Sestina

December 7, 2010

Shadows

It can be hard to tell what kind of pain or damage
has been seen, and felt, by the human heart.
It must have scars, bruises or even burns-
perhaps from flying too close to the sun,
but more likely they happened at the hands
of another. But it still beats, lives.

Sometimes I think that as people our lives
only exist for one reason: they are built for damage.
But when facing the worst, often our hands
are the part being sent through walls. The heart
never really breaks. It only feels like the sun
could never have enough heat to cause those burns.

A solar flare licks its flame, burns
and smolders, wrapping it’s tongue around lives
in lands of loveless cold. Warmer than sun
though, is the care before the damage.
The height of the degree depends on how much heart
is put into the fight, and how much degradation the hands

Of time have caused. Wrinkled hands
feel the smoothest when they tend to the burns
of the newly wounded. The aging, aching heart
that comes with them has beat in the lives
of many. They have felt the damage,
but also have inflicted it. The setting sun

Of every day changes the shadow cast on the soul. Sun
can reach through the cracks and grasp the hands
of the slipping, preventing them from damage
that the rocks below may cause, and the burns
they will feel as they plummet into hell. Our lives
all circle around avoiding that fiery place, but each heart

Has been there. The core of the earth, Mother Nature’s heart
is molten, yet it has dark having never seen the light of the sun.
Like plants, we bend against the panes of windows, our lives
Dependent on the energy we absorb through light. Our hands
stretch toward the sky, fingertips ignoring the burns,
The lines and the spots. All sun damage.

The light in our lives consumes the hope in our heart,
but we cannot escape the damage in the absence of sun,
just instead clench our hands, and ignore the burns.

Ballad of Bertie County, Evie Shockley

November 10, 2010

Upon an initial reading this poem is extremely understandable. It is spoken in a natural voice, and as a narrative it sounds more like prose when read aloud, than poetry. The dialect that Shockley uses is especially effective in creating a narrative tone to this poem, as it is not what one would consider “proper” English, and it is indicative of the speaker, the setting, and the time-frame of the poem. Shockley uses rich description, one example is in the second stanza: around us, the trees silhouetted, blackened,/ and disappeared into vast carolina night.” The word “silhouetted” is not one that would be the first to come to a writers mind, as most probably question its legitimacy as a word, yet it is used with such beauty that it is one of many perfect modifiers in this poem. Without rich description like this addling the poem, Evie Shockley’s depiction of the the scene circa American slavery would be far less authentic and certainly less chilling.

 

 


				

To Autumn, Keats

November 10, 2010

This ode written by John Keats is a poem of progression, but more of ripening and eventual withering of life. The first stanza is a description of excess in the fall, he writes of trees with so many apples that their branches are bending, and bees with so many flowers that they are overwhelmed with pollen. Stanza two continues the image of fullness to its end, its harvest. Autumn is personified as the harvester of the aforementioned flowers: “or on a half- reap’d furrow sound asleep/ drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook/ spares the next swath and all its twined flowers”. The “cyder press” also represents the end of the season of the apples, as it is the final stage of their life, brought about by autumn herself.

As the image of summer begins the first stanza, spring begins the last. By ending the poem with spring, the cycle of the seasons is shown as one of life and death as one large circle of creation.

Sonnet

November 3, 2010

Heart Man

 

Holes in my heart are the size of the gaps

that puncture lobes, leave room for fingers, gourds,

or tongues that slip, like you out of the door

before the sun awakes. The morning raps

 

at the window, the light pours in the cracks

in the form of screeches, and senseless words

signaling our approach into a world

that tilts- that has no lines or rules or maps.

 

Heads rest on beds but mostly colored mats

and hands are hugged with gloves, with flashing lights

of love. We live in years not days or hours,

 

decades have gone by instead of only months past.

