Sunday, April 12, 2009

Free Verse

Morning at the Window - T.S. Eliot

THEY are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,
And along the trampled edges of the street
I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
Sprouting despondently at area gates.

The brown waves of fog toss up to me
Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs.

Free verse is very self-explanatory. It is the basis of which all poems are created on. Free verse is the bare minimum a poem needs to be considered poetry. All the poem needs is to have it's parts equal the whole of the poem. No rhyme scheme or pattern is needed. Free verse can range from a one line poem to an essay almost. There is no limit for free verse. It just needs to have a story.

In T.S. Eliot's "Morning at the Window" the chaos of a morning breakfast is being described. This poem can also be considered imagism because it conveys a certain image. In this poem, many literary elements are used to enhance the poem. Caesura which is used in almost every poem I have done, is used to separate two different thoughts and images in the speaker's perspective. He mentions streets then girls. His stream of consciousness type of poetry has a certain cacophonic rhythm to it. The short, broken up words are used to intensify the chaos of breakfast and the streets of the city. There never is a soothing flow in the poem because of the cacophony used.

Eliot uses conceit in this poem to compare with the daily lives that we live. The chaos of the daily life of a human being is demonstrated by the breakfast, and the brown fogs indicate sins and mishaps that we all face, and the unclean nature of the streets indicates our unclean views on society. Lastly, the vanishing smiles depicts the superficial society that we live in vanishing behind closed doors or the "roofs". This description can be called "euphemism" because it is describing our secret desires and society's faults in a less condescending manner.

This can be interpreted differently depending on how the reader views the mood and tone. I couldn't find a video or reading of it, so I just assumed it was a very dark and solemn tone and mood.


In a Station of the Metro - Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

I decided to do a poem that is near and dear to my heart because I couldn't find any other poem to do. I know I have previously looked at the poem, but I wanted to further elaborate on the literary elements used to create the picture of the "Station of the Metro".

Imagery is the clear crisp and sharp language of poetry. It is when poems can create a picture in the mind of the reader. It is associated with modernist poetry. Imagery was created to counteract the flabby, non-conventional poetry that was written without a second thought.

This short poem had a great impact on me. How could Ezra Pound create such vivid pictures in just two lines? His description of the metro in Paris, which I had to research, illuminate how beautiful the people are. The use of the word apparition greatly enhances his awe for the "faces in the crowd". He mentions it as he is astonished by the beauty of these faces, which is indicated with the use of
"petals". When people picture petals, they imagine the beautiful, colorful part of the flower. The petal can also represent the hope for the future in the dark, and weary present.

In his imagism poem of two lines, Pound captures all of this and more. He mentions "the apparition" which may indicate that he might have only had a quick glimpse of the beauty on the metro. With all of these in effect, it is truely amazing that he could explain this "petal" so vividly. (As vivid two lines can be). I keep mentioning this person being a beauty because he mentions the "black bough", which is a contrasting image from the petals. This particular petal sticks out from the rest of the tree. With all these pictures, he explains his emotions. The lack of words doesn't take away from the poem at all.

This poem uses imagery to describe the scene of the metro. The use of euphony in this poem gives greater depth to the poem. It captures the reader by using the alliteration of "black bough" in the end. The use of this euphony calms the reader and brings the reader to his or her "happy place" almost because of the serenity of the poem. This is what Pound tries to achieve the whole time. The mentioning of the apparition of the beauty indicates this inner passion.

At instances, caesura is used to give the reader the feeling that the speaker is questioning himself/herself. Did he/she really see that beautiful apparition? We never really get the answer, but the constant pauses gives insight to the confusion of the speaker.


Luna Lake Haiku - Adrian Green

New moon on the lake.
Your voice and the nightingale
serenade springtime.
Full moon on the lake.
Your voice and the waterbirds
celebrate summer.
Old moon on the lake.
Owls hunting autumnal food -
your voice still singing.

Haiku originates in Japan and that is why some poems do not clearly flow in the English language.

Haiku usually involve caesura and have a seasonal reference. They are known for their three metrical phrases of 5/7/5. It is obvious that Luna Lake Haiku encompasses Spring, summer, and autumn and caesura's are used in this poem to define each season. Euphony is a device used in the poem. "serenade springtime" gives a soft alliteration that gives an airiness to the poem. The flow of the haiku is continued smoothly until autumn. Cacophony is used to describe the crisp, bitter season of autumn but eventually becomes smooth again at the end.

Green uses the well known 5/7/5 concept to achieve his thoughts of the meanings of each season. He also uses the moon to demonstrate the concept that our lives do not change, but they just age and mature as time goes on. The moon, which starts off new, becomes full, which indicates the greatest moments of our lives, and then the old moon to depict our dying days. He emphasizes how much we endure and yet we persevere and still end up singing our song. We never give up.

Slam Poetry

The The Impotence of Proofreading - Taylor Mali

First off, it gets very inappropriate at the end, so if you wish to retain virgin ears, I advise you to not listen to the last minute.

Slam Poetry is associated with spoken word and the poems are not available in text online. It is quite odd. But, with a Slam poem it is always easier to understand the true meaning of the poem because the tone and mood are readily provided.

I do not know the background to this poem, but I thought it would be refreshing to practice our proofreading skills that Ms. Giggie always tells us about.

Marc Smith started the rejuvenation of Slam Poetry in 1986 and now the home of Slam Poetry is in the state of New York. For almost a century, poetry began to decline as an art and wasn't considered a branch of literature. With slam poetry, the rebirth of poetry can be seen everywhere. Today, many skits and raps are all slam poetry. The audience is always the judge and they are critiqued based on their performances. Poetry truly is a performing art.

