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For A.P. English 12

Never give all the heart for love Will hardly seem worth thinking of To passionate women if it seem Certain, and they never dream That it fades out from kiss to kiss; For everything thats lovely is But a brief, dreamy, kind delight. O never give the heart outright, For they, for all smooth lips can say, Have given their hearts up to the play And who could play it well enough If deaf and dumb and blind with love? He that made this knows all the cost, For he gave all his heart and lost ____William Butler Yeats

1. Poetry 2. Installment the Second 3. Well, so I came 4. What is it you read, my lord? 5. Once more into the breach, Horatio 6. Verse and Worse 7. The best words in the best order 8. In the beginning 9. Astral Domes 10. Secrets 11. Sound and Sense 12. Dancin Spells 13. The Rhythm Method 14. Old Dogs and New Tricks 15. The Genie 16. Two for Free and Poems for Comparison 17. More Personal Subjective Unfair Analysis 18. Your Turn (practice) 19. Your Turn (for real) 20. Bibliography / Acknowledgements 105 110 118 164 5 11 18 23 33 41 46 51 59 66 71 74 81 87 90 99

Welcome to the Amalgamated Home Study Programme for the reading and understanding and even (yoicks) critical appreciation (not Crr-r-itical appreciation? [cf. Waiting for Godot] but yes ! ) of, dare we say _____ poetry. First, you read the poem all the way through, no matter what matter matters or doesnt. Just read it. Preferably aloud, preferably to an audience (Mom or Dad or Bud or Sis, but even, if necessary, to Fluffy or Spot). If you must read the poem to yourself, sound its words in your mind. You can not, may not, must not try to read poetry with music on or TVs on. It just doesnt work that way. On your second trip through, read for the exact sense of all the words. Look up words in the dictionary, all of the words that you dont know or that youre not sure of. D w e l l on the poem for as long as it takes for you to understand it. Next, paraphrase the poor thing. Sure, its heartless and cruel to reduce a poem to its prose meaning, but dont worry. If its a good poem, itll take it. Besides, what better way to demonstrate the difference between poetry and prose? Consider: LOVELIEST OF TREES, THE CHERRY NOW Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide Now of my threescore years and ten Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score It only leaves me fifty more And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow

Wasnt that nice? and relatively painless? Now try to paraphrase it, after first impressing an audience with your declamatory powers.

What did you get? You have to write down all these interpretations, natch; its too easy to lie to ourselves, isnt it? Here, have some World and Time (and some Space, too) [cf. "To His Coy Mistress."]

Well, Ill bet you came up with something very much like . . . this. Now it is Easter time, and the cherry tree in the woods by the path is in blossom. Im twenty, my life is passing. I expect to live the average life span of seventy [score equals 20, three times twenty (+10) equals 70, ta-da.] That means that Im only going to see seventy springs, so I had better go out into the woods and start looking. (Life is brief and fleeting: I must enjoy beauty while I may.)

Terminology: Theme central thought Subject central topic (Watch out for these bold italicized words. They are usually very important.)

Quiz time (you see? I told you [cf. The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Firesign Theater, How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When Youre not Anywhere at All])

What is this poems theme?

What is this poems subject?

STORY TIME (yay) Robert Browning was asked to explain his difficult poem Sordello and replied that when it was written, only God and he knew what it meant, but Now, only God knows. Moderate applause, some consternation, some people looking up consternation. Still, we must try to analyze the poem as if we can be sure. The other path leads to unacceptable subjectivity. If you cant stand the poem because cherries remind you of blood, you are reading a poem of your own and not A. E. Housmans. Terminology Lyric Poetry- A short poem expressing the thoughts and feelings of a single speaker Narrative poetry- A poem the main concern of which is to tell a story Didactic poetry- A poem apparently written to teach or state a lesson Now, we are going to read three more poems. Heres your chance to apply some of this wonderful knowledge. Dont you feel better by the moment? I know I do. Ready? Were just waiting for the end of the page is what were doing [cf. Alices Restaurant, by A. Guthrie]. Hm, hm, --ything you want, at Alices Restaurant, walk on down its around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track, and you can get anything you want EVERYBODY NOW, at Alices Restaurant, dadoodadoodadoodadoo, at Al-i-ces Res-es-tau-rant dah dada dum

Robert Francis CATCH Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together, Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, every hand, Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes, High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop, Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as-possible miss it, Fast, let him sting for it, now, now fool him slowly, Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant, Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy, Over the tree and the long sweet cadence down, Over his head, make him scramble to pick up the meaning And now, like a posy, a pretty one plump in his hands. *****

Who are these boys? What are the most important similarities in this extended comparison?

Donald Finkel HANDS The poem makes truth a little more disturbing, like a good bra, lifts it and holds it out in both hands (in some of the flashier stores theres a model with the hands stitched on, in red or black). Lately the world you wed, for want of such hands, sags in the bed beside you like a tired wife. For want of such hands, the face of the moon is bored, the tree does not stretch and yearn, nor the groin tighten. Devious or frank, in any case, the poem is calculated to arouse. Lean back and let its hands play freely on you. There comes a moment, lifted and aroused, when the two of you are beautiful. *****

The poem is playful, but still it makes some serious points about the nature of poetry. How does real life relate to poetry? How can the world seem poorer without poetry? How can the reader be lifted and aroused?

Robinson Jeffers TO THE STONE-CUTTERS Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated Challengers of oblivion, Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down, The square-limbed Roman letters Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well Builds his monument mockingly, For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun Die blind, his heart blackening: Yet stones have stood for a thousand years and pained thought found The honey of peace in old poems. SELFTEST (Oh, no. Do we gotta? Well, no, you can always curse Ford and die_ intellectually [cf. Job.] Verbalize your immediate response to the above poem. Heres some space.

Answer 1 Damn, thats a good poem Answer 2 There are no other good answers.

Heres a freebie by W.B. Yeats ON BEING ASKED FOR A WAR POEM I think it best in times like these A poets mouth be silent, for in truth We have no gift to set a statesman right. He has had enough of meddling who can please A young girl in the indolence of her youth, Or an old man upon a winters night. **** And something else you didnt notice, it rhymes a b c a b c



Tonight we consider the voice that speaks to us when we read a poem. Having neither visual evidence of the speakers attitude (Smile when you say that, pardner.), nor the sound of a voice (Young man, dont speak to me in that tone of voice.), we are forced to rely on the authors choice of certain words instead of others, or the selection of details to be presented (cherry blossoms instead of lethal pinkening) for evidence of the way he feels about his topic, theme, and audience. Terminology Tone The poets attitude toward his subject as it colors his selection of vocabulary Theodore Roethke MY PAPAS WALTZ The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy, But I hung on like death: Such waltzing wasnt easy. We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mothers countenance Could not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle. You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt. *****

Okay, whats the tone of the poem? Is it somber, sarcastic, serious, reminiscent, lightly or bombastically funny, sentimental, bitter, ironic, solemn, neutral, or what? Or what combinations?


Countee Cullen FOR A LADY I KNOW She even thinks that up in heaven Her class lies late and snores, While poor black cherubs rise at seven To do celestial chores. ***** Okay, whats the tone? How do you know?

(That one is easy, isnt it?) Alden Nowlan From THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER My wife bursts into the room Where Im writing well Of my love for her And because now The poem is lost I silently curse her. ***** What . . . ? How . . . ? What a creep! But who is the creep (creep = gender neutral)? Did she know he was writing? Writing well? Writing about her? How can he love her and curse her? Whats more important here anyway the poem, possibly immortal, or whatever she had to do in the room? Sounds like a clear-cut case of carpet diem. (from the Old Latin You walk all over me every day, with the variant spelling carp-it diem, or roughly You complain excessively on a daily basis) What do you think?

(That one isnt as easy is it?)


Countee Cullen YET DO I MARVEL I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must someday die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus To struggle up a never-ending stair. Inscrutable His ways are, and immune To catechism by a mind too strewn With petty cares to slightly understand What awful brain compels His awful hand. Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: To make a poet black, and bid him sing! ***************** Would you say the tone of this poem is bitter, cynical, skeptical, dubious, puzzled, or something else? Inasmuch as the appeal is always to the text, what evidence can you adduce to support your position?


Thomas Hardy NEUTRAL TONES We stood by the pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God And a few leaves lay on the starving sod; _They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove Over tedious riddles of years ago, And some words played between us to and fro On which lost the more by our love. The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing Alive enough to have the strength to die; And a smile of bitterness swept thereby Like an ominous bird a-wing . . . . Since then, keen lessons that love deceives And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree, And a pond edged with graying leaves. ******************

William Carlos Williams THE RED WHEELBARROW

So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens. ************************


John Betjeman IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY Let me take this other glove off As the vox humana swells, And the beauteous fields of Eden Bask beneath the Abbey bells. Here, where Englands statesmen lie. Listen to a ladys cry. Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans. Spare their women for thy sake, And if that is not too easy We will pardon Thy Mistake. But, gracious Lord, whateer shall be, Dont let anyone bomb me. Keep our Empire undismembered, Guide our forces by Thy Hand, Gallant blacks from far Jamaica, Honduras and Togoland, Protect them, Lord, in all their fights, And, even more, protect the whites. Think of what our Nation stands for: Books from Boots and country lanes, Free speech, free passes, class distinction, Democracy and proper drains. Lord, put beneath Thy special care One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square. Although dear Lord I am a sinner, I have done no major crime. Now Ill come to Evening Service Whensoever I have the time So Lord, reserve for me a crown, And do not let my stocks go down. I will labour for Thy Kingdom, Help our lads to win the war, Send white feathers to the cowards, Join the Womens Army Corps, Then wash the steps around Thy Throne In the Eternal Safety Zone.


Now I feel a little better, What a treat to hear Thy Word, Where the bones of leading statesmen Have so often been interred. And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait Because I have a luncheon date ******************** Terminology irony a manner of speaking that implies discrepancy verbal irony words say one thing but mean something else, usually the opposite sarcasm conspicuously bitter, heavy-handed, and mocking verbal irony dramatic irony a character, whose knowledge is limited, says, does, or encounters something of greater significance than he realizes cosmic irony some Fate with a grim sense of humor seems cruelly to trick a human being ironic point of view discrepancy between the writers attitude and what is spoken by a fictitious character Got all that? James Stevens A GLASS OF BEER The lanky hank of a she in the inn over there Nearly killed me for asking for the loan of a glass of beer; May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair, And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year. That parboiled ape, with the toughest jaw you will see On virtues path and a voice that would rasp the dead, Came roaring and raging the minute she looked at me, And threw me out of the house on the back of my head! If I asked her master hed give me a cask a day; But she, with a beer at hand, not a gill would arrange! May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange


Edwin Brock FIVE WAYS TO KILL A MAN There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man: you can make him carry a plank of wood to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this properly you require a crowd of people wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar, and one man to hammer the nails home. Or you can take a length of steel, shaped and chased in a traditional way, and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears. But for this you need white horses, English trees, men with bows and arrows, at least two flags, a prince and a castle to hold your banquet in. Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind allows, blow gas at him But then you need a mile of mud sliced through with ditches, not to mention black boots, bomb craters, more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs, and some round hats made of steel. In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly miles above your victim and dispose of him by pressing one small switch All you then require is an ocean to separate you, two systems of government, a nations scientists, several factories, a psychopath and land that no one needs for several years. These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century, and leave him there. ********************


III. Well, so I came . . .

Nothing new to introduce this time, just some more chances to hear new voices and different accents. Listen . . . W. B. Yeats THE COMING OF WISDOM WITH TIME Though leaves are many, the root is one; Through all the lying days of my youth I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun; Now I may wither into the truth. ********* Is the poet exulting over a gain or lamenting over a loss? Robert Frost THE TELEPHONE When I was just as far as I could walk From here today, There was an hour All still When leaning with my head against a flower I heard you talk, Dont say I didnt, for I heard you say You spoke from that flower on the window sill Do you remember what it was you said? First tell me what you thought you heard. Having found the flower and driven a bee away, I leaned my head, And holding by the stalk, I listened and I thought I caught the word What was it? Did you call me by my name? Or did you say Someone said Come'I heard it as I bowed. I may have thought as much, but not aloud. Well, so I came. ***********


John Wakeman LOVE IN BROOKLYN I love you, Horowitz, he said and blew his nose. She splashed her drink. The hell you say, she said. Then, thinking hard, she lit a cigarette: Not love. You dont love me. You like my legs, and how I make your letters nice and all. You drunk your drink too fast. You dont love me. You wanna bet? he asked. You wanna bet? I loved you from the day they moved you up from Payroll, last July. I watched you, right? You sat there on that typing chair you have and swung round like a kid. It made me shake. Like once, in World War II, I saw a tank slide through some trees at dawn like it was god. Thats how you make me feel. I dont know why. She turned towards him, then sat and grinned, and on the bar stool swung full circle round. You think Im like a tank, you mean? she asked. Some fellers tell me nicer things than that. But then she saw his face and touched his arm and softly said, Im only kidding you. He ordered drinks, the same again, and paid, A fat man, wordless, staring at the floor. She took his hand in hers and pressed it hard, _____________ *************** You may think the above poem is unfinished, and so it is. You fill in the last line. Free prize to the winner. Contrast this poem in tone with The Telephone.


Alexander Pope ENGRAVED ON THE COLLAR OF A DOG WHICH I GAVE TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS I am his Highness dog at Kew. Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

Ruff (!) question. We may be barking up the wrong tree, or vice versa, but everybody has some kind of ball and chain So, uh, hi, whats your sign? havent we met before? buy you a drink? ya wanna dance? say, just whose dog are you, anyway?

Alfred, Lord Tennyson CROSSING THE BAR Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar When I put out to sea. But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, And after that, the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell When I embark; For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.



