one" and the eternity of their union compared to the mirrors constant loneliness. These ideas relate to the metaphor of the mirror always winning against the sea because it can become the sea by reflecting it. However, the mirror is a euphemism of loneliness because it only reflects the image of something and can never be eternally bonded, like Miranda is singing of with her impending union.

Elegy: O Captain! My Captain! By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,
the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

This infamous elegy by Walt Whitman was written in 1865 in honor of President Abraham Lincoln's death. Whitman uses very strong figurative language throughout the elegy with very baroque language that gives the impression of Whitman's high respect for Lincoln. The title "O Captain! My Captain!" expresses Whitman's feelings towards the beloved president and creates a metonymy (term for one thing is applied to another and become closely associated in experience) between a captain and his ship. Addressing him as "captain"/president, that has successfully lead the "ship"/America through the fight for freedom and slavery, "The ship has weather'd every rack/ the prize we sought is won." Through the metaphor of President Lincoln guiding the ship of America, Whitman creates an allusion to his presidency, including his assassination and death. "But O heart! heart! heart!/O the bleeding drops of red/ Where on the deck my Captain lies/ Fallen cold and dead" figuratively describes the scene of utter horror when Lincoln was shot. The exclamation, "O heart! heart! heart!" expresses how much people loved the president and how many hearts were broken when Lincoln was fatally shot. The repetition of "heart!" and the exclamation point after each, shows the real emotion people felt after the assassination.

The second stanza is more of the peoples reaction after their captain is shot, "For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores/ a-crowding/ For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning." The flowers and people all mourning his death and "eager faces" hoping he isn't really gone forever. Then the speaker enters apostrophizes (direct address either to an abstract person or to an abstract of inanimate entity) the fallen captain, "Here Captain! dear father!/This arm beneath your head!/It is some dream that on the deck/You've fallen cold and dead." The reference to Lincoln as "father" is related to the phrase "father of our country". The speaker's depths of misery is touched on, when he pleads that the image of his captains death is "some dream."

Sadly, by the third stanza the speakers tone has changed from unbelieving to bitter understanding of his captain's death, "My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still/My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will." Shifting from the speakers visually seeing that the captains life has ended "he has no pulse", to the metaphorical ending of his ship, "The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done." The speaker enters into the aftermath stage of the captains death, while feverishly keeping his memory of triumph "at sea" and grief of his loss, alive forever. " Exult O shores, and ring O bells!/But I with mournful tread/Walk the deck my Captain lies/Fallen cold and dead."

I feel that "O Captain! My Captain!" is what an elegy truly is, in its most elegant form. Beginning with the glory of the captain/presidents career and initial trauma of his shooting. Then the shock and disbelief of the masses who've been affected by the captain throughout his life and finally ending sadly on a sad yet hopeful note. Truly remembering the captain the way he would have wanted if he hadn't died so tragically. Ending with the message that although life is short, keep the memories of those who pass and never forget the lessons they taught you.

The BEST scene in Dead Poet's Society!

Ode to Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, a
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; b
Conspiring with him how to load and bless a
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; b
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 5 c
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; d
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells e
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, d
And still more, later flowers for the bees, c
Until they think warm days will never cease; c 10
For Summer has o’erbrimm’d their clammy cells. e

Who hath not seen Thee oft amid thy store? a
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find b
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, a
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; b 15
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, c
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook d
Spares the next swath and all its twine´d flowers: e
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep c
Steady thy laden head across a brook; d 20
Or by a cider-press, with patient look, d
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. e

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? a
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, b
While barre´d clouds bloom the soft-dying day a 25
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; b
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn c
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft d
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; e
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; c 30
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft d
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; d
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. e

This Ode follows the typical structure of the "dance rhythm" of moving left/Strophe, right/Antistrophe, and still/Epode. The rhyme scheme in the first stanza is ABABCDEDCCE, while the next two stanzas both follow ABABCDECDDE pattern. I think the slight change in rhyme scheme is to show more of the shift between the focus' of the first and second and third stanzas.

The first stanza is the Strophe, where Keats gives an in-depth description of the beauty of a typical autumn day "the maturing sun/Conspiring with him how to load and bless/With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;/To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees/And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core" This stanza is full of hyperboles of the exaggeration of nature in its blossoming stage, the vines that "bend with apples" and ripeness that "swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells."

In the second stanza/Antistrophe, Keats metaphorically relates autumn to a women "sitting carelessly on a granary floor." The almost sudden shift from description of an autumn day to the personification of it as a woman, could be relatable as a conceit (figure of speech which establishes a striking parallel between two apparently dissimilar things or situations). Keats also uses strong imagery of her "hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind" and her "patient look" while watching the "last oozings" of cider. Really showing the simple beauty of autumn, in the form of a woman.