The topic is always important in Slam Poetry, and the interesting topic of the "impotence of proofreading" is quite interesting. All the Slam Poems I have seen are all satirical or mocking of a certain group. In this poem, Mali picks on student ambitions and their inability to comprehend the true magnitude of education. Student's are always one step ahead, but never complete the task at hand. In reality, Mali is criticizing our society, or the society we are becoming. We believe that we can reach great heights with minimal effort. Mali uses many caesuras to display the incompetence of student's to the greatest degree. Along with caesura, emjambment is used to show the thought process of our society. Together, we stop and think about whats at task, and we break everything up and see if we can do the bare minimum to achieve the absolute maximum.

This theme is carried throughout the poem. Slam poetry, I believe is the back bone of poetry. The true meaning of poetry can be seen through these slam poets who demostrate such strong conviction in their poems. Also, it is very comical and I actually enjoy listening to it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spenserian Sonnet

One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand
Edmund Spenser

ONE day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
Vain man (said she) that dost in vain assay 5
A mortal thing so to immortalise;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wipèd out likewise.
Not so (quod I); let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame; 10
My verse your virtues rare shall eternise,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where, when as Death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.

Spenserian Sonnets have an abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee rhyme scheme, yet unlike the Petrarchan Sonnets, the first octet isn't answered by the latter sestet. It is seen as three quatrains connected by the rhyme scheme with the couplet at the end. It has the terza rima rhyme scheme as I mentioned in earlier poems.

It is very obvious that I wrote your name in the sand, but the waves washed it away poem was written based on this poem.

Euphony is used in the first quatrain to portray the delicate nature of his love for this lady. It also indicates the sorrow he may feel when the name is washed away by the waves. In the second quatrain, the use of the opposite cacophony magnifies the anger of the woman. The use of hard consonants makes the second quatrain hard to flow easily.

In the third quatrain, caesura is used to show the pondering of the man. He stops and thinks of what to say to his lady to please her. The pauses indicate almost a fear of losing her. He stops and thinks about what he is going to say before he actually says it. This cautious way of saying things is carried into the couplet when caesura is used again. The caesura, or maybe emjambment is used even more in the couplet to give more viscosity of his feelings. Enjambment is the breaking of a syntactical unit. Instead of being very easy to read, Spenser uses the Caesura to put more emphasis on the true meaning of his poem.

The rhyme scheme in the poem connects the forward action of his movements. When he moves on from the euphony and almost enchanted world in the first quatrain to the harsh reality of the second quatrain, the rhyme scheme (abab bcbc) intertwines the two worlds and almost keeps the presence of romanticism alive. This is likewise of the third quatrain and the couplet.

Also, trope could be accomodated with this poem by saying that the waves represent affairs or some infidelity in his life. It would make sense to allude that.

Try to see the contrast in the way the speaker reads the quatrains.

Dramatic Monologue

Hawk Roosting

Ted Hughes

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.

The use of conceitin the poem directly corrolates the Hawk to people with power. Instead of just talking about the people, Hughes uses the hawk to characterize what these people do, and the wickedness of their minds.

"Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change."

These two lines show the inability to change when there is someone with so much power. They want to "keep things like this" because it has made them successful, and their selfish ways will keep the whole body at a stand still.

"I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed" describes the kings who refused to listen to their subjects, the people who ruled the land, but were ruled by an ignorant bigot.

Because of this tense feeling and condescending tone, it is easy to see that cacophony was used to create an image of irritation and unwanted force. Hughes uses cacophony perfectly in his poem to indicate what he truly feels about the subject.

If I interpreted this poem correctly, Hughes is using the litote of wanting the power of a hawk to explain the cruelty of the people in power. The hawk is above every other bird, and it is the king of the air, and the metonymy of the hawk is used to portray the high power of the royalty. He never directly mentions these people, but it is clear that he sees them as ignorant. they " kill where [they] please because it is all [theirs]".

These kids are acting out what is happening. It is weird and not very accurate, but it's the best I could find.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.


You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.


Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

In the elegy, there are three parts. The first part is grief, when W.H. Auden grives about the death of W.B. Yeats. The second part is the part when he is praising W.B. Yeats for his successes. In the final part, he is consoled and ready to move on. It is a lyrical poem and is usually mournful.

In the first part, cacophony is used to stress the anger that Auden feels about the death of W.B. Yeats. For example, Auden says "The day of his death was a dark cold day." which uses cacophony to emphasize the grief and anger that Auden must be feeling.

In the second part, Auden is more open about his true feelings and accepting that Yeats is gone. He uses apostrophe to explain the true importance of Yeat's to Ireland. He uses Ireland as a person to describe the loss that one must feel now that he is gone. It is praising his success and affection. This may also be considered a trope.

Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

Auden is now consoled and is letting go of Auden's death. The praising continues however. Also, the celebration of Yeats's life is seen in this section. The use of rhymes and a meter for rhythm almost describe the joy of the moment. The rhyme scheme is very noticable in this part of the poem. Caesura is also used in the third part of the poem. It gives an effect of the audience engulfing the celebration of Yeats. It gives them time to consume all that has happened and rejoice in his life.

Though this is not similar to the traditional elegy from Greece, it does use send a clear message of exalting someone. It does not have the couplets, but it does have the resolution at the end. It may not be a traditional elegy, but it is, in my opinion, the best elegy of it's kind.