Ted Hughes SECRETARY If I should touch her, she would shriek and weeping Crawl off to nurse the terrible wound: all Day like a starling under the bellies of bulls She hurries among men, ducking and peeping, Off in a whirl at the first move of a horn. At dusk she scuttles down the gauntlet of lust Like a clockwork mouse. Safe home at last She mends her socks with holes, shirts that are torn, For father and brother, and a delicate supper cooks: Goes to bed early, shuts out with a light Her thirty years, and lies with buttocks tight, Hiding her lovely eyes until day break. ********* Too good to pass up. Oh, the poem is a little dated, archaic, but what a chance for a parallel poem! Suggested title: The Boss, but you can choose your own. Make sure the rhythm is right, as well as the number of lines, the rhyme scheme, and for you geniuses, the enjambement, (that is the carrying over of meaning past the end of the line, e.g., ll. 8-9)


A. Nonymous LOVE Theres the wonderful love of a beautiful maid, And the love of a staunch true man. And the love of a baby thats unafraid All have existed since time began. But the most wonderful love, the Love of all loves, Even greater than the love for Mother, Is the infinite, tenderest, passionate love Of one dead drunk for another. ********* Were about ready now to go into another aspect of poetry, that of the distinction between connotation and denotation, and the importance of choosing the right words or phrases, but thats for another time, so well close with . . . STORY TIME (yay): Although successful as a painter, Edgar Dgas (day-gah) struggled to produce sonnets, and found poetry discouragingly hard to write. To his friend, the poet Etienne Mallarm, he complained, Un mtier comme a! Jai pass toute la journe en essayant de composer un sonnet sans aucun succs . . . et ce ne sont pas les ides que je manque . . . jen suis plein . . . jen ai trop. Mais, Dgas, said Mallarm, on ne fait pas de pomes avec les ides, on en fait avec les mots!

So let that be a lesson to us all.


IV. "What is it you read, my lord?"

'Tis the season to shoot some hoops. Ready? Richard Hugo IN YOUR YOUNG DREAM You are traveling to play basketball. Your teams a good one, boys you knew when you were young. A games in Wyoming, a small town, a gym in a grammar school. You go in to practice. No nets on the hoops. You say to the coach, a small man, mean face, " We need nets on the rims." He sneers as if you want luxury. You explain how this way you cant see the shots go in. You and another player, vaguely seen, go out to buy nets. A neon sign on a local tavern gives directions to the next town, a town a woman you loved lives in. You go to your room to phone her, to tell her you're here just one town away to play ball. She's already waiting in your room surrounded by children. She says, "I'll come watch you play ball." Though young in your dream, you know you are old. You are troubled. You know you need nets on the rims. ***************** Start with the question: Who is the "you" in the poem? Assess the need for nets on the rims. What's with the woman? and the children? Are they nets?


Remember that the effect of irony depends on the reader's noticing some incongruity or discrepancy between two things. In verbal irony, there is a contrast between a speaker's words and meaning; in an ironic point of view, between the writer's attitude and what is spoken by a fictitious character; in dramatic irony, between the limited knowledge of a character and the fuller knowledge of the reader or spectator; in cosmic irony, between a character's aspiration and the treatment s/he receives at the hands of Fate. We had best be alert for irony on the printed page, for if we miss it, our interpretation of a poem may go wild.

Robert Creeley OH NO If you wander far enough you will come to it and when you get there they will give you a place to sit for yourself only, in a nice chair, and all your friends will be there with smiles on their faces and they will likewise have places. ******** What is the first hint that this poem will include verbal irony? Explain this poem from four different personae: parent, a baby, an elderly person. a student, a



(To JS/07/M/378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State) He was found by the bureau of statistics to be One against whom there was no official complaint, And all the reports on his conduct agree That, in the modern sense of the old-fashioned word, he was a saint, For in everything he did he served the Greater Community. Except for the War till the day he retired He worked in a factory and never got fired, But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc. Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views, For his Union reports that he paid his dues, (Our report on his Union shows it was sound) And our Social Psychology workers found That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink. The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way. Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured, And his Health-card shows that he was once in hospital but left it cured. Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan And had everything necessary to the Modern Man, A phonograph, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire. Our researchers into Public Opinion are content That he held the proper opinions for the time of year; When there was peace, he was for peace; and when there was war, he went. He was married and added five children to the population, Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation, And our teachers report that he never interfered with


their education. Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard. ********* Who is speaking?

What ironic discrepancies are there between the speaker's attitude toward the subject and that of the poet himself?

How do you know?

What is the first rhyme in the poem?

What tendencies in our civilization does Auden satirize?

Terminology: denotation the dictionary meaning(s) of a word connotation the meanings a word suggests beyond its denotation, the overtones of meaning vulgate speech not much affected by schooling colloquial the casual conversation or informal writing of literate people general English most literate speech and writing, but not pretentious formal English the impersonal language of educated persons, usually only written, possibly spoken on dignified occasions Be aware that there is no general agreement on labels.


James Emanuel THE NEGRO Never saw him. Never can. Hypothetical, Haunting man. Eyes a-saucer Yessir bossir, Dice a-clicking, Razor flicking. The-ness froze him In a dance. A-ness never had a chance. ****** Summarize the theme of the poem. What apects of the-ness or aness have you experienced? have you subjected others to?

Write a parallel poem on a subject of your choice, modeling "The Negro."


A. Nonymous CARNATION MILK Carnation Milk is the best in the land; Here I sit with a can in my hand No tits to pull, no hay to pitch, You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch. *****

George Starbuck VERSES TO EXHAUST MY STOCK OF FOUR-LETTER WORDS From the ocean floors, where the necrovores Of the zooogenous mud Fight for their share, to the Andes where Bullllamas thunder and thud, And even thence to the heavens, whence Archchurchmen appear to receive The shortwave stations of rival nations Of angels: "Believe! Believe!" They battle, they battlepoor put-upon cattle, Each waging, reluctantly, That punitive war of the disagreeor Which falls to the disagreeee. *****


In 1931, nine black youths of Scottsboro, Alabama, were arrested and charged with the rape of two white women. Though eventually, after several trials, they were found not guilty, some of them at the time this song was composed had been convicted and sentenced to death.

A. Nonymous SCOTTSBORO Paper came outdone strewed de news Seven po' chillun moanin' deat' house blues, Seven po' chillun moanin' deat' house blues. Seven nappy heads wit' big shiny eye All boun' in jail and framed to die, All boun' in jail and framed to die. Messin' white womansnake lyin' tale Hang and burn and jail wit' no bail. Dat hang and burn and jail wit' no bail. Worse ol' crime in white folks' lan' Black skin coverin' po' workin' man, Black skin coverin' po' workin' man. Judge and juryall in de stan' Lawd, biggety name for the same lynchin' ban', Lawd, biggety name for the same lynchin' ban'. White folk and nigger in great co't house Like cat down cellar wit' nohole mouse, Like cat down cellar wit' nohole mouse. ***** Comment on the following statement: "Printing poetry in dialect, such as 'Scottsboro,' insults the literacy of a people."


John Masefield CARGOES Quinquiremes of Nineveh from distant Ophir, Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine, With a cargo of ivory, And apes and peacocks, Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine. Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus, Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores, With a cargo of diamonds, Emeralds, amethysts, Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores. Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack, Butting through the Channel on the mad March days, With a cargo of Tyne coal, Rock-rails, pig-lead, Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays. ***** Wallace Stevens DISILLUSIONMENT OF TEN O'CLOCK The houses are haunted By white night-gowns. None are green, Or purple with green rings, Or green with yellow rings, Or yellow with blue rings. None of them are strange, With socks of lace And beaded ceintures. People are not going To dream of baboons and periwinkles. Only, here and there, an old sailor, Drunk and asleep in his old boots, Catches tigers In red weather. *****


Langston Hughes CROSS My old man's a white old man And my mother's black. If I ever cursed my white old man I take my curses back.

If ever I cursed my black old mother And wished she were in hell, I'm sorry for that evil wish And now I wish her well. My old man died in a fine big house. My ma died in a shack. I wonder where I'm gonna die, Being neither white nor black. *****

What are the meanings of the title?

And now. one last poem, this is a sonnet by the immortal Bard of Avon. William Shakespeare WHEN MY LOVE SWEARS THAT SHE IS MADE OF TRUTH When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies, That she might think me some untutored youth, Unlearned in the world's false subtleties. Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although she knows my days are past the best, Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue; On both sides thus is simple truth supprest. But wherefore says she not she is unjust? And wherefore say not I that I am old? Oh, love's best habit is in seeming trust, And age in love loves not to have years told: Therefore I lie with her and she with me, And in our faults by lies we flattered be.


Hey! Who is kidding whom? And what is the tone of the poem that is, the attitude of the speaker toward the situation?

An epigrambecause I can't resist. Timothy Steele EPITAPH Here lies Sir Tact, a diplomatic fellow Whose silence was not golden, but just yellow. ***** How about trying your hand at epigrams? It's a great way to stick it to someone, and if you can get people to laugh as well . . . hey! it's the poetic dozens.


V. "Once more into the breach, Horatio!"

First a justification, in case it be needed. I'm giving you all these terms and definitions and examples for a purpose. Knowledge of terminology does not make us understand poetry. Knowledge of "power play," "box-and-one," "cross body block," and "corner kick" doesn't automatically make us better athletes, either. What this knowledge does do is that it enables us to understand people when they talk about poetry, and it can help us talk and write intelligently ourselves. Terminology is not an end in itself, but rather a means to another end: the sensitive and intelligent discussion of poetry. You may be seated. Sermon over. Remember our discussion of levels of diction. Try this poem on for effect. I warn you, you may find yourself touched. . . . A.E. Housman SHAKE HANDS, WE SHALL NEVER BE FRIENDS Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over; I only vex you the more I try. All's wrong that ever I've done or said, And nought to help it in this dull head; Shake hands, here's luck, good-bye. But if you come to a road where danger Or guilt or anguish or shame's to share, Be good to the lad that loves you true And the soul that was born to die for you, And whistle and I'll be there. ***** Don't even try to paraphrase this one. It will forgive you, but I won't. Isn't that just about the most beautiful way you've ever heard to say "I love you," without saying "I love you"? A frequent misconception of poetic language is that the poet seeks always the most beautiful or noble-sounding words. What he really seeks are the most meaningful words, and these vary from one context to another. The poet's task is one of constant exploration and discovery. He searches always for the secret affinities of words that allow them to be brought together with soft explosions of meaning.


Robert Graves THE NAKED AND THE NUDE For me, the naked and the nude (By lexicographers construed As synonyms that should express The same deficiency of dress Or shelter) stand as wide apart As love from lies, or truth from art. Lovers without reproach will gaze On bodies naked and ablaze; The Hippocratic eye will see In nakedness, anatomy; And naked shines the Goddess when She mounts her lion among men. The nude are bold, the nude are sly To hold each treasonable eye. While draping by a showman's trick Their dishabille in rhetoric, They grin a mock-religious grin Of scorn at those of naked skin. The naked, therefore, who compete Against the nude may know defeat; Yet when they both together tread The briary pastures of the dead, By Gorgons with long whips pursued, How naked go the sometime nude! ***** What, for the poet, is the difference between "naked" and "nude"? Try to explain reasons for the difference. If your own sense of the two words differs from that of Graves, state the difference and give reasons to support your sense of them.


Mason Williams YOU DONE STOMPT ON MY HEART I told you that I loved you And you said "That is good." I called you my darlin' And I thought I always would. But now you've gone and left me And I don't know where you're at. You done stompt on my heart And mashed that sucker flat! You done stompt on my heart, You broke it all apart. Sweetheart, you just sorta Stompt on my aorta. You started steppin' out with guys, I felt us drift apart And every step you took Was a stomp upon my heart. I only hope that someday, When you have got the blues In some lonely room You look down at your shoes, And think about the tender heart You crushed beneath the soles When your young body craved Good times and fancy clothes. *****


Henry Reed NAMING OF PARTS To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day, To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens, And to-day we have naming of parts. This is the lower sling swivel. And this Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see, When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel, Which in your case, you have not got. The branches Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures, Which in our case we have not got. This is the safety-catch, which is always released With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see Any of them using their finger. And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers: They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt, And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance, Which in our case we have not got; and the almondblossom Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards, For to-day we have naming of parts. *********


Henry Reed JUDGING DISTANCES Not only how far away, but the way that you say it Is very important. Perhaps you may never get The knack of judging a distance, but at least you know How to report on a landscape: the central sector, The right of arc and that, which we had last Tuesday, And at least you know That maps are of time, not place, so far as the army Happens to be concernedthe reason being, Is one which need not delay us. Again, you know There are three kinds of tree, three only, the fir and the poplar, And those which have bushy tops too; and lastly That things only seem to be things. A barn is not called a barn, to put it more plainly, Or a field in the distance, where sheep may be safely grazing. You must never be over-sure. You must say, when reporting: At five o'clock in the central sector is a dozen Of what appear to be animals; whatever you do, Don't call the bleeders sheep. I am sure that's quite clear; and suppose, for the sake of example, The one at the end, asleep, endeavors to tell us What he sees over there to the west, and how far away, After first having come to attention. There to the west, On the fields of summer the sun and the shadows bestow Vestments of purple and gold. The still white dwellings are like a mirage in the heat And under the swaying elms a man and a woman Lie gently together. Which is, perhaps, only to say That there is a row of houses to the left of the arc, And that under some poplars a pair of what appear to be humans Appear to be loving.


