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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Sleeping on the Wings of Poetry

February 08, 2005

This week I've been reading some poems from Koch & Farrell's "Sleeping on the Wing."

One thing that I've noticed about poetry is that when I begin to read poetry, I begin to think in poetry. Which, I suppose, just goes to show that if you want to write bestseller experimental religious choose-your-own-thrillers in swedish, you've got to start studying your competition. and learn swedish. anyway...

Today's Poetry Du Jour:

>>> Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"

I've read this poems a few times, including last semester American Literature class. I realized today, however, that I had no idea what a tippet was so I decided to find out:

A tippet is "a stylish, snug-fitting neck piece that was worn in the days when Grandma didn't leave the house without her best hat on!"

Weird. I just made something similiar to that last snowy weekend. Word.

Gossamer is:


  1. A soft sheer gauzy fabric.

  2. Something delicate, light, or flimsy.

  3. A fine film of cobwebs often seen floating in the air or caught on bushes or grass.


Tulle then is:

"A fine, often starched net of silk, rayon, or nylon, used especially for veils, tutus, or gowns."

I like this poem because it gives a nice vivid image: a woman in a thin dress shivering next to death.

>>> Gerald Manely Hopkin's "God's Grandeur"

I figured this poem had to be good because the poet's middle name is "Manley." How could you go wrong? I enjoyed reading this poem aloud to myself. In fact, I may even go home tonight and read poetry to my cats. Who knows? The beginning of the poem starts out very heroic in tone: the world is charged, it will flame out, gathers to greatness. Next comes an image of mankind trying to stomp out a fire and ruining the greatness of earth. However, "And for all this, nature is never spent," even if mankind doesn't heed the greatness of god, it cannot destroy nature. I loved the end of the poem:

"Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

I think it's a nice upbeat ending to the poem.

You know what? I just want to note that I despise ripping apart poetry and analyzing it. I am trying to be open-minded, trying not to hate, but oooh I hate it. Okay, we return to our regular programming...

>>> William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say"

This poem is cute. I can imagine it being written by a man to his wife in the morning just before he leaves for work so that when she wakes up and wakes to the fridge to see this poem hanging there, she knows that he ate the plums. and liked them. I like it because it's ordinary. Just a regular guy writing a poem about plums.

I wouldn't say it's a *great* poem or anything, but it's definitely accessible by even the most hardcore poetry hater. (Not that *I'm* a hardcore poetry hater, mind you, I read poetry pretty frequently.)

>>> T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Hah! I like this poem. It's more like *almost* a love song since poor old J. Alfred doesn't actually get any lovin'.

The lines

"To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' "

Actually made me laugh out loud. My cats thought that was weird. But they are just waiting for me to croak anyway so they can feed on my flesh and have weird kitty Dionysian-style parties in my abandoned apartment. So screw 'em! But anyway...

I have to say that I'm pretty glad for the lady in question that J. Alfred decided not to ask his lady friend the dreaded question because J. Alfred is kinda creepy. Some lines to back this up:
"Like a patient etherised on a table"
"There will be time to murder and create,"
"I know the voices dying with a dying fall"
"spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways"
"Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress?"
"ragged claws" "malingers"
"I have seen my head ... brought in on a platter,"
"Till the human voices wake us, and we drown."

Honestly though, despite the almost creepiness of our dear friend J. Alfred, I like him. He's wordy, obtuse, balding, and a big scaredy cat. He's not a stalker, persay, he's just a lonely guy who's afraid to talk to chicks. You have to almost love him for it. (almost).

I love this part best:

"I am no prophet - and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid."

Hey, buddy, I feel your pain. Love stinks.

I like this one too:

"I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me."

Poor J. Alfred. Won't somebody love him?

Moira at 02:38 PM :: Comments (0) :: ::
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