Monthly Archives: July 2011

Fatigue — Hilarie Belloc

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Flower alone

 

By definition, epigram is a very short, comic poem, often truning at the end with some sharp wit or unexpected stinger.

Hilarie Belloc’s Fatigue reads as follows,

“I’m tired of Love; I’m still more tired of Rhyme.

But Money gives me pleasure all the time.”

 

In this poem there are a few I notice right away, the words Love, Rhyme and Money are capitalized, money and love are contrasting ideas and many times they feed off one another, and thirdly, this poem is definitely an epigram.

Capitalization: in my opinion, the reason we capitalize certain words in poems and verse is because they bear some sort of importance or double meaning. In this case Love, Rhyme, and Money all sort of go together, yet they are distinct in their own ways. I like to think that love and rhyme represent rhythm and harmony, peace and happiness, hard work and perseverance, they something you work with and work towards, and once you achieve them they are lifelong they are honest and they are genuine. Love and rhyme make you happy when used correctly and passionately. Then we have the turn when we talk about the next word: Money. Everyone knows the phrase money can’t buy you happiness, and while it may buy you happiness for a short time, in the long run money will not give you the happiness that love and rhyme can give you. I think that this is what Belloc is trying to stress, and when she says in a such a light way it makes it even more powerful. The lines feed into the criteria for an epigram, they begin with one idea then change to an opposing idea. In my opinion, this poem also talks about how hard work can sometimes just be exhausting. Honestly I know for a fact that I have days where I just can’t handle everything going on. I need to take a step back in order to keep moving forward and I think that this poem also serves to point out that we need to take a step back sometimes and see what exactly we really need in our lives.

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Smell! – William Carlos William

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Smell

 

Traditionally, the world knows of five senses: Sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Throughout time we have learned that each of the 5 senses consists of organs with specialized cells that have receptors for specific stimuli. These cells have links to the nervous system and thus to the brain. All of these senses are vital to human life, the top two are sight and hearing. In the world today, we hear about those who have no sight, and even those who have no hearing, but have you ever heard of those who have no smell!?

When I first read William Carlos Williams` poem, Smell! I was like what is he talking about!? I know poet’s are supposed to be crazy and all but really was this guy writing a poem about his nose? How odd, but then when I read it a few more times, I realized that he is not only writing about his nose but he is talking to his nose.  In lines 1-2 he states,

“Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed

nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?”

I may be wrong but I think this line is not only a Run-on line, but also it is the first piece of dialogue between the author and his nose. He first begins by explaining what his nose is like, and then he goes on to ask it a question. He continues throughout the poem in this way, talking to his nose about all the different things it helps him to smell, the souring flowers, to the rank oder of a passing springtime, but then at the end I think he reaches his main message he is blaming his nose for continroulsy smelling everything. His nose is always in the way and must have a wiff of everything that is out there. I think this implys the famous phrase, keep you nose out of others busniess. At the very end the last two lines of the poem, he says

“Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?

Must you have a part in everything?”

Oh dear nose, must you be in everyone’s business, you are getting the author in trouble with the ladies, and with all the people whose businesses you are interrupting.

The Heart – Jill Alexander Essbaum

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The Heart

Four Simple Chambers.

A thousand Complicated Doors.

One of them is yours.

open door

The heart is one of the most complex and vital organs in our lives. Whether is beat for a person, a cause, or just for the sake of life, it is ever mighty in its position in our body. Jill Alexander Essbaum has done an amazing job grasping its entirety in this short couplet. To me this, this poem is saying that I have a million emotions in my heart, and I am a complicated human being, I may not even know how complicated I am, but with you in my life you are making me into a somewhat less complicated being. You hold the key to one of my door, it is all yours. You are a part of my heart, my heart is vital and thus, you are vital to my life. It is a love poem, it is explaining that despite her short comings, and confusion, that one person still has a door to her real feelings.

Despite being all meaningful, the poem also has figurative language. I cannot express how much teachers love figurative language, I remember all through high-school in my AP English classes, we would talk about the importance of similes, and metaphors, and personification, even juxtaposition. If figurative language is so important than critique of the classics will love this poem as well because well smack dab in the middle is a metaphor. Take it as you will but by comparing the chambers of her heart to a those complicated doors, it just shows that the pathway into her heart may be a journey and it may be complicated, but really the true her exists, and you my friend already have a way in.