Well that, for an answer, is what we might rightly call Moderately satisfactory only, the reason being, Is that two things have been omitted, and those are important. The human beings, now: in what direction are they, And how far away, would you say? And do not forget There may be dead ground in between. There may be dead ground in between; and I may not have got The knack of judging a distance; I will only venture A guess that perhaps between me and the apparent lovers (Who, incidentally, appear by now to have finished,) At seven o'clock from the houses, is roughly a distance Of about one year and a half. *****

Edward Arlington Robinson RICHARD CORY Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean-favored, and imperially slim. And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good morning," and he glittered when he walked. And he was richyes, richer than a king And admirably schooled in every grace: In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place. So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head. *****


Paul Simon RICHARD CORY They say that Richard Cory owns One half of this old town, With political connections To spread his wealth around. Born into society, A banker's only child, He had everything a man could want: Power, grace, and style. Refrain: But I, I work in his factory And I curse the life I'm livin' And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be Oh I wish that I could be Richard Cory The papers print his picture Almost everywhere he goes: Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show, And the rumor of his party And the orgies on his yacht Oh he surely must be happy With everything he's got. (Refrain) He freely gave to charity, He had the common touch, And they were grateful for his patronage And they thanked him very much, So my mind was filled with wonder When the evening papers read: "Richard Cory went home last night And put a bullet through his head." (Refrain) *****


Robert Frost FIRE AND ICE Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice. *****


VI. Verse and Worse

Thomas Hardy THE MAN HE KILLED Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have set us down to wet Right many a napperkin! But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, And killed him in my place. I shot him dead because Because he was my foe, Just so; my foe of course he was; That's clear enough; although He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, Off-hand likejust as I Was out of workhad sold his traps No other reason why. Yes; quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down You'd treat, if met where any bar is, Or help to half-a-crown. ***** Summarize the subject and theme of "The Man He Killed"

The speaker seems to be in the throes of self-examination. How sure of himself is he? Where is the first indication of wavering in his account of the matter?

This might be a good time to introduce litotes and hyperbole. You might know their American cousins, understatement and exaggeration/ overstatement, often used for irony. Where are the examples of litotes? What purposes do they serve? Explain.


Robert Herrick HOW ROSES CAME RED Roses at first were white, Till they could not agree Whether my Sappho's breast Or they more white should be. But being vanquished quite; A blush their cheeks bespread; Since when (believe the rest) The roses first came red. ***** Does this poem rely on litotes or on hyperbole? (duh) What purposes are served?

What virtues of his "Sappho" (generic name for any enamorata; the male equivalent is uh, you see, there weren't many women poets in English literature. Sure, sure, I know QEI wrote some. [Queen Elizabeth I, for whom the Elizabethan Era was named, but hey, she was Queen; she could do anything she wanted to. Take for instance her moniker "The Virgin Queen." See what I mean?] Later, of course, among the Pre-Raphaelites, there was Christina Rossetti, and in the Victorian Age, there was Elizabeth Barrett Browning [How do I love thee? Let me count the ways"], but what about George Eliot, who had to use a male name to get published? Or Charlotte B? See what I mean?) does Herrick extol? (Confused? GOTO the beginning of the sentence for the direct object of "extol.")

Mari Evans WHEN IN ROME Marrie dear the box is full. . . take whatever you like to eat. . .


(an egg or soup . . . there ain't no meat) there's endive there and cottage cheese. . . (whew! if I had some black-eyed peas. . . ) there's sardines on the shelves and such. . . but don't get my anchovies. . . they cost too much! (me get the anchovies indeed! what she think, she got a bird to feed?) there's plenty in there to fill you up. . . (yes'm, just the sight's enough! Hope I lives till I get home I'm tired of eatin' what they eats in Rome. . .) ***** What is the allusion (reference, especially Biblical, mythic, literary, or folkloric) in the title? How does it apply to the poem?


Lawrence Ferlinghetti CONSTANTLY RISKING ABSURDITY Constantly risking absurdity and death whenever he performs above the heads of his audience the poet like an acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making and balancing on eyebeams above a sea of faces paces his way to the other side of day performing entrechats and sleight-of-foot tricks and other high theatrics and all without mistaking any thing for what it may not be For he's the super realist who must perforce perceive taut truth before the taking of each stance or step in his supposed advance towards that still higher perch where Beauty stands and waits with gravity to start her death-defying leap And he a little charleychaplin man who may or may not catch her fair eternal form spread-eagled in the empty air of existence. *****


Another poet discussing poetry. Explore the imagery and enjoy the puns. Mostly, though, look how exactly the metaphor, or even conceit, plays out. Does the poet succeed? Does this poet succeed?

Philip Larkin A STUDY OF READING HABITS When getting my nose in a book Cured most things short of school, It was worth ruining my eyes To know I could still keep cool, And deal out the old right hook To dirty dogs twice my size. Later, with inch-thick specs, Evil was just my lark: Me and my cloak and fangs Had ripping times in the dark. The women I clubbed with sex! I broke them up like meringues. Don't read much now: the dude Who lets the girl down before The hero arrives, the chap Who's yellow and keeps the store, Seem far too familiar. Get stewed: Books are a load of crap. *****

Yeah, right, he's bad. Note how self-assured the speaker is at each stage of his life. By the way, what are the three stages of life the speaker describes? What attitudes and behaviors are described in each stage. How reliable is the speaker?


VII. "The best words in the best order"

So Samuel Taylor Coleridge was just sitting there with his buddies, and he said, "I would like to offer two homely definitions of prose and poetry," he said, said he, "that is, prose: words in their best order; poetry: the best words in the best order." What would happen if you said something like that to your buddies when you were just sitting around? E.E. Cummings ANYONE LIVED IN A PRETTY HOW TOWN anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter he sang his didn't he danced his did Women and men (both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed their isn't they reaped their same sun moon stars rain children guessed (but only a few and down they forgot as up they grew autumn winter spring summer) that noone loved him more by more when by now and tree by leaf she laughed his joy she cried his grief bird by snow and stir by still anyone's any was all to her someones married their everyones laughed their cryings and did their dance (sleep wake hope and then)they said their nevers they slept their dream stars rain sun moon (and only the snow can begin to explain how children are apt to forget to remember with up so floating many bells down)


one day anyone died i guess (and noone stooped to kiss his face) busy folk buried them side by side little by little and was by was all by all and deep by deep and more by more they dream their sleep noone and anyone earth by april wish by spirit and if by yes Women and men (both dong and ding) summer autumn winter spring reaped their sowing and went their came sun moon stars rain ***** Welcome to the world of E.E. Cummings and typographical poetry. What's going on here, anyway? Is there an order to this seeming nonsense? Well, sure, there is, and of a wondrous sort, too. A little hint might be in order. Cummings is probably the most painstaking poet you'll ever read. Every poem has an order, a secret. It just wasn't cool when he was writing to be a romantic, sentimental, compassionate human being. It was post-WWII, and everyone was really shaken by the enormity of the slaughter. Describe the life and love of "anyone" and "noone." ***** terminology: imagery the representation through language of sense experience; a word or sequence of words that refers to any sensory experience Robert Browning MEETING AT NIGHT The gray sea and the long black land; And the yellow half-moon large and low; And the startled little waves that leap In fiery ringlets from their sleep, As I gain the cove with pushing prow, And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.


Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach; Three fields to cross till a farm appears; A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch And blue spurt of lighted match, And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears, Than the two hearts beating each to each. *****

Imagery is an important resource to the poet because it can evoke vivid experience, convey emotion, suggest ideas, and cause a mental reproduction of sensations. In general, the poet will seek concrete or image-bearing words in preference to abstract or non-image-bearing words. Describe each of the sensory impressions in the poem. Which senses are appealed to? How effective are the images? What is the most striking image to you?


Ready for another drink of love poetry? How about a wry, not on the rocks, with a twist? Richard Wilbur A LATE AUBADE You could be sitting now in a carrel Turning some liver-spotted page, Or rising in an elevator-cage Toward Ladies' Apparel. You could be planting a raucous bed Of salvia, in rubber gloves, Or lunching through a screed of someone's loves With pitying head, Or making some unhappy setter Heel, or listening to a bleak Lecture on Schoenberg's serial technique. Isn't this better? Think of all the time you are not Wasting, and would not care to waste, Such things, thank God, not being to your taste. Think what a lot Of time, by woman's reckoning, You've saved, and so may spend on this, You who had rather lie in bed and kiss Than anything. It's almost noon, you say? If so, Time flies, and I need not rehearse The rosebuds-theme of centuries of verse. If you must go, Wait for a while, then slip downstairs And bring us up some chilled white wine, And some blue cheese, and crackers, and some fine Ruddy-skinned pears. ***** What clues are there in the poem to the characters and personalities of the two people involved? How does the last stanza provide a fitting conclusion to the poem?


Adrienne Rich LIVING IN SIN She had thought the studio would keep itself; no dust upon the furniture of love. Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal, the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears, a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat stalking the picturesque amusing mouse had risen at his urging. Not that at five each separate stair would writhe under the milkman's tramp; that morning light so coldly would delineate the scraps of last night's cheese and three sepulchral bottles; that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own envoy from some village in the moldings. . . Meanwhile, he, with a yawn, sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard, declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror, rubbed his beard, went out for cigarettes; while she, jeered by the minor demons, pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found a towel to dust the table-top, and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove. By evening she was back in love again, though not so wholly but throughout the night she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming like a relentless milkman up the stairs. ***** On what central contrast is the poem based? What is its central mood or emotion? Discuss the various kinds of imagery used and their function in conveying the experience of the poem. What is this business about the milkman? In what ways is this an appropriate image?


Sometimes the dramatist makes use of imagery to try to illustrate the depth of feeling of his characters. Romeo He jests at scars that never felt a wound. [Juliet appears above at a window.] But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were! She speaks, yet she says nothing: what of that? Her eye discourses; I will answer it. I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks: Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek! Juliet Ay me!

Romeo She speaks: O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art As glorious to this night, being o'er my head, As is the winged messenger of heaven Upon the white-upturned wondering eyes Of mortals that fall back to gaze upon him When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds And sails upon the bosom of the air.


VII. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the

earth./ And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters./ And God said, let there be light: and there was light./And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." Genesis : 1-4
Wallace Stevens suggested in "The Idea of Order at Key West" that one of the functions of the artistperhaps his primary functionis ordering experience. Perhaps as the poet takes public and private experience and filters it through his own vision to create a poem, he also orders disordered events. There are many ways the poet can accomplish this: by the imposition of regular rhythm and patterns of rhyme, by drawing metaphysical statements from events of human history, and by making comparisons between aspects of existence we did not suspect were similar in any way. The devices of simile and metaphor are relevant because they imply relationship between two or more fundamentally different things. What makes a poetic comparison different from any rhetorical exercise in comparison/contrast is that a good simile or metaphor has layers of meaning, has depth, and rewards reading and rereading. A bad simile or metaphor is either banal to begin with or else disintegrates to nonsense after much thought. Unfortunately, poetry (or pseudo-poetry) is full of trivial, superficial, casual comparisons, and most readers seem to lack the intelligence to distinguish between the banal and the beautiful.

terminology: simile comparison using "like" or "as." metaphor comparison between two different things not using those words


Okay, Okay, the poems. Try this modern haiku. Gary Snyder A great freight truck lit like a town through the dark stony desert. Or how about this song by Leonard Cohen, sung by Joe Cocker on Mad Dogs and Englishmen? BIRD ON A WIRE Like a bird on a wire Like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way to be free. Like a worm on a hook Like a knight from some old-fashioned book I have saved all my ribbons for thee. If I have been unkind I hope that you can just let it go by. If I have been untrue, I hope you know it was never to you. Like a baby stillborn Like a beast with his horn I have torn everyone who reached out for me. But I swear by this song And by all that I have done wrong I will make it all up to thee. I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch He said to me, "You must not ask for so much." And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door, She cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?" ***** Approach this one by describing the speaker as definitely as you can, but ignoring the similes. Then turn back to the similes and attempt to explain them one by one.


Archibald MacLeish (recognize the name?) ARS POETICA A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, Dumb As old medallions to the thumb, Silent as the sleeve-worn stone Of casement ledges where the moss has grown A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds. A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs, Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by twig the night-entangled trees, Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, Memory by memory the mind A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs. A poem should be equal to: Not true. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea A poem should not mean But be. *****

So we should not attempt to analyze and appreciate poetry? Hardly. Take the "history of grief" stanza and explore its possibilities.


F L A S H ! F L A S H ! F L A S H ! F L A S H ! (etc.) psst! Hey, metaphors tend to be, that is, tend to be less definite than similes. They therefore present more problems to critics attempting to translate multiple meanings into the cold, clear, denotative language of prose criticism. "Like" and "as" imply similarity in several respects; their omission leaves a naked (or is it "nude"?) "is," which is more encompassing. In The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard suggests that one of the reasons that car dealers spectacularly present convertibles in the showroom is that they knew that men, who at the time were the principal buyers of automobiles, were attracted by the mistress convertible but end up buying the wife sedan. Times have changed but you will observe the flashiness and "aerodynamic" design of cars to the present. Well, anyway, let's take her out for a spin.

E.E. Cummings

she being Brand

she being Brand -new; and you know consequently a little stiff I was careful of her and(having thoroughly oiled the universal joint tested my gas felt of her radiator made sure her springs were O. K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her up,slipped the clutch( and then somehow got into reverse she kicked what the hell)next minute i was back in neutral tried and again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. lev-er Rightoh and her gears being in A 1 shape passed from low through ing)my


second-in-to-high like greasedlightning) just as we turned the corner of Divinity avenue i touched the accelerator and give her the juice,good (it was the first ride and believe i we was happy to see how nice she acted right up to the last minute coming back down by the Public Gardens i slammed on the internalexpanding & externalcontracting brakes Bothatonce and brought allof her tremB -ling to a:dead. stand;Still) ***** Whew! No class discussion on this one, n'est-ce pas?

Richard Wilbur A SIMILE FOR HER SMILE Your smiling, or the hope, the thought of it, Makes in my mind such pause and abrupt ease As when the highway bridgegates fall, Balking the hasty traffic, which must sit On either side massed and staring, while Deliberately the drawbridge starts to rise: Then horns are hushed, the oilsmoke rarifies, Above the idling motors one can tell The packet's smooth approach, the slip, Slip of the silken river past the sides, The ringing of clear bells, the dip And slow cascading of the paddle wheel.


