The piercing chill I feel — Taniguchi Buson


“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.

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


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.


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.


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


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.

Paraphrase Group 4


Anne Sexton- Her Kind–> Paraphrase

I have gone out, driven by madness, all alone, at night. With bad intentions I’ve had a good time, visiting many houses, drawn to multiple windows. I always feel it is a lonely deed but with many men and lots of hands, we all know a woman like that is not lady-like, but I have done that before.

I’ve secluded myself away from the normal city limits, and made a home for myself by filling it up goods. I’ve made dinner for the other outcasts that were forced to leave and thus they complain, I have accepted my leaving, and we’ve become fast friends. A woman like this no one understands, but I have become her.

I’ve travelled around a lot, and spread myself to different communities, I’ve been around a few times, and know my place well. I’ve been hurt both physically and emotionally, but still I am not afraid or embarrassed to die, I am that woman.