It might seem like I am crazy, but I am a huge fan of these short and to the point poems. Not only are they the most powerful but they can have so many interpretations to them. They can be the perfect amount of something you need to here in order to make your own decisions, and that is why I love them.

The piercing chill I feel — Taniguchi Buson

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“The piercing chill I feel:

      my dead wife’s comb, in our bedroom,

          under my heel…”

Picture this: A man sitting on his bed, taking in his bedroom which he has shared with his wife for the past 5o years. Just having said his goodbyes to the last guest from his wife’s funeral/wake, he closed the front door, walked up the stairs and into his bedroom, where he took a big sigh and sat down on his bed. Slowly capturing the essence that still remains of his wife, he notices her jewelry and her make-up sitting on her vanity. Her clothes that hang in the closet they share, he feels the darkness settle around him. On this cold winter day, he sits on his bed, overlooking all that he has shared with his wife, unable to part ways but forced by death. A man alone, searching for a way, but nothing remains but the remnants of his wife’s things.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61891614@N00/3203214081/

In three short lines, Taniguchi Buson has captured the essence of death that many people strive to capture. He creates a vivid image through these lines and in many ways he even makes me feel bad for the old man. While this poem is a death poem, we aren’t being forced to look at death head on instead the poem uses language in such a way that it is open to the readers discretion. This poem albeit is short it magnifies its theme and language. It proves that quality of the language, the writing, the words, all come together to make a greater meaning out of a simple poem. This poem alludes to loneliness and sadness, and it makes one feel sad, but it also has some hope left in it. The hope for me comes from finding the comb, hope in way that says everything will eventually be alright. Well done Buson, Well done.

Robert Frost – Fire and Ice

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As with many things in life you must repeatedly work on them to make them meaningful. That is how I felt with this poem, I had to read the poem many many times. I feel that a poem like this one strives to capture a greater meaning of life and by keeping it short and simple it does just that. This poem is not only about the end of the world, but also it is about how fire and ice represent two extreme emotions. Fire as Frost implies means desire, and ice means hatred, with these two extreme emotions, Frost is saying that in turn the world will thus end.

Whirl-fire

Fire: When I think of Fire, I think of a burning itch or something vast and powerful. Frost describs fire in his 4th and 5th lines, saying

“From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire…”

Fire can destroy anything and everything that stands in its way and it can make you a little bit crazy. This goes to show that desire has the same characteristics, sometimes a desire can be so strong that you are unable to control yourself, thus making you destroy, or love unconditionally. And while love may be a necessary feeling to have, too much of it can lead to pain and thus, desire is a force that can destroy the world. Fire will not literally destroy the world, but instead too much desire, too much destruction can lead to mistakes, it can lead to murder, and crime, and an outsource of passion, which can then become dangerous. Desire fuels humans sometimes and that fuel is harmful to not only the world but to our kind as well.

Ice Ledge

Ice: Ice, is the best for a hot day to cool you down, however, ice can sometimes be downright cold. Thinking back to high school, I remember when people would say oh she’s giving you the cold shoulder. Or even from Omarion’s song, “Icebox,” “I’ve got an icebox where my heart used to be…” Ice is the worldwide symbol for hatred. It is cold, and rigid, and solid. It has the capabilities of consuming people’s emotions and disabling them from leading a life with love. Hatred can be so powerful that people sometimes become endowed to it. They are unable to escape it and move on from it.  In using Ice as a symbol for Hatred, Frost expresses in lines 7 through 9.

“…I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

is also great.”

Ice has the capabilities of ruining a person’s life , in a sense it can freeze their life in place. The hatred a person carries with them can not cause the end of the world, but too much hatred can lead us on a path towards the end of the world.

In using the opposites of fire and ice, Frost is saying that both desire and hatred have connotations with them that allow them to lead us towards the end of the world. They are strong enough to destroy and strong enough to leave us frozen.

E.E. Cummings – Anyone lived in a pretty how town.

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Change of Seasons

From chapter three, I read E.E. Cummings “anyone lived in a pretty how town” ( which is just the first line because E.E. Cummings never gave his poems a title). I believe that the overarching theme of this poem is how life is a continuous cycle, which keeps repeating its seasons. Over time we are just living in the cycle of life and we are experiencing and gaining insight from within. One of my favorite lines in the entire poem is

“He sang his didn’t and danced his did.”