Three short ones. Sylvia Plath METAPHORS I'm a riddle in nine syllables, An elephant, a ponderous house, A melon strolling on two tendrils. O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers! This loaf's big with its yeasty rising. Money's new-minted in this fat purse. I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf. I've eaten a bag of green apples, Boarded the train there's no getting off. ***** Ruth Whitman CASTOFF SKIN She lay in her girlish sleep at ninety-six, small as a twig. Pretty good figure for an old lady, she said to me once. Then she crawled away, leaving a tiny stretched transparency behind her. When I kissed her paper cheek I thought of the snake, of his quick motion. ***** James C. Kilgore THE WHITE MAN PRESSED THE LOCKS Driving down the concrete artery, Away from the smoky heart, Through the darkening, blighted body, Pausing at varicose veins, The white man pressed the locks on all the sedan's doors, Sped toward the white corpuscles in the white arms hugging the black city.


IX. Astral Domes

"Life, like a dome of many-colored glass,/ Stains the white radiance of eternity."___Shelley, "Adonais" Another word or two about similes and metaphors. As mentioned before, a simile refers to only one characteristic that two things have in common, while a metaphor is not plainly limited in the number of resemblances it may indicate. Are the following examples similes or metaphors? Oh, my love is like a red, red rose. Oh, my love resembles a red, red rose. Oh, my love is redder than a rose. Oh, my love is a red, red rose. Oh, my love has red petals and sharp thorns. Oh, I placed my love into a long-stem vase And I bandaged my bleeding thumb. By the way, an implied metaphor assumes the comparison and omits both the connective (like or as) and the verb to be. William Blake TO SEE A WORLD IN A GRAIN OF SAND To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. ***** Emily Dickinson IT DROPPED SO LOW--IN MY REGARD It dropped so lowin my regard I heard it hit the ground And go to pieces on the Stones At bottom of my Mind Yet I blamed the Fate that flung itless Than I denounced Myself, For entertaining Plated Wares Upon my silver Shelf


Denise Levertov LEAVING FOREVER He says the waves in the ship's wake are like stones rolling away. I don't see it that way. But I see the mountain turning, turning away its face as the ship takes us away. ***** Exercise: Each of these quotations contains a simile or a metaphor. In each of these figures of speech, what two things is the poet comparing? Try to state exactly what you understand the two things have in common: the most striking similarity or similarities that the poet sees. 1. Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily like a dog looking for a place to sleep in, listen to it growling. --Elizabeth Bishop "Little Exercise" When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces --Algernon Charles Swinburne "Atalanta in Calydon" The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry Of bugles going by. --Bliss Carmen "A Vagabond Song" "Hope" is the thing with feathers-That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stopsat all --Emily Dickinson




5. Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve --Samuel Taylor Coleridge "Work Without Hope" 6. The finish of his hands shows oil, grain, knots where his work scarred him. --Carloyn Forche "Dulcimer Maker"


France Cornford THE GUITARIST TUNES UP With what attentive courtesy he bent Over his instrument Not as a lordly conqueror who could Command both wire and wood, But as a man with a loved woman might, Inquiring with delight What slight essential things she had to say Before they started, he and she, to play. ***** Robert Francis THE HOUND Life the hound equivocal Comes at a bound Either to rend me Or to befriend me. I cannot tell The hound's intent Till he has sprung At my bare hand With teeth or tongue. Meanwhile I stand And wait the event. ***** BEREFT by Robert Frost Where had I heard this wind before Change like this to a deeper roar? What would it take my standing there for, Holding open a restive door, Looking downhill to a frothy shore? Summer was past and day was past. Somber clouds in the west were massed. Out in the porch's sagging floor


Leaves got up in a coil and hissed, Blindly struck at my knee and missed. Something sinister in the tone Told me my secret must be known: Word I was in my house alone Somehow must have gotten abroad, Word I was in my life alone, Word I had no one left but God. terminology synecdochethe use of a part for a whole metonymythe use of something closely related for the thing actually meant apostrophea way of addressing someone or something invisible or not ordinarily spoken to hyperboleoverstatement litotesunderstatement paradoxa statement that appears self contradictory but on closer examination makes sense symbola metaphor with one leg of the comparison left implicit

John Boyle O'Reilly A WHITE ROSE The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; Oh, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud, With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest Has a kiss of desire on the lips. *****


Elizabeth Jennings DELAY The radiance of that star that leans on me Was shining years ago. The light that now Glitters up there my eye may never see And so the time lag teases me with how Love that loves now may not reach me until Its first desire is spent. The star's impulse Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful And love arrived may find us somewhere else. ***** Robert Frost TREE AT MY WINDOW Tree at my window, window tree, My sash is lowered when night comes on; But let there never be curtain drawn Between you and me. Vague dream-head lifted out the ground, And thing next most diffuse to cloud, Not all your light tongues talking aloud Could be profound. But, tree, I have seen you taken and tossed, And if you have seen me when I slept, You have seen me when I was taken and swept And all but lost. The day she put our heads together, Fate had her imagination about her, Your head so much concerned with outer, Mine with inner, weather. *****


Ishmael Reed .05 If i had a nickel For all the women who've Rejected me in my life I would be the head of the World Bank with a flunkie To hold my derby as i Jet to sign a check Giving India a new lease On life. If i had a nickel for All the women who've loved Me in my life i would be The World Bank's assistant Janitor and wouldn't need To wear a derby All i'd think about would Be going home. ***** Last poemtake heart. Ogden Nash VERY LIKE A WHALE One thing that literature would be greatly the better for Would be a more restricted employment by authors of simile and metaphor. Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons, or Celts, Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else. What does it mean when we are told That the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians. However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity, We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of


brevity. Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wolf on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are a great many things, But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings. No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof, Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and did he say Woof woof woof? Frankly I think it very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host. But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them. That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison. How about the man who wrote, Her little feet stole in and out like mice beneath her petticoat? Wouldn't anybody but a poet think twice Before stating that his girl's feet were like mice? Then they always say things like that after a winter storm The snow is a white blanket. Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.


X. Secrets
Robert Frost THE SECRET SITS We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. ***** Alistair Reid CURIOSITY may have killed the cat; more likely the cat was just unlucky, or else curious to see what death was like, having no cause to go on licking paws, or fathering litter on litter of kittens, predictably. Nevertheless, to be curious is dangerous enough. To distrust what is always said, what seems, to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams, leave home, smell rats, have hunches do not endear cats to those doggy circles where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches are the order of things, and where prevails much wagging of incurious heads or tails. Face it. Curiosity will not cause us to die only lack of it will. Never to want to see the other side of the hill or that improbable country where living is an idyll (although a probable hell) would kill us all. Only the curious have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all.


Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible, are changeable, marry too many wives, desert their children, chill all dinner tables with tales of their nine lives. Well, they are lucky. Let them be nine-lived and contradictory, curious enough to change, prepared to pay the cat price, which is to die and die again and again, each time with no less pain. A cat minority of one is all that can be counted on to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell on each return from hell is this: that dying is what the living do, that dying is what the loving do, and that dead dogs are those who do not know that dying is what, to live, each has to do. ***** Richard Wilbur A HOLE IN THE FLOOR The carpenter's made a hole In the parlor floor, and I'm standing Staring down into it now At four o'clock in the evening, As Schliemann stood when his shovel Knocked on the crowns of Troy. A clean-cut sawdust sparkles On the grey, shaggy laths, And here is a cluster of shavings From the time when the floor was laid. They are silvery-gold, the color Of Hesperian apple-parings. Kneeling, I look in under Where the joists go into hiding. A pure street, faintly littered With bits and strokes of light, Enters the long darkness Where its parallels will meet.


The radiator-pipe Rises in middle distance Like a shuttered kiosk, standing Where the only news is night. Here it's not painted green As it is in the visible world. For God's sake, what am I after? Some treasure, or tiny garden? Or that untrodden place, The house's very soul, Where time has stored our footbeats And the long skein of our voices? Not these, but the buried strangeness Which nourishes the known: That spring from which the floor-lamp Drinks now a wilder bloom, Inflaming the damask love-seat And the whole dangerous room. ***** A. R. Ammons AUTO MOBILE For the bumps bangs & scratches of collisive encounters madam I through time's ruts and weeds sought you, metallic, your stainless steel flivver: I have banged you, bumped and scratched, side-swiped, momocked & begommed you & your little flivver still works so well. *****


terminology: villanellea nineteen-line poem divided into five tercets and a final four-line stanza which uses only two rhymes. The division of verses is, then, aba, aba, aba, aba, aba, abaa. Line 1 is repeated entirely to form lines 6, 12, and 18, and line 3 is repeated entirely to form lines 9, 15, and 19. (the sestina is, incredibly, even more difficult) Theodore Roethke THE WAKING I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go. Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me; so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go. ***** Write a good expository, exploratory paper on this one. On this sort of assignment, take comfort in the impossibility of being wrong. The poem is so general that it admits billyuns and billyuns of interpretations You might try relating it to the study of poetry; at least that's the possibility that crossed my mind while typing it. Here's another one.


Robert Frost DUST OF SNOW The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.



Alexander Pope from Essay on Criticism True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learned to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense, The sound must seem an echo to the Sense. Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows; But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar. When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, The line too labors, and the words move slow; Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er th'unbending corn, and skims along the main. Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise, And bid alternate passions fall and rise! ***** terminology: euphony a style in which combinations of words pleasing to the ear predominate cacophony a harsh, unpleasant combination of sounds or tones onomatopoeia an attempt to represent a thing or action by a word that imitates the sound associated with it

John Updike WINTER OCEAN Many-maned scud-thumper, tub of male whales, maker of worn wood, shrubruster, sky-rocker, rave! portly pusher of waves, wind-slave. ***** Try writing a parallel poem on an appropriate topic.


terminology: alliteration succession of similar words initial alliteration such sounds occur at the beginning of words internal (hidden) alliteration such sounds occur inside words assonance same thing but with vowels instead

Janet Lewis GIRL HELP Mild and slow and young, She moves about the room, And stirs the summer dust With her wide broom. In the warm, lofted air, Soft lips together pressed, Soft wispy hair, She stops to rest, And stops to breathe, Amid the summer's hum, The great lilac bloom Scented with days to come. *****


terminology: rhyme (rime) sound device that occurs when two or more words or phrases contain an identical or similar vowel sound, usually accented, and the consonant sounds that follow the vowel sound are identical. slant, near, off, partial rime final consonant; sounds are the same, vowel sounds are not. end rime comes at the end of lines internal rime comes in the middle of lines eye rime spellings look alike but don't rime Robert Frost DESERT PLACES Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast In a field I looked into going past, And the ground almost covered smooth in snow, But a few weeks and stubble showing last. The woods around it have it it is theirs. All animals are smothered in their lairs, I am too absent-spirited to count; The loneliness includes me unawares. And lonely as it is, that loneliness Will be more lonely ere it will be less A blanker whiteness of benighted snow With no expression, nothing to express. They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places. *****


Gerard Manley Hopkins GOD'S GRANDEUR The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went, Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. *******



Gwendolyn Brooks WE REAL COOL We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. ***** Describe the rime and rhythm of the poem.

What is the tone of the poem? How do you know?

What irony do you find in the poem?

There was once a movement to ban this poem from English classes. What can you find in the poem to cause moral vigilance?


Barton Sutter SHOE SHOP I shut the door on the racket Of rush hour traffic, Inhale the earthy, thick Perfume of leather and pipe tobacco. The place might be a barbershop Where the air gets lathered with gossip. You can almost hear the whippersnap Of the straightedge on the razor strop. It might be a front for agitators, But there's no back room. A rabble Of boots and shoes lies tumbled In heaps like a hoard of potatoes. The cobbler, broad as a blacksmith, Turns a shoe over his pommel, Pummels the sole, takes the nail He's bit between his teeth, And drives it into the heel. Hunched At his workbench, he pays the old shoe More attention than me. "Help you?" He grunts, as if the man held a grudge Against business. He gives my run-over Loafer a look. "Plastic," he spits. "And foreign-made. Doubt I can fix it." I could be holding a gopher. "The Europeans might make good shoes, But I never see them. Cut the price. Advertise! Never mind the merchandise. You buy yourself a pair, brand new, "The welt will be cardboard Where it ought to be leather. There's nothing to hold the shoe together." He stows my pair in a cupboard.


"And all of them tan with acid. The Mexicans make fancy boots, but they cure Their leather in cow manure. Wear Them out in the rain once. Rancid? "I had a guy bring me a pair. Wanted me to get rid of the stink. Honest to God. I hate to think My customers are crazy, but I swear." He curses factories, inflation, And I welcome the glow of conspiracy. Together we plot, half-seriously, A counter industrial revolution. His pride's been steeped in bitterness, His politics tanned with elbow-grease. To hear him fume and bitch, you'd guess His guerilla warfare's hopeless. But talk about job satisfaction! To take a tack from a tight-lipped smile, Stick it like a thorn in an unworn sole, To heft the hammer and whack it! When I step back out in the street The city looks flimsy as a movie set. *****

Describe an epiphanic encounter you once had, that left you thinking that the "real world" was "flimsy as a movie set" in comparison. As a matter of fact, that assignment has such promise that you should probably turn it into one of your showcase portfolio entries. Feel free to use any form of writing you wish. Back to the poem. Trace as closely as possible the rime and nearrime scheme, alliteration, assonance, internal rime, consonance and anything else you can find.


terminology: (long session this time) stress (accent) the greater amount of force given to one syllable in speaking than is given to another meter fixed-interval-ed stresses iambic a succession of alternate unstressed and stressed syllables Note: Rhythms in poetry are due not only to stresses but also to pauses. A light but definite pause in a line of any length, after any word in the line, is called a cesura (or caesura). Storytime ("Yeah!" "Finally at last!" "About time!") Sh! A long time ago, in the sixties, two people in the audience listening to a performance by John Coltrane (1926-1967, saxophone wizard extraordinaire, who could induce his sax to play the most astounding music ever heard to that time, deeply influential in the history of modern jazz. You're welcome.) were, in reverential awe of the master, discoursing learnedly on his music. "Man," said the first, "listen to those notes the man is playing." "Man," said the second, in something like pity, "man. . . listen to the notes he's not playing."

terminology: (ho-hum) end-stopped a line of poetry ending in a full pause run-on line a line that does not end in punctuation and that therefore is read with only slight pause


Consider the two excerpts following, of the same meter and length. Let seed turn to grass and grass turn to hay: I'm martyr to a motion not my own; What's freedom for? To know eternity. I swear she cast a shadow white as stone. But who would count eternity in days? These old bones live to learn her wanton ways: (I measure time by how a body sways.) and . . . Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Fr Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat." Such stuff Was courtesy, she thought. . . from "I Knew a Woman" and "My Last Duchess," respectively

Rhythm is recurrence. In poetry, it is made of stresses and pauses. The poet can produce it by doing any of several things: making the intervals between the stresses fixed or varied, long or short; indicating pauses within lines; end-stopping lines or running them over; writing in short or long lines. Rhythm in itself cannot convey meaning. Yet if a poet's words have meaning, their rhythm must be one with it.