In the final stanza/Epode, there is a shift of tone when Keats begins the stanza with a rhetorical question "Where are the songs of spring?", that is directed to the women/autumn in the second stanza. (This i thought was an interesting way of connecting the previous stanza with the shift in the third.) Keats tells the woman/autumn that her songs although sometimes sad "Then in a wailful choir the gnats mourn", the "Hedge-crickets sing" and "The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft." These descriptions of the sad and cheerful sounds of autumn, are meant to show the beginning and end of an autumn day and the season in general. "Among the river-swallows, borne aloft/or sinking as the light wind lives or dies" shows the metaphor of the entire third stanza. Keats tries to symbolize the changing of the sounds of the autumn animals, with the cheerful beginning and sad endings of an autumn day/season.

The connection between each clearly distinct and individual stanzas, comes from the story of autumn that Keats successfully tells. Beginning with the simple descriptions of the beauty of the nature of an autumn day. He then relates it to a woman who symbolizes the quiet splendor of autumn. Then the last stanza is Keats directly addressing the woman and autumn and questioning when spring will arrive and describing the sadness of the end of the autumn season through the changing sounds of the animals of autumn. Keats ends the third stanza almost bitter sweetly, when he relates the dying of the wind and days of autumn to the impending days of the cold and "dead" season of winter. When all the warmth of nature will slowly fade away, waiting in anticipation of spring and autumn, when all the beauty and sounds of nature will return.

I love the way this guy reads the poem! You will understand it better after hearing it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Favorite Poem #2: Ultimatum by Dorothy Parker

I'm wearied of wearying love, my friend,
Of worry and strain and doubt;
Before we begin, let us view the end,
And maybe I'll do without.
There's never the pang that was worth the tear,
And toss in the night I won't-
So either you do or you don't, my dear,
Either you do or you don't!

The table is ready, so lay your cards
And if they should augur pain,
I'll tender you ever my kind regards
And run for the fastest train.
I haven't the will to be spent and sad;
My heart's to be gay and true-
Then either you don't or you do, my lad,
Either you don't or you do!

Dorothy Parker is one of my favorite poets because of her blunt, satirical and feminist take on life. I liked this poem very much because of the conversational style she chooses to have the speaker take on. Discussing whether to fall in love and begin a relationship but, in a funny brash tone. "Before we begin, let us view the end,And maybe I'll do without." The speakers tone is like a strain of emotions, just waiting for the reaction of their lover. I like how she lists what could happen but cuts herself short because she doesn't want to dwell on what could happen and just wants to know if it can, "I haven't the will to be spent and sad; My heart's to be gay and true-Then either you don't or you do, my lad, Either you don't or you do!" I like how blunt this statement is, of the ultimatum of love. She successfully expresses the pain in the unknowing reaction of the ultimatum reciever from the ultimatum giver. I felt that Parker was summing up relationships and love as being two people who either do or don't. Simplistically solving one of the most complicated things in a young persons life.

Favorite Poem #1: If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

I really like this poem because of the descriptions of the love and emotion he feels for his lover. In the first stanza especially,"everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me." It has a very romantic tone from the language used. I found it interesting how the middle of the poem, Neruda contradicts his deep emotional love with the warning,"If suddenly you forget me, do not look for me, for I shall already have forgotten you." The middle stanzas tell of how easily this discovered love can be forgotten and how unattached the speaker can become if the lover they are talking to does as well. But, in the end Neruda switches once again to that love entrenched speaker, "But if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me nothing is extinguished or forgotten, my love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine." I really like how in the end the speaker recants their speech on easily forgetting their beloved and essentially cements all the strong rapturous emotions they spoke of in the beginning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

External Form (Sonnets) #2: Sonnets by Billy Collins p.1035

I love how this sonnet makes fun of the structural forms of sonnets and the "stress" over sticking to the guidelines. "All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now, and after this one just a dozen," describes the typical fourteen line stanza of a sonnet. Collins sarcastically pokes fun of the typical themes of sonnets, "launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas" and the more intricate Elizabethan sonnets that "insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines." The irony throughout "Sonnet" is that is follows the fourteen line form of a sonnet and sometimes uses a rhyme scheme (see quote above).
The typical Petrarchan or Italian form of 8-6 line sonnets, Collin's notes at the end of his sonnet. "But hang on here while we make the turn into the final six where all will be resolved." Ironically, Collin's last six lines ending not only his own literal sonnet but, his fake love themed sonnet he mentions in his octave, "where longing and heartache will find an end." Specifically targeting the originator of the Italian form, "tell Petrarch to put down his pen, take off those crazy medieval tights, blow out the lights, and come at last to bed." These final words show that although Collin's clear message showcased his cynical view on sonnet writing and style. He would ironically and intentionally end up writing a sonnet, following the very guidelines of the poets whom he criticized.