In the land of our living even what’s wrong is right

and the sun that I see is the kind in the flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directive- Robert Frost

October 19, 2010

The first thing that I noticed about this poem is that Frost makes use out of repetition and lists. He repeats things such as “There is a house that is no longer a house” a few times in the beginning. By doing this the image of what is and what should be is made very clear to the audience. That image is resurrected again later in the poem:

First there’s the children’s house of make-believe,
Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
The playthings in the playhouse of the children.
Weep for what little things could make them glad.
Then for the house that is no more a house,
But only a belilaced cellar hole,
Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.

The image of the house on a farm in a town is focused on much closer at this point, which is a turning point of this poem. What the speaker is telling his or her audience about the place that is being told about becomes evident. The speaker’s language narrows as his view on the house does, and just as the view the audience is given of the house.

October 19, 2010

Spilt

 

The brain from which you came is near to my

own mind. The crooked noodles pile inside

our skulls, they squirm with thought of their escape

through ears and nostrils. Eyelids, even better.

They wind and wrap like snakes on paths to deer

which might be wounded, waiting to be swallowed.

Their jaws unhinge in preparation for

the feast of flesh, the beast, the mess. Two brains-

turned ropes of hunger stretched around each other.

Ulysses

October 5, 2010

The intent of this poem is made very clear by the tone of the words involved. As Tennyson transfers the audience from Ulysses himself, to the reader, to Ulysses’ sailors (his “mariners), he becomes more enthusiastic about the second voyage he wishes to pursue.

In this he mentions his past and its shortcomings:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs, the deep

Moans round with many voices.  < Voices in this context are the memoriesof his past.

The speaker makes it clear that he has no intentions of returning, and we know this because of the lines “for my purpose holds/ To sail beyond the sunset, and that bath/ Of all the western stars. until I die.” The motivation in the poem becomes much clearer as it reaches the end, as it transfers from a contemplative tone to a persuasive one as he attempts to convince his men to join him.

The Red Wheelbarrow

September 28, 2010

The spacing of this poem by William Carlos Williams is not arbitrary. There is reason behind the line breaks and different stanzas, even though the poem is so short. Each line relies on the former to make sense. There is a  complexity in the simplicity of this poem. The reader can spend lengthy amounts of time trying to decipher the meaning of this poem, while it really is quite simple. So much does not truly depend on a red wheelbarrow, but figuratively a small image such as that does hold great importance in the world of poetry.

The structure of the lines goes from long to short, long to short, long to short, long to short. Aesthetically, each stanza looks like a small wheelbarrow, with “so much” resting on the second line of each:

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens

The overall simplicity of this poem is the meaning. It seems that Williams is saying there is much beauty in things that are small, and much weight may be rested on something of little significance. An image or a message can be conveyed through simple language as opposed to indecipherable, lengthy lines with flowery language.

Close Reading- The Raven

September 20, 2010

Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” begins dark, yet with a glimpse of hope. The speaker had thought that he heard someone knocking at the door, but only barely. He answered the door after listening closely, expecting to see someone on the other side. Later it is revealed he was seeking Lenore behind the door:

But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Poe could have chosen to make these statements more plainly, such as “There was silence, it was dark, I didn’t speak.” By choosing to use words like “unbroken” Poe indicates that the possibility of the silence to be broken was possible in the mind of the speaker, yet it hadn’t happened. Poe uses this type of language to create a “dark and gloomy” poem.

DECOMPOSITION

September 16, 2010

Sonnet 29

When having bad luck and and a bad reputation,

I curse myself for being all alone,

and bother heaven with the cries they don’t listen to,

and look at myself, and curse my future,

wishing to have more hope for myself,

to be like the other man who has friends,

to want this man’s talent and insight,

with what I like the most;

Yet with these thoughts of hating myself,

I happily think of you- and then my position,

like to a bird awakening in the morning

on this sad planet, singing beautiful songs to heaven;

For remembering the sweetness that your love brings

makes me never want to change my place, even with kings.