Robert Frost NEVER AGAIN WOULD BIRDS' SONG BE THE SAME He would declare and could himself believe That the birds there in all the garden round From having heard the daylong voice of Eve Had added to their own an oversound, Her tone of meaning but without the words. Admittedly an eloquence so soft Could only have had an influence on birds When call or laughter carried it aloft. Be that as may be, she was in their song. Moreover her voice upon their voices crossed Had now persisted in the woods so long That probably it never would be lost. Never again would birds' song be the same. And to do that to birds was why she came. *****

What guide do we have as to the poet's intentions?

Dorothy Parker RESUME Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live. *****

Next we take up scansion, the process of measuring verse according to type of rhythm and line length. A few precautionary early notes:


Good readers will not ordinarily stop to scan a poem they are reading, and they will certainly not read a poem with exaggerated emphasis on accented syllables. If the rhythm is there, it will out (Shakespeare's usage); if it isn't, no amount of forced emphasis will be effective. Scansion is at best a gross way of describing the rhythmical quality of a poem, and is therefore incapable of handling the subtlest rhythmical effects in poetry. Scansion is not an exact science. There is legitimate ground for disagreement between qualified readers. Finally, and most importantly, perfect regularity of meter is no criterion of merit, except in Hallmark poetry, which is actually verse instead of poetry anyway.

Bob Dylan MISTER TAMBOURINE MAN Hey! Mister Tambourine Man play a song for me, I'm not sleepy and there's no place I'm goin' to. Hey! Mister Tambourine Man play a song for me In the jingle jangle mornin' I'll come followin' you. Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand, Vanished from my hand, Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleepin'! My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet. I have no one to meet And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreamin'. Take me for a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship My senses have been stripped My hand's can't feel to grip My toes too numb to step


Wait only for my boot heels to go wanderin'. I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade Into my own parade, cast your dancin' spell my way I promise to go under it. Though you might hear laughin' spinnin' swingin' madly across the sun It's not aimed at anyone, It's just escapin' on the run And but for the sky there are no fences facin' And if you hear vague traces of skippin' reels of rhyme To your tambourine in time, It's just a ragged clown behind I wouldn't pay it any mind, It's just the shadow you're seein' that he's chasin'. Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind Down the foggy ruins of time Far past the frozen leaves The haunted, frightened trees Out to the windy beach Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand wavin' free Silhouetted by the sea Circled by the circus sands With all memory and fate Driven deep beneath the waves Let me forget about today until tomorrow. Hey! Mister Tambourine Man play a song for me, I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to. Hey! Mister Tambourine Man play a song for me In the jingle jangle mornin' I'll come followin' you.



Iamb I think that I shall nev er see Anapest For I'm wear y with hunt ing and fain would lie down Trochee Once u pon a mid night drear y Dactyl Half a league half a league half a league onward Spondee someday Amphibrach con di tion Amphimacher el e ment Pyrrhus to mor row and to mor row and to mor row

Iambic pentameter is a line containing five iambic feet. Here are the other line lengths. monometer dimeter trimeter tetrameter pentameter hexameter heptameter too long to live Free verse may be rimed or unrimed. It is not metrical. The only difference between free verse and rhythmical prose is that free verse is written in lines which divide the material into rhythmical units, or cadences. Possibly fifty percent of modern poetry is written in free verse. Blank verse is very different. It is iambic pentameter, unrimed. It is the principal English meter; that is, the meter that has been used for a large proportion of the greatest English poetry, including the tragedies of Shakespeare and the epics of Milton.


Rudyard Kipling SEAL LULLABY Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us, And black are the waters that sparkled so green. The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us At rest in the hollows that rustle between. Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow; Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease! The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas. ***** Find an instrument on which you can pick, peck, or breathe out a melody. Create an appropriate melody line for "Seal Lullaby," and transcribe it. Be prepared to perform.

Robert Frost THE AIM WAS SONG Before man came to blow it right The wind once blew itself untaught, And did its loudest day and night In any rough place where it caught. Man came to tell it what was wrong: It hadn't found the place to blow; It blew it too hard the aim was song. And listen how it ought to go! He took a little in his mouth, And held it long enough for north To be converted into south, And then by measure blew it forth. By measure. It was word and note, The wind the wind had meant to be A little through the lips and throat, The aim was song the wind could see. *****

How does this poem relate to the study of rhythm in poetry?


E. E. Cummings IF EVERYTHING HAPPENS THAT CAN'T BE DONE if everything happens that can't be done (and anything's righter than books could plan) the stupidest teacher will almost guess (with a run skip around we go yes) There's nothing as something as one one hasn't a why or because or although (and buds know better than books don't grow) one's anything old being everything new (with a what which around we come who) one's every anything so so world is a leaf so tree is a bough (and birds sing sweeter than books tell how) so here is away and so your is a my (with a down up around again fly) forever was never till now now I love you and you love me (and books are shuter than books can be) and deep in the high that does nothing but fall (with a shout each around we go all) there's somebody calling who's we


we're anything brighter than even the sun (we're everything greater than books might mean) we're everyanything more than believe (with a spin leap alive we're alive) we're wonderful one times one ***** What is one times one? What does Cummings contrast with books? How appropriate are the contrasts?

One more song of love and then a final dance.

William Butler Yeats A DEEP-SWORN VOW Others because you did not keep That deep sworn vow have been friends of mine; Yet always when I look death in the face, When I clamber to the heights of sleep, Or when I grow excited with wine, Suddenly I meet your face. ***** Mark the scansion in this poem. Make sure you note the dactyllic foot in the last line. What is the progression of the three "when's" in the poem?


William Carlos Williams THE DANCE In Breughel's great picture, the Kermess, the dancers go round, they go round and around, the squeal and the blare and the tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles tipping their bellies (round as the thicksided glasses whose wash they impound) their hips and their bellies off balance to turn them. Kicking and rolling about the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those shanks must be sound to bear up under such rollicking measures, prance as they dance in Breughel's great picture, the Kermess. ***** Judging from the rhythm of the poem, what type of music is being played?



Rhythm and sound cooperate to produce what we call the music of poetry. This music may serve two general functions: it may be enjoyable in itself; it may be used to reinforce meaning and intensify the communication. The peculiar function of poetry as distinguished from music is to convey not sounds but meaning and experience through sounds. The sound should exist not for its own sake, nor for mere decoration, but as a medium of meaning. There are at least four ways the poet can reinforce meaning through sound. First, the poet can choose words whose sound in some degree suggests their meaning. In its narrowest sense, this is called onomatopoeia, the use of words which sound like what they mean. In addition, there is another group of words, phonetic intensives, whose sound, by a process as yet obscure, suggests their meaning. An initial fl- sound is often associated with the idea of moving light (flame, flare, flash, flicker, flimmer). An initial gl- frequently accompanies the idea of light, usually unmoving (glare, gleam, glint, glow, glisten). An initial sl- often introduces words meaning "smoothly wet" (slippery, slick, slide, slime, slop, slosh, slobber, slushy). An initial st- often suggests strength (staunch, stalwart, stout, sturdy, stable, steady, stocky, stern, strong, stubborn, steel). Short i- often goes with the idea of smallness. Long o- or oo- may suggest melancholy or sorrow. Medial and final are sometimes goes with the idea of a big light or noise. Medial attsuggests some kind of particled (spatter, scatter, chatter, rattle, prattle, clatter, batter). Final er and le indicate repetition. A word like "flicker" would seem to suggest its sense, the fl- suggesting moving light, the isuggesting smallness, the ck indicating sudden cessation of movement, and er suggesting repetition.


Second, the poet can choose sounds and group them according to qualities of euphony or cacophony. The vowels are generally more pleasing than the consonants. The long vowels are fuller and more resonant than the short vowels. l, m, n, and r are liquids; v and f are soft; the plosives, b, d, g, k, p, and t are harsher and sharper. Third, the poet can reinforce meaning through the choice and use of meter, by the choice and arrangement of vowel and consonant sounds, and by the disposition of pauses. The unaccented syllables go faster than the accented syllables. Two or more unaccented syllables speed up the pace of the line. When two or more accented syllables come together, the pace slows down. The long vowels take longer to pronounce than the shorter ones. Fourth, the poet can put emphasis on important words by controlling sound and meter. He can alliterate such words or he can use assonance, consonance, or rime. He can place them before a pause. He can skillfully displace them in the metrical pattern.

Robert Frost THE SPAN OF LIFE The old dog barks backward without getting up. I can remember when he was a pup. ***** How does each of the lines convey meaning through sound?

Which is the superior version of each of the following pairs of quotations? Be prepared to defend your decisions. 1. Go forthand Virtue, ever in your sight, Shall be your guide by day, your guard by night. Go forthand Virtue, ever in your sight, Shall point your way by day, and keep you safe by night.


2. How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh and rough as foolish men suppose But musical as is the lute of Phoebus. How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh and crabbed as dull fools suppose But musical as is Apollo's lute. 3. All day the fleeing crows croak hoarsely over the snow. All day the out-cast crows croak hoarsely across the whiteness.

4. Your talk attests how bells of singing gold Would sound at evening over silent waters. Your low voice tells how bells of singing gold Would sound at twilight over silent water. 5. A thousand streamlets flowing through the lawn, The moan of doves in gnarled ancient oaks, And quiet murmuring of countless bees. Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn, The moan of doves in immemorable elms, And murmuring of innumberable bees. 6. It is the lark that sings so out of tune, Straining harsh discords and unpleasant sharps. It is the lark that warbles out of tune In harsh discordant tones with doleful flats.

7. "Artillery" and "armaments" and "implements of war" Are phrases too severe to please the gentle Muse. Bombs, drums, guns, bastions, batteries, bayonets, bullets,-Hard words, which stick in the soft Muses' gullets.


8. The hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again, and ever again this dirty world. The hands of the soft twins Death and Night repeatedly wash again, and ever again, this dirty world. 9. The curfew sounds the knell of parting day, The lowing cattle slowly cross the lea, The plowman goes wearily plodding his homeward way, Leaving the world to the darkening night and me. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. 10. Let me chastise this odious, gilded bug, This painted son of dirt, that smells and bites. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings.



Terminology: Form the design of a poem as a whole, the configuration of all its parts Closed form the poet finds or follows some sort of pattern, such as a sonnet, perhaps with an appropriate rhyme scheme and fourteen lines of iambic pentameter Open form the poet allows the poem to happen, using white space for emphasis, lengthening or shortening lines as he feels is proper Heroic couplet two lines of rhymed iambic pentameter, the first lightly, the second more heavily end-stopped Tercet three-line stanza that, if rhymed, usually keeps to one rhyme, except as in the terza rima, a series of tercets rhymed aba, bcb, cdc, etc. Syllabic verse the poet establishes a set number of syllables to the line

"And so no force, however great, can stretch a cord, however fine, into a horizontal line which shall be absolutely straight." _____William Whewell, from Elementary Treatise on Mechanics (Cambridge, England, 1819). Did you know that? Isn't it interesting? Now look at it this way.

And so no force, however great, Can stretch a cord, however fine, Into a horizontal line Which shall be absolutely straight.

Assignment: Find a "found poem" in newspaper, magazine, catalogue, etc., write it like poetry. You may excerpt, delete, repeat, or rearrange; don't add.


terminology: epigram terse, pointed statement, often with a stinger at the end

According to Oscar Wilde, a cynic is "a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Martial YOU SERVE THE BEST WINES ALWAYS, MY DEAR SIR You serve the best wines always, my dear sir, And yet they say your wines are not so good. They say you are four times a widower They say . . . A drink? I don't believe I would. *****

Sir John Harrington OF TREASON Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason. *****

E.E. Cummings A POLITICIAN A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man *****

John Frederick Nims CONTEMPLATION "I'm Mark's alone!" you swore. Given cause to doubt you, I think less of you, dear. But more about you. *****


Dylan Thomas DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray, Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. *****

John Crowe Ransom PIAZZA PIECE -- I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying To make you hear. Your ears are soft and small And listen to an old man not at all, They want the young men's whispering and sighing. But see the roses on your trellis dying And hear the spectral singing of the moon; For I must have my lovely lady soon, I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying.


--I am a lady young in beauty waiting Until my true love comes, and then we kiss. But what grey man among the vines is this Whose words are dry and faint as in a dream? Back from my trellis, Sir, before I scream! I am a lady young in beauty waiting. ***** Romeo If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. O! then dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, Grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. Then move not, while my prayers' effect I take. take.


Romeo Juliet Romeo

Juliet Romeo

*********** Dylan Thomas FERN HILL Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes, And honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves Trail with daisies and barley Down the rivers of the windfall light.