External Form (Sonnets) #1: The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus p.1027

In the first eight lines or octave of this sonnet, the Statue of Liberty or "Mother of Exile" is described. In the sonnet, the Statue of Liberty is idolized into the "beacon-hand glowing worldwide welcome" between the "twin cities frame" a.k.a. Manhattan and Brooklyn, serving as the beacon of hope and symbol of freedom to all the immigrants coming to Ellis Island. The title "The New Colossus" draws connection to the "brazen giant of Greek fame,"referring to The Colossus of Rhodes, the 100-ft statue of the sun god Helios and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This comparison shows the great symbol of power the statue is to the many immigrants "teeming (the) shore."
In the last six lines (or sestet) the statue of liberty broadcasts the message, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" to all the tired and battered immigrants entering the U.S. This poem held such a connection to the Statue of Liberty that in 1945, all fourteen lines of the poem were engraved on the main entrance of the Statue. This 8-6 sonnet form is usually called the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet. Named after the early master of this structure, the Italian poet Petrarch.

External Form #2: Sow by Sylvia Plath

God knows how our neighbor managed to breed
His great sow:
Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hid

In the same way
He kept the sow--impounded from public stare,
Prize ribbon and pig show.

But one dusk our questions commended us to a tour
Through his lantern-lit
Maze of barns to the lintel of the sunk sty door

To gape at it:
This was no rose-and-larkspurred china suckling
With a penny slot

For thrift children, nor dolt pig ripe for heckling,
About to be
Glorified for prime flesh and golden crackling

In a parsley halo;
Nor even one of the common barnyard sows,
Mire-smirched, blowzy,

Maunching thistle and knotweed on her snout-
Bloat tun of milk
On the move, hedged by a litter of feat-foot ninnies

Shrilling her hulk
To halt for a swig at the pink teats. No. This vast
Brobdingnag bulk

Of a sow lounged belly-bedded on that black
Fat-rutted eyes
Dream-filmed. What a vision of ancient hoghood

Thus wholly engross
The great grandam!--our marvel blazoned a knight,
Helmed, in cuirass,

Unhorsed and shredded in the grove of combat
By a grisly-bristled
Boar, fabulous enough to straddle that sow's heat.

But our farmer whistled,
Then, with a jocular fist thwacked the barrel nape,
And the green-copse-castled

Pig hove, letting legend like dried mud drop,
Slowly, grunt
On grunt, up in the flickering light to shape

A monument
Prodigious in gluttonies as that hog whose want
Made lean Lent

Of kitchen slops and, stomaching no constraint,
Proceeded to swill
The seven troughed seas and every earthquaking

The stanzas in this poem i thought were very important. They were broken up so much that when you literally say the poem aloud, you're forced to pause. This i felt Plath did on purpose, to create a type of dialogue that a person would have to themselves, when sneaking up on a mysterious barn with a "sow" or female hog inside. Another interesting part of the poem is the title "Sow". The word has different meanings other than just female pig ( "rows of molds in pigs bed" and "a kind of covered shed" relates to the setting of a barn with a "vision of ancient hoghood" hidden inside. The speaker of the poem is contemplating the image of the female hog inside the barn and inflating the image with fantasies of its grandness, "a monument, prodigious in gluttonies." The tone is wonderment from the mysteries of the symbolic "sow" around the corner of the barn doors. Plath chooses to change the typically "gluttonous and greedy pig" to a symbolic form of aspiration and interest to the speaker. Overall, i felt that this poem held many different interpretations and meanings in every stanza.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

External Form #1: Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

This poem uses the terza rima rhyme scheme like in Dante's, The Divine Comedy. The repetition of the beginning stanza's "I have" creates the authors tone of true factual statements. I thought the poems title suggests night to be dark and scary simply because of the phrasing of it "Acquainted with the Night". The word "acquainted" isn't as warm and inviting as "meet" or "became bffls with" (But this is just my opinion). After reading the poem a couple times I thought Frost used the night as an allusion for his inner soul or conscience. He lists the different directions he has traveled "in the night" and his reactions, metaphorically relating these paths to different tests of his soul, that he has endured. The "night" i felt was the ultimate metaphor for the strange and unpredictable ways of life. (Also literal, the night is dark, you can't see what's coming at you and in life you can't predict what's going to happen). I liked this poem because of its use of terza rima and its overall meaning towards a wandering soul.

External Form: Adrienne Rich

Poems by Adrienne Rich

Reading "Terza Rima"