This line serves to show how life will always go on, sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will fail, and through these successes and through these failures, you will learn and you will be a part of the continuous life. To me, that is both powerful and insightful. It gives you hope to push for living a seemingly normal life. The poem continues, as does the cycle of life, and we get to the third stanza, in this stanza we learn about children and their innocent, and magical ways of looking at life. Cummings states,

“Down they forget as up they grew.”

Each and every one of us has an inner child within us, and at some point in our lives we learn that our childhood innocence, and naivety is no longer within us. While we may always be a child at heart, we are experiencing many things along the path of growing up that we no longer have the same thoughts we once did. We now look at the world differently, and we can no longer remain a child. This is not socially accepted and it will not allow us to be successful. Growing up is such an essential process of life, and sometimes it is thought of too much and it downplays the magic of childhood.  This stanza serves to say a farewell to our childhood, thank you for all you have done but we are now moving forward in this circle that life is taking us on. It does not however, look at childhood as unnecessary it gives our childhood the importance that it deserves and it gives it its worthy role in our lives.

One of the most powerful lines in the poem for me is in the seventh stanza, this stanza begins the talk of death and all things unknown,

“One day anyone died I guess.”

We all must at some point in our lives experience death. Whether it be of a pet, a family member, or a friend. Death is scary and exciting, it is a passage of life that is both beautiful and devastating. In this stanza we are talking about the grief that death brings to us, and in this line, the addition of I guess gives way to the uncertainty of death. It helps the reader realize that death is something new, and something different, we may not know what to expect and what to take away from it, but in the end it is apart of life’s circle.

Back in the 9th grade, for one of my required summer reading books, we were told to find a poet from the list, and choose a book to read. Back then, I chose to read E.E. Cummings, because well his book was the shortest. 😉 However,  as I was reading his book and as I continued learning more about his style of writing, he became quite infuriating because his choice of styles and writing can be difficult to understand, and a lot of times I find myself asking is there really anything behind this? When you look at a piece from the beginning, you see that it is beautiful, as a whole it is worthy of being written. However once you try to break it down, it gets to the gritty unlikeable parts that really look beautiful as a puzzle but in pieces they are just messy. That is how I feel about E.E. Cummings poetry, it is beautiful as a whole, but its parts are just messy.

Those Winter Sundays – Robert Hayden

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The reign of the Winter

As a child, I relied on my parents for food, shelter, and happiness. They gave me everything I could possibly ask for, I had my own bedroom, my own toys, and their undivided love and attention. Looking back though, I notice that I didn’t realize their value and the impact they had on my life. Robert Hayden’s poem Those Winter Sundays walks the reader through an increasing realization of the value a parent has. Throughout each verse we have growing appreciation and a little taste of regret for not realizing or even appreciating earlier. Robert Hayden focused his poem on his dad, but for me reading this poem makes me think of my mom. I have never in my life met anyone more hard-working, or determined than my own mom, and realizing how much I have put her through while growing up, or going through my teenage years, is upsetting. None the less, my mom has always loved me and I think that Hayden has addressed all of these feelings through his poem.

The first stanza is my favorite, and in my mind the most impactful, it sets the story up and automatically makes me want to help the father out. Hayden makes use of small words but they carry so much power. The first line,

“Sundays too my father got up early…”

He could have said “Sundays my father got up early,” but by adding the too makes me want to bold it and make sure it is supposed to be powerful. It adds so much to the entire line. It makes me feel for the father, and it makes me want to call my dad up and thank him! The entire first stanza serves to make me rethink all that my parents do. By talking about their tired and aching hands, to the last line, line 5. Line 5 States,

“No one every thanks him.”

This line isn’t meant to hurt the reader or to make him feel bad, instead it reminds me of reverse psychology, because after reading that line, I thought wow my dad never asked me to thank him, or my mom never even expected to be thanked. Not only does this poem help to make me realize the love and affection that my parents gave me but it makes me want to strive to be like them. It makes me rethink being upset at them.

Robert Hayden has taken a simple three verse lyric poem and created something powerful and striking. Through his use of simple words, and forms of subtle irony, and reverse psychology, his poem really made me think about the impact my parents have on my life. Looking back though, they made me into the person that I am now, and through my childhood, I have learned so many important and moral things and for that reason, I would not do anything differently, instead I will call my mom more, and learn to look at things with a better appreciation.