And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home, In the sun that is young once only, Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means, And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold, And the Sabbath rang slowly In the pebbles of the holy streams. All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air And playing, lovely and watery And fire green as grass. And nightly under the simple stars As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars Flying with the ricks, and the horses Flashing into the dark. And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all Shining, it was Adam and maiden, The sky gathered again And the sun grew round that very day. Thus it must have been after the birth of the simple light. In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm Out of the whinnying green stable On to the fields of praise. And honored among foxes and pheasants by the gay house Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, In the sun born over and over, I ran my heedless ways, My wishes raced through the house high hey And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs Before the children green and golden Follow him out of grace, Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, In the moon that is always rising, Not that, riding to sleep I should hear him fly with the high fields


And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea. *****


Carole Oles THE MAGICIAN SUSPENDS THE CHILDREN With this charm I keep the boy at six and the girl fast at five almost safe behind the four walls of family. We three are a feathery totem I tattoo against time: I'll be one again. Joy here is hard-won but possible. Protector of six found toads, son, you feel too much, my Halloween mouse. Your five finger exercises predict no three quarter time gliding for you. Symphonic storms are the forecast, nothing unruffled for my wunderkind. Have two children: make three journeys upstream. Son, at six you run into angles where five let you curve, let me hold onto your fingers in drugstores. Too intent on them, you're before or behind me five paces at least. Let no one tie the sturdy boat of your six years to me the grotesque, the three

headed mother. More than three times you'll deny me. And my cockatoo, my crested girl, how you cry to be six. Age gathers on your forehead with that striving. Everyone draws your lines and five breaks out like a rash, five crouches, pariah of the three o'clock male rendezvous. Oh wonderful girl, my impromptu rainbow, believe it: you'll be fourteen before you're six.


This is the one abracadabra I know to keep us three, keep you five and six. Grow now. Sing. Fly. Do what you're here for. *****

"Limitation makes for power; the strength of the genie comes of his being confined in the bottle." ___Richard Wilbur



E.E. Cummings THE GREEDY THE PEOPLE the greedy the people (as if as can yes) they sell and they buy and they die for because though the bell in the steeple says Why the chary the wary (as all as can each) they don't and they do and they turn to a which though the moon in her glory says Who the busy the millions (as you're as can i'm) they flock and they flee through a thunder of seem though the stars in their silence say Be the cunning the craven (as think as can feel) they when and they how and they live for until though the sun in his heaven says Now the timid the tender (as doubt as can trust) they work and they pray and they bow to a must though the earth in her splendor says May *****


Here are the requirements for your judgment of good poetry and bad, good poetry and great. First you must be a qualified reader, a person with considerable experience of literature and life, a person of intelligence, sensitivity and knowledge. You must have had strong feelings toward at least some of the poetry we have read. A person who dislikes all wines is hardly able to judge of them. In judging a poem, as in judging any work of art, we need to ask three basic questions: (1) What is its central purpose? (2) How fully has this purpose been accomplished? (3) How important is this purpose? The first question we need to answer in order to understand the poem. The last two questions are those by which we evaluate it. The first of these measures the poem on a scale of perfection. The second measures it on a scale of significance. If the poem measures well on the first of these scales, we call it a good poem, at least of its kind. If it measures well on both scales, we call it a great poem. For answering the first of our evaluative questions, there is no easy yardstick that we can apply. We can judge any element in a poem only as it contributes or fails to contribute to the achievement of the central purpose; and we can judge the total poem only as these elements work together to form an integrated whole. But there are few generalizations we can attempt. In a perfect poem there are no excess words. Each word is the best word for expressing the total meaning: there are no inexact words forced by the rhyme scheme or the metrical pattern. The word order is for emphasis or some other meaningful purpose. The diction, images, and the figures of speech are fresh. There are no clashes between the sound and sense, or form and content. We will always remember, however, that a good poem may have flaws. We should never damn a poem for its flaws if these flaws are amply compensated for by positive excellence.


There are several varieties of inferior poetry that may frequently "fool" poor readers and occasionally a few good ones. Here are three. SENTIMENTALITY is an indulgence in emotion for its own sake, or expression of more emotion that an occasion warrants. RHETORICAL poetry uses a language more glittering and high flown that its substance warrants. It is superficial, oratorical, overelegant, artificially eloquent. It loves rolling phrases and deals in generalities. DIDACTIC poetry has a primary purpose to teach or preach. A final caution: be honest. Do not pretend to like what you really do not like. Do not hedge equivocate, or ask someone else. Honesty, courage.

Each of the following pairs of poems deals with the same or similar themes. Decide which of the poems is superior and be prepared to defend your decision.

SAY NOT THE STRUGGLE NOUGHT AVAILETH Say not the struggle nought availeth, The labor and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth, And as things have been they remain. If hopes be dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke concealed, Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field. For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back, through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main. And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light, In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.



THE MAN WHO THINKS HE CAN If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dare not, you don't. If you'd like to win, but think you can't, It's almost a cinch you won't. If you think you'll lose, you're lost, For out in the world we find Success begins with a fellow's will; It's all in the state of mind. If you think you're outclassed, you are; You've got to think high to rise. You've got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize. Life's battles don't always go To the stronger or faster man; But soon or late the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can. *****

PITCHER His art is eccentricity, his aim How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at, His passion how to avoid the obvious, His technique how to vary the avoidance, The others throw to be comprehended. He Throws to be a moment misunderstood. Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild, But every seeming aberration willed. Not, yet still, still to communicate Making the batter understand too late. *****


THE OLD-FASHIONED PITCHER How dear to my heart was the old-fashioned hurler Who labored all day on the old village green. He did not resemble the up-to-date twirler Who pitches four innings and ducks from the scene. The up-to-date twirler I'm not very strong for; He has a queer habit of pulling up lame; And that is the reason I hanker and long for The pitcher who started and finished the game. The old-fashioned pitcher, The iron-armed pitcher, The stout-hearted pitcher Who finished the game. ***** SONNET TO MY MOTHER Most near, most dear, most loved and most far, Under the window where I often found her Sitting huge as Asia, seismic with laughter, Gin and chicken helpless in her Irish hand, Irresistible as Rabelais but most tender for The lame dogs and hurt birds that surround her,-She is a procession no one can follow after But be like a little dog following a brass band. She will not glance up at the bomber nor condescend To drop her gin and scuttle to a cellar, But lean on the mahogany table like a mountain Who only faith can move, and so I send O all my faith and all my love to tell her That she will move from mourning into morning. ***** MY MOTHER'S HANDS Such beautiful, beautiful hands! They're neither white nor small; And you, I know, would scarcely think That they were fair at all. I've looked on hands whose form and hue A sculptor's dream might be; Yet are those wrinkled, aged hands Most beautiful to me.


Such beautiful, beautiful hands! Though heart were weary and sad, Those patient hands kept toiling on, That the children might be glad; I always weep, as looking back To childhood's distant day, I think how those hands rested not, When mine were at their play. Such beautiful, beautiful hands! They're growing feeble now, For time and pain have left their mark On hands and heart and brow. Alas! alas! the nearing time, And the sad, sad day to me, When 'neath the daisies, out of sight, These hands will folded be. But, oh, beyond this shadow land, Where all is bright and fair, I know full well these dear old hands Will palms of victory bear: Where crystal streams through endless years Flow over golden sands, And where the old grow young again, I'll clasp my mother's hands. *****

LITTLE BOY BLUE The little toy dog is covered with dust, But sturdy and staunch he stands; And the little toy soldier is red with rust, And his musket moulds in his hands. Time was when the little toy dog was new, And the soldier was passing fair; And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there. "Now, don't you go until I come," he said, "And don't you make any noise!" So, toddling off to his trundle-bed, He dreamt of his pretty toys;


And, as he was dreaming, an angel song Awakened our Little Boy Blue Oh! the years are many, the years are long, But the little toy friends are True! Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand Each in the same old place Awaiting the touch of a little hand, The smile of a little face; And they wonder, as waiting the long years through In the dust of that little chair, What has become of our Little Boy Blue, Since he kissed them and put them up there. *****



THAT THE NIGHT COME She lived in such storm and strife, Her soul had such desire For what proud death may bring That it could not endure The common good of life, But lived as 'twere a king That packed his marriage day With banneret and pennon, Trumpet and kettledrum, And the outrageous cannon, To bundle time away That the night come. *****

MY CANDLE BURNS My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night; But, oh, my foes and ah, my friends, It gives a lovely light. *****


TREES I think I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks to God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. ***** TREES To be a giant and keep quiet about it, To stay in one's own place; To stand for the constant presence of process And always to seem the same; To be steady as a rock and always trembling, Having the hard appearance of death With the soft, fluent nature of growth, One's Being deceptively armored, One's Becoming deceptively vulnerable; To be so tough, and take the light so well, Freely providing forbidden knowledge Of so many things about heaven and earth For which we should otherwise have no word Poems or people are rarely so lovely, And even when they have great qualities They tend to tell you rather than exemplify What they believe themselves to be about, While from the moving silence of trees, Whether in storm or calm, in leaf and naked, Might and day, we draw conclusions of our own, Sustaining and unnoticed as our breath, And perilous alsothough there has never been A critical treeabout the nature of things.


FIRE AND ICE Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice. ***** LOVE MINUS ZERO/NO LIMIT My love she speaks like silence Without ideals of violence, She doesn't have to say she's faithful Yet she's true, like ice, like fire. People carry roses And make promises by the hours, My love she laughs like the flowers. Valentines can't buy her. In the dime stores and bus stations People talk of situations Read books, repeat quotations Draw conclusions on the wall. Some speak of the future, My love, she speaks softly, She knows there's no success like failure And that failure's no success at all. The cloak and dagger dangles, Madams light the candles. In ceremonies of the horseman Even the pawn must hold a grudge. Statues made of match sticks Crumble into one another, My love, she does not bother, She knows too much to argue or judge.


The bridge at midnight trembles, The country doctor rambles, Bankers' nieces seek perfection Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring. The wind howls like a hammer, The night blows cold and rainy, My love she's like some raven At my window with a broken wing. *****

THOUGHTS ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT There ought to be capital punishment for cars that run over rabbits and drive into dogs and commit the unspeakable, unpardonable crime of killing a kitty cat still in his prime. Purgatory, at the very least should await the driver driving over a beast. Those hurrying headlights coming out of the dark that scatter the scampering squirrels in the park should await the best jury that one might compose of fatherless chipmunks and husbandless doves. And then found guilty, after too fair a trial should be caged in a cage with a hyena's smile or maybe and elephant with an elephant gun should shoot out his eyes when the verdict is done. There ought to be something, something that's fair to avenge Mrs. Badger as she waits in her lair for her husband who lies with his guts spilling out cause he didn't know what automobiles were about. Hell on the highway, at the very least should await the driver driving over a beast. Who kills a man kills a bit of himself But a cat too is an extension of God. *****


never mind, that one is incomparable

OUR MINTED DAYS Each day is a shiny penny Which Jove drops in our piggy bank's slot. Spend them wisely, O you humans, Or they will be gone but not forgot gone but not forgot And then you'll Really be sorry!!! ***** PROSODY 101 When they taught me what mattered most was not the strict iambic line goose-stepping over the page but the variations in that line and the tension produced on the ear by the surprise of difference, I understood yet didn't understand exactly, until just now, years later in spring, with the trees already lacy and camellias blowsy with middle age, I looked out and saw what a cold front had done to the garden, sweeping in like common language, unexpected in the sensuous extravagance of a Maryland spring. There was a dark edge around each flower as if it had been outlined in ink instead of frost, and the tension I felt between the expected and actual was like that time I came to you, ready to say goodbye for good, for you had been a cold front yourself lately, and as I walked in you laughed and lifted me up in your arms as if I too were lacy with spring instead of middle aged like the camellias, and I thought: so this is Poetry! *****

Try to think of a defining moment in your life when what happened to you was poetry, and model the result on the above poem.



1 Leonard Adams BLACK AND WHITE "Rhodesia, sweaty flank of the world. . ." I read as quietly as they lay: "guerillas," it went on, "put here as a lesson. . ." they lay like a catch in the plaza sun, still damp, the eyes not yet clouded, the African heat raising the bellies . . . "it is the way of our generals to count what is theirs, what is done in their name," the secretary announced . . . from their circle photographers stare and snap at the dead men, at the keyboard of rifles above their heads, at the small town that leads to the jungle's edge--they snap and freeze it all, store it in the silent world of black and white . . .


2 Margaret Atwood LANDCRAB A lie, that we come from water. The truth is we were born from stones, dragons, the sea's teeth, as you testify, with your crust and jagged scissors. Hermit, hard socket for a timid eye, you're a soft gut scuttling sideways, a blue skull, round bone on the prowl. Wolf of treeroots and gravelly holes, a mouth on stilts, the husk of a small demon. Attack, voracious eating, and flight: it's sound routine for staying alive on edges. Then there's the tide, and that dance you do for the moon on wet sand, claws raised to fend off your mate, your coupling a quick dry clatter of rocks. For mammals with their lobes and bulbs, scruples and warm milk, you've nothing but contempt. Here you are, a frozen scowl targeted in flashlight, then gone: a piece of what we are, not all, my stunted child, my momentary face in the mirror, my tiny nightmare.


3 Howard Nemerov GRACE TO BE SAID AT THE SUPERMARKET That God of ours, the great Geometer, Does something for us here, where he hath put (if you want to put it that way) things in shape, Compressing the little lambs in orderly cubes, Making the roast a decent cylinder, Fairing the tin ellipsoid of a ham, Getting the luncheon meat anonymous In squares and oblongs with the edges beveled Or rounded (streamlined, maybe, for greater speed). Praise Him, He hath conferred aesthetic distance Upon our appetites, and on the bloody Mess of our birthright, our unseemly need, Imposed pure significant form. Through Him the brutes Enter the pure Euclidean kingdom of number, Free of their bulging and blood-swollen lives They come to us holy, in cellophane Transparencies, in the mystical body, That we may look unflinchingly on death As the greatest good, like a philosopher should.


4 Constance Carrier LISA Under the great down-curving lilac branches, a dome of coolness and a cave of bloom, Lisa, vague-eyed, chin-propped, cross-legged, is sitting Within a leaf-walled room. Beyond the curtaining green, her brothers wrangle, cars pass, a huckster shouts, a bicycle bell is brisk, is brief, dogs bark. She does not hear them. She is netted in silence, she is lost in a spell. She has chosen to come here, but she is not hiding, nor in disgrace, nor sulky. She is alone of her free will--- alone and yet not lonely: this quarter-hour her own. She could not tell you herself what she is thinking, or what she makes of this kingdom she has found. Presently she will go and join the others: her voice will sound with theirs. But now the candid light, some shifting through leaves, illuminates another view. O leaf and light, that can divide thus cleanly the world in two and give the halves to a child, so as to acquaint her with the mind's need of quietude for growth, yet interpose no barrier between them, that she may move in both.


5 Anne Sexton THE KISS My mouth blooms like a cut. I've been wronged all year, tedious nights, nothing but rough elbows in them and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby crybaby, you fool! Before today my body was useless. Now it's tearing at its square corners. It's tearing old Mary's garments off, knot by knot and see --- Now it's shot full of these electric bolts. Zing! A resurrection! Once it was a boat, quite wooden and with no business, no salt water under it and in need of some paint. It was no more than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her. She's been elected. My nerves are turned on. I hear them like musical instruments. Where there was silence the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this. Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped into fire.


6 e. e. cummings SOMEWHERE I HAVE NEVER TRAVELED GLADLY BEYOND somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skillfully,mysteriously) her first rose or if your wish be to close me, i and my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands



Donald W. Baker FORMAL APPLICATION "The poets apparently want to rejoin the human race." Time I shall begin by learning to throw the knife, first at trees, until it sticks in the trunk and quivers every time; next from a chair, using only wrist and fingers, at a thing on the ground, a fresh ant hill or a fallen leaf, then at a moving object, perhaps a pieplate swinging on twine, until I pot it at least twice in three tries. Meanwhile, I shall be teaching the birds that the skinny fellow in sneakers is a source of suet and bread crumbs, first putting them on a shingle nailed to a pine tree, next scattering them on the needles, closer and closer to my seat, until the proper bird, a towhee, I think, in black and rust and gray, takes tossed crumbs six feet away. Finally, I shall coordinate conditioned reflex and functional form and qualify as Modern Man. You see the splash of blood and feathers and the blade pinning it to the tree? It's called an "Audubon Crucifix." The phrase has pleasing (even pious) connotations, like Arbeit Macht Frei, "Molotov Cocktail," and Enola Gay. *****


W.D. Snodgrass APRIL INVENTORY The green catalpa tree has turned All white; the cherry blooms once more. In one whole year I haven't learned A blessed thing they pay you for. The blossoms snow down in my hair; The trees and I will soon be bare. The trees have more than I to spare. The sleek, expensive girls I teach, Younger and pinker every year, Bloom gradually out of reach. The pear tree lets its petals drop Like dandruff on a tabletop. The girls have grown so young by now I have to nudge myself to stare. This year they smile and mind me how My teeth are falling with my hair. In thirty years I may not get Younger, shrewder, or out of debt. The tenth time, just a year ago, I made myself a little list Of all the things I'd ought to know, Then told my parents, analyst, And everyone who's trusted me I'd be substantial, presently. I haven't read one book about A book or memorized one plot Or found a mind I did not doubt. I learned one date. And then forgot. And one by one the solid scholars Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars. And smile above their starchy collars. I taught my classes Whitehead's notions; One lovely girl, a song of Mahler's. Lacking a source-book or promotions, I showed one child the colors of A luna moth and how to love.


I taught myself to name my name, To bark back, loosen love and crying; To ease my woman so she came, To ease an old man who was dying. I have not learned how often I Can win, can love, but choose to die. I have not learned there is a lie Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger; That my equivocating eye Loves only by my body's hunger; That I have forces, true to feel, Or that the lovely world is real. While scholars speak authority And wear their ulcers on their sleeves, My eyes in spectacles shall see These trees procure and spend their leaves. There is a value underneath The gold and silver in my teeth. Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives, We shall afford our costly seasons; There is a gentleness survives That will outspeak and has its reasons. There is a loveliness exists, Preserves us, not for specialists. *****


Howard Nemerov TO DAVID, ABOUT HIS EDUCATION The world is full of mostly visible things, And there is no way but putting the mind's eye, Or its nose, in a book, to find them out, Things like the square root of Everest Or how many times Byron goes into Texas, Or whether the law of the excluded middle Applies west of the Rockies. For these And the like reasons, you have to go to school And study books and listen to what you are told. And sometimes try to remember. Though I don't know What you will do with the mean annual rainfall On Plato's Republic, or the calorie content Of the Diet of Worms, such things are said to be Good for you, and you will have to learn them In order to become one of the grown-ups Who sees invisible things neither steadily nor whole, But keeps gravely the grand confusion of the world Under his hat, which is where it belongs, And teaches small children to do this in their turn. *****


Wallace Stevens OF MODERN POETRY The poem of the mind in the act of finding What will suffice. It has not always had To find: the scene was set; it repeated what Was in the script. Then the theatre was changed To something else. Its past was a souvenir. It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place. It has to face the men of the time and to meet The women of the time. It has to think about war And it has to find what will suffice. It has To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and With mediation speak words that in the ear, In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat, Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound Of which, an invisible audience listens, Not to the play, but to itself, expressed In an emotion as of two people, as of two Emotions becoming one. The actor is A metaphysician in the dark, twanging An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend, Beyond which it has no will to rise. It must Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman Combing. The poem of the act of the mind. *****


Wallace Stevens STUDY OF TWO PEARS Opusculum paedagogum.* I The pears are not viols, Nudes or bottles. They resemble nothing else. II They are yellow forms Composed of curves Bulging toward the base. They are touched red. III They are not flat surfaces Having curved outlines. They are round Tapering toward the top. IV In the way they are modeled There are bits of blue. A hard dry leaf hangs From the stem. V The yellow glistens. It glistens with various yellows, Citrons, oranges, and greens Flowering over the skin. VI The shadows of the pears Are blobs on the green cloth. The pears are not seen As the observer wills.
*A small job of teaching


Robert Frost AFTER APPLE PICKING My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And there's a barrel that I didn't fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough And held against the world of hoary grass. It melted, and I let it fall and break. But I was well Upon my way to sleep before it fell, And I could tell What form my dreaming was about to take. Magnified apples appear and disappear, Stem-end and blossom-end, And every fleck of russet showing clear. My instep arch not onlyl keeps the ache, It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend. And I keep hearing from the cellar bin The rumbling sound Of load on load of apples coming in. For I have had too much Of apple-picking: I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired. There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. For all That struck the earth, No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, Went surely to the cider-apple heap As of no worth. One can see what will trouble This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. Were he not gone, The woodchuck could say whether its like his Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, Or just some human sleep.


Amy Lowell PATTERNS I walk down the garden-paths, And all the daffodils Are blowing; and the bright blue squills. I walk down the patterned garden-paths In my stiff, brocaded gown. With my powdered hair and jewelled fan, I too am a rare Pattern. As I wander down The garden-paths. My dress is richly figured, And the train Makes a pink and silver stain On the gravel, and the thrift Of the borders, Just a plate of current fashion, Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes. Not a softness anywhere about me, Only whalebone and brocade. And I sink on a seat in the shade Of a lime-tree. For my passion Wars against the stiff brocade. The daffodils and squills Flutter in the breeze As they please. And I weep; For a lime-tree is in blossom And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom. And the plashing of waterdrops In the marble fountain Comes down the garden-paths. The dripping never stops. Underneath my stiffened gown Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin, A basin in the midst of hedges grown So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding, But she guesses he is near, And the sliding of the water Seems the stroking of a dear Hand upon her.


What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown! I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground. All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground. I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths, And he would stumble after, Bewildered by my laughter. I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes. I would choose To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths, A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover. Till he caught me in the shade, And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me Aching, melting, unafraid. With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops, And the plopping of the waterdrops, All about us in the open afternoonI am very like to swoon With the weight of this brocade, For the sun sifts into the shade. Underneath the fallen blossom In my bosom, Is a letter I have hid. It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke. "Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell Died in action Thursday se'nnight." As I read it in the white, morning sunlight, The letters squirmed like snakes. "Any answer, Madam?" said my footman. "No," I told him. "See that the messenger takes some refreshment. No, no answer." And I walked into the garden, Up and down the patterned paths, In my stiff, correct brocade. The blue and yellow flowers stood up brightly in the sun, Each one. I stood upright too, Held rigid to the pattern By the stiffness of my gown. Up and down I walked, Up and down.


In a month he would have been my husband. In a month, here underneath this lime, We would have broke the pattern; He for me, and I for him, He as Colonel, I as Lady, On this shady seat. He had a whim That sunlight carried blessing. And I answered, "It shall be as you have said." Now he is dead. In Summer and in Winter I shall walk Up and down The patterned garden-paths In my stiff, brocaded gown. The squills and the daffodils Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow. I shall go Up and down, In my gown. Gorgeously arrayed, Boned and stayed. And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace By each button, hook, and lace. For the man who should loose me is dead, Fighting with the Duke in Flanders, In a pattern called a war. Christ! What are patterns for?


William Butler Yeats THE SECOND COMING Turning and turning the in the widening gyre* The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack of all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming** is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi*** Troubles my sight : somewhere in the sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? *****
*Circular or spiral movement. **Related to the second coming of Christ is Yeat's conviction that the approaching end of an historical cycle of 2000 years would bring a new age. ***Literally world spirit. For Yeats it means the "general mind," or our collective consciousness penetrating the future.


Matthew Arnold DOVER BEACH The sea is calm tonight, The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits;-on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago Heard it on the gaean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! For the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Sir Thomas Wyatt THEY FLEE FROM ME They flee from me that sometime did me seek With naked foot stalking in my chamber. I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek That now are wild, and do not remember That sometime they put themselves in danger To take bread at my hand; and now they range, Busily seeking with a continual change. Thankd be fortune, it hath been otherwise Twenty times better; but once in special, In thin array, after a pleasant guise, When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall, And she me caught in her arms long and small; Therewithal sweetly did me kiss And softly said, Dear heart, how like you this? It was no dream: I lay broad waking. But all is turned now thorough my gentleness Into a strange fashion of forsaking; And I have leave to go of her goodness; And she also to use new fangledness. But since that I so kindly am served, I would fain know what she hath deserved. *****


Percy Bysshe Shelley OZYMANDIAS I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings; Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away." *****


William Carlos Williams GULLS My townspeople, beyond in the great world, are many with whom it were far more profitable for me to live than here with you. These whirr about me calling, calling! and for my own part I answer them, loud as I can, but they, being free, pass! I remain! Therefore, listen! For you will not soon have another singer. First I say this: You have seen the strange birds, have you not, that sometimes rest upon our river in winter? Let them cause you to think well then of the storms that drive many to shelter. These things do not happen without reason. And the next thing I say is this: I saw an eagle once circling against the clouds over one of our principal churches -Easter, it was -- a beautiful day! -three gulls came from above the river and crossed slowly seaward! Oh, I know you have your own hymns, I have heard themand because I knew they invoked some great protector I could not be angry with you, no matter how much they outraged true music -You see, it is not necessary for us to leap at each other, and, as I told you, in the end the gulls moved seaward very quietly. *****


Robinson Jeffers SHINE, PERISHING REPUBLIC While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens, I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth. Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother. You making haste haste on decay; not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic. But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains. And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master. There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught -- they say -- God, when he walked on earth. *****


T. S. Eliot JOURNEY OF THE MAGI "A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter." And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.


All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death. *****


John Crowe Ransom BLUE GIRLS Twirling your blue skirts, traveling the sward Under the towers of your seminary, Go listen to your teachers old and contrary Without believing a word. Tie the white fillets then about your lustrous hair And think no more of what will come to pass Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass And chattering on the air. Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail; And I will cry with my loud lips and publish Beauty which all our power shall never establish, It is so frail. For I could tell you a story which is true: I know a lady with a terrible tongue, Blear eyes fallen from blue, All her perfections tarnished -- and yet it is not long Since she was lovelier than any of you. *****


James Hearst TRUTH How the devil do I know if there are rocks in your field, plow it and find out. If the plow strikes something harder than earth, the point shatters at a sudden blow and the tractor jerks sidewise and dumps you off the seatbecause the spring hitch isn't set to trip quickly enough and it never is -- probably you hit a rock. That means the glacier emptied his pocket in your field as well as mine, but the connection with a thing is the only truth that I know of, so plow it. *****


Carl Bode THE BAD CHILDREN The children of lightmongoloid, Hydrocephalic, crazed, awry Will build their glass houses Out of shards of pale sky Or brittle splinters of causes. Their names will be biblical, Esther, Naomi, Levi, Moses, Or else cheap blue plastic, Charlene, Joni, Sondra, Elvis. Their minds will be lame or spastic, Their hearts futile. While they Play with their impossible toys Their parents, aching, will stand And watch them. Outside, the healthy noise Of other children, playing Pretend, Joyously aping the children of light, Will meet the ears of the wordless Parents. And they will stop and ponder The rich health of the children of darkness, Who deny God. And they will wonder (The fathers turning to their mothers), They will wonder as they try to measure Sure causes against clumsy effects, Which is worse, God's displeasure In this world or the next? *****


John Ciardi ENGLISH A No paraphrase does between understanding and understanding. You are either that noun beyond qualification into whose round fact I pass unparsed and into whose eyes I speak idioms beyond construction; or else get up, fasten your suffixes and your hyphenations, buckle your articles, spray modifiers and moods behind your ears and take the whole developed discourse of your thighs to any damned grammarian you whatsoever wish. Period. *****


Peter Viereck GAME CALLED ON ACCOUNT OF DARKNESS Once there was a friend. He watched me from the sky. Maybe he never lived at all. Maybe too much friendship made him die. When the gang played cops-and-robbers in the alley, It was my friend who told me which were which, Now he doesn't tell me any more. (Which team am I playing for?) My science teacher built a telescope To show me every answer in the end. I stared and stared at every star for hours. I couldn't find my friend. At Sunday School they said I breathe too much. When I hold my breath within the under Side of earth, they said I'll find my friend. . . .I wonder. He was like a kind of central heating In the big cold house, and that was good. One by one I have to chop my toys now, As firewood. Everytime I stood upon a crossroads, It made me mad to feel him watch me choose. I'm glad there's no more spying while I play. Still, I'm sad he went away.


James Dickey THE BEE To the football coaches of Clemson College, 1942 One dot Grainily shifting we at roadside and The smallest wings coming along the rail fence out Of the woods one dot of all that green. It now Becomes flesh crawling then the quite still Of stinging. I must live faster for my terrified Small son it is on him. Has come. Clings. Old wingback, come To life. If your knee action is high Enough, the fat may fall in time God damn You, Dickey, dig this is your last time to cut And run but you must give it everything you have Left, for screaming near your screaming child is the sheer Murder of California traffic: some bee hangs driving Your child Blindly onto the highway. Get there however Is still possible. Long live what I badly did At Clemson and all of my clumsiest drives For the ball all of my trying to turn The corner downfield and my spindling explosions Through the five-hole over the tackle. O backfield Coach Shag Norton, Tell me as you never yet have told me To get the lead out scream whatever will get The slow-motion of middle age off me I cannot Make it this way I will have to leave My feet they are gone I have him where He lives and down we go singing with screams into The dirt, Son-screams of fathers screams of dead coaches turning To approval and from between us the bee rises screaming With flight grainily shifting riding the rail fence Back into the woods traffic blasting past us Unchanged, nothing heard through the airconditioning glass we lying at roadside full


Of the forearm prints Of roadrocks strawberries on our elbows as from Scrimmage with the varsity now we can get Up stand turn away from the highway look straight Into trees. See, there is nothing coming out no Smallest wing no shift of flight-grain nothing Nothing. Let us go in, son, and listen For some tobaccomumbling voice in the branches to say "That's a little better," to our lives still hanging By a hair. There is nothing to stop us we can go Deep deeper into elms, and listen to traffic die Roaring, like a football crowd from which we have Vanished. Dead coaches live in the air, son live In the ear Like fathers, and urge and urge. They want you better Than you are. When needed, they rise and curse you they scream When something must be saved. Here, under this tree, We can sit down. You can sleep, and I can try To give back what I have earned by keeping us Alive, and safe from bees: the smile of some kind Of savior -Of touchdowns, of fumbles, battles, Lives. Let me sit here with you, son As on the bench, while the first string takes back Over, far away and say with my silentest tongue, with the mancreating bruises of my arms with a live leaf a quick Dead hand on my shoulder, "Coach Norton, I am your boy."


Robert Creeley JOY I could look at an empty hole for hours thinking it will get something in it, will collect things. There is an infinite emptiness placed there. *****


Sir Philip Sidney HEART EXCHANGE My true love hath my heart, and I have his, By just exchange one for the other given: I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss; There never was a bargain better driven. His heart in me keeps me and him in one; My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides: He loves my heart, for once it was his own; I cherish his, because in me it bides. His heart his wound received from my sight; My heart was wounded with his wounded heart; For, as from me on him his hurt did light, So still me-thought in me his hurt did smart: Both equal hurt in this change sought our bliss: My true love hath my heart and I have his. extension i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) *****


Andrew Marvell Dover Beach The sea is calm tonight, The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! You hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earths shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, retreating roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! For the world, which seems So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, not help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confus alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Archibald MacLeish YOU, ANDREW MARVELL And here face down beneath the sun And here upon earth's noonward height To feel the always coming on The always rising of the night: To feel creep up the curving east The earthy chill of dusk and slow Upon those under lands the vast And ever climbing shadow grow And strange at Ecbatan the trees Take leaf by leaf the evening strange The flooding dark about their knees The mountains over Persia change And now at Kermanshah the gate Dark empty and the withered grass And through the twilight now the late Few travelers in the westward pass And Baghdad darken and the bridge Across the silent river gone And through Arabia the edge Of evening widen and steal on And deepen on Palmyra's street The wheel rut in the ruined stone And Lebanon fade out and Crete High through the clouds and overblown And over Sicily the air Still flashing with the landward gulls And loom and slowly disappear The sails above the shadowy hulls And Spain go under and the shore Of Africa the gilded sand And evening vanish and no more The low pale light across the land


Nor now the long light on the sea: And here face downward in the sun To feel how swift how secretly The shadow of the night comes on.


Ben Johnson IT IS NOT GROWING LIKE A TREE It is not growing like a tree In bulk, doth make men better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere: A lily of a day Is fairer far in May; Although it fall and die that night, It was the plant and flower of light. In small proportions we just beauties see, And in short measures life may perfect be. *****


George Wither WHAT CARE I?

Shall I, wasting in despair, Die because a woman's fair? Or my cheeks make pale with care 'Cause another's rosy are? Be she fairer than the day Or the flowery meads in May If she be not so to me, What care I how fair she be? Shall my foolish heart be pined 'Cause I see a woman kind? Or a well disposd nature Joind with a lovely feature? Be she meeker, kinder, than Turtle-dove or pelican, If she be not so to me, What care I how kind she be? Shall a woman's virtues move Me to perish for her love? Or her merits' value known Make me quite forget mine own? Be she with that goodness blest Which may gain her name of Best; If she seem not such to me, What care I how good she be? 'Cause her fortune seems to high, Shall I play the fool and die? Those that bear a noble mind Where they want of riches find, Think what with them they would do Who without them dare to woo; And unless that mind I see, What care I how great she be?


Great or good, or kind or fair, I will ne'er the more despair; If she love me, this believe, I will die ere she shall grieve; If she slight me when I woo, I can scorn and let her go. For if she be not so for me, What care I for whom she be? *****


William Wordsworth NUNS FRET NOT Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room; And hermits are contented with their cells; And students with their pensive citadels; Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom, Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom, High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells, Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells: In truth the prison, unto which we doom Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me, In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground; Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be) Who have felt the weight of too much liberty, Should find brief solace there, as I have found. *****


Matthew Arnold TO MARGUERITE Yes! In the sea of life enisled, With echoing straits between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild, We mortal millions live alone. The islands feel the enclasping flow, And then their endless bounds they know. But when the moon their hollows lights, And they are swept by balms of spring, And in their glens, on starry nights, The nightingales divinely sing; And lovely notes, from shore to shore, Across the sounds and channels pour Oh! then a longing like despair Is to their farthest caverns sent; For surely once, they feel, we were Parts of a single continent! Now round us spreads the watery plain Oh, might our marges meet again! Who ordered, that their longing's fire Should be, as soon as kindled, cooled? Who renders vain their deep desire? A god, a god their severance ruled! And bade betwixt their shores to be The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea. *****


Louis MacNeice THE TAXIS In the first taxi he was alone tra-la, No extras on the clock. He tipped ninepence But the cabby, while he thanked him, looked askance As though to suggest someone had bummed a ride. In the second taxi he was alone tra-la But the clock showed sixpence extra; he tipped according And the cabby from out his muffler said: "Make sure You have left nothing behind tra-la between you." In the third taxi he was alone tra-la But the tip-up seats were down and there was an extra Charge of one-and-sixpence and an odd Scent that reminded him of a trip to Cannes. As for the fourth taxi, he was alone Tra-la when he hailed it but the cabby looked Through him and said: "I can't tra-la well take So many people, not to speak of the dog." *****


Alan Bold RECITATIVE "Come, let's away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage."
Shakespeare: King Lear

"Whereas a man may have noon audience, nought helpeth it to tellen is sentence."
Chaucer: Prologue to the Nun's Priest's Tale

You ask a poet to sing Why Even the birds are hoarse. The nightingale that long ago Numbed Keats, is dead. What of the wind whispering through the trees When no one cares to hear? Perhaps you think "Ah! the golden skinned lassies Can still move a poet." Once I sang But that was before I knew What went on in the world. Yes! I was blithe, Chirping away happily, And, like Chauntecleer, closing my eyes To do it. I was, however, ignoring The modern world With all its blessings And all its faults. When I saw gestant China Bear wellI rejoiced, But did not sing. Could I ignore the toll of the struggle? Damn it! Our voices are not made for singing now But for straight-talking. As the sea-surge turns over more filth We may do some good By exposure. Look at the moon tonight Or at the sea. But before an easy praise of nature 153

Reflect on those folk Who have not our sensitive thoughts, For whom bread, not words, is life: They matter. Song implies melody; but the poet Is after harmony, Speaking for myself. Songs have been sung And dances have been danced And slaves have done the singing And peasants have done the dancing To lessen their hell. It may be that after this When people are really allowed To live, The birds will sing afresh, And then the poets will join them. But for the present We have enough songs that lie Unsung. Most of them by great singers. Our job is to try To change things. After Hiroshima You ask a poet to sing.


Louis MacNeice THE SUNLIGHT ON THE GARDEN The sunlight on the garden Hardens and grows cold, We cannot cage the minute Within its nets of gold, When all is told We cannot beg for pardon. Our freedom as free lances Advances towards its end; The earth compels, upon it Sonnets and birds descend; And soon, my friend, We shall have no time for dances. The sky was good for flying Defying the church bells And every evil iron Siren and what it tells: The earth compels, We are dying, Egypt, dying And not expecting pardon, Hardened in heart anew, But glad to have sat under Thunder and rain with you, And grateful too For sunlight on the garden.


E. E. Cummings [may I feel said he] may i feel said he (i'll squeal said she just once said he) it's fun said she (may i touch said he how much said she a lot said he) why not said she (let's go said he not too far said she what's too far said he where you are said she) may i stay said he (which way said she like this said he if you kiss said she may i move said he is it love said she) if you're willing said he (but you're killing said she but it's life said he but your wife said she now said he) how said she (tiptop said he don't stop said she oh no said he) go slow said she (cccome? said he ummm said she) you're divine said he (you are Mine said she) 1935


Stevie Smith NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he's dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said. Oh no no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning.


Richard Wilbur JUGGLER A ball will bounce but less and less. It's not A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience. Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls So in our hearts from brilliance, Settles and is forgot. It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls To shake our gravity up. Whee, in the air The balls roll round, wheel on his wheeling hands, Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres Grazing his finger ends, Cling to their courses there, Swinging a small heaven about his ears. But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all Than the earth regained, and still and sole within The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble He reels that heaven in, Landing it ball by ball, And trades it for a broom, a plate, a table. Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom's Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry: The boys stamp and the girls Shriek, and the drum booms And all come down, and he bows and says good-bye. If the juggler is tired now, if the broom stands In the dust again, if the table starts to drop Through the daily dark again, and though the plate Lies flat on the table top, For him we batter our hands Who has won for once over the world's weight.


E. E. Cummings R-P-O-P-H-E-S-S-A-G-R r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r who a)s w(e loo)k upnowgath PPEGORHRASS eringint(oaThe):l eA !p S (r rIvInG .gRrEPasPhOs) to rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly ,grasshopper a


Sharon Olds I GO BACK TO MAY 1937 I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, I see my father strolling out under the ochre sandstone arch, the red tiles glinting like bent plates of blood behind his head, I see my mother with a few light books at her hip standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its sword-tips black in the May air, they are about to graduate, they are about to get married, they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are innocent, they would never hurt anybody. I want to go up to them and say Stop, don't do it she's the wrong woman, he's the wrong man, you are going to do things you cannot imagine you would ever do, you are going to do bad things to children, you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of, you are going to want to die. I want to go up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, her hungry pretty blank face turning to me, his pitiful untouched body, but I don't do it. I want to live. I take them up like the male and female paper dolls and bang them together at the hips like chips of flint as if to strike sparks from them. I say Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.


Sylvia Plath DADDY You do not do, you do not do Any more, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years, poor and white, Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. Daddy, I have had to kill you. You died before I had time Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, Ghastly statue with one grey toe Big as a Frisco seal. And a head in the freakish Atlantic Where it pours bean green over blue In the waters off beautiful Nauset. I used to pray to recover you. Ach, du. In the German tongue, in the Polish town Scraped flat by the roller Of wars, wars, wars. But the name of the town is common. My Polack friend Says there are a dozen or two. So I never could tell where you Put your foot, your root, I never could talk to you. The tongue stuck in my jaw. It stuck in a barb wire snare. Ich, ich, ich, ich, I could hardly speak. I thought every German was you. And the language obscene An engine, an engine Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. I began to talk like a Jew.


I think I may well be a Jew. The snows of Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna Are not very pure or true. With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack I may be a bit of a Jew. I have always been scared of you, With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygook. And your neat moustache And your Aryan eye, bright blue. Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You --Not God but a swastika So black no sky could squeak through. Every woman adores a Fascist, The boot in the face, the brute Brute heart of a brute like you. You stand at the blackboard, daddy, In the picture I have of you, A cleft in your chin instead of your foot But no less a devil for that, no not Any less the black man who Bit my pretty red heart in two. I was ten when they buried you. At twenty I tried to die And get back, back to you. I thought even the bones would do. But they pulled me out of the sack, And they stuck me together with glue. And then I knew what to do. I made a model of you, A man in black with a Meinkampf look And a love of the rack and the screw. And I said I do, I do. So daddy, I'm finally through. The black telephone's off at the root, The voices just can't worm through. If I've killed one man, I've killed two The vampire who said he was you


And drank my blood for a year, Seven years, if you want to know. Daddy you can lie back now. There's a stake in your fat black heart And the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you. Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.



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