Thursday, February 27, 2014

A VAlentine

Edgar Allen Poe
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly the lines!- they hold a treasure
Divine- a talisman- an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure-
The words- the syllables! Do not forget
The trivialest point, or you may lose you    Which one might not undo without a sabre,
If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering
Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus
Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing
Of poets, by poets- as the name is a poet’s, too,
Its letters, although naturally lying
Like the knight Pinto- Mendez Ferdinando-
Still form a synonym for Truth- Cease trying!
You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

This is a lyrical poem, written in the form of acrostic. Other than a poem, “A Valentine” is actually a riddle that Poe made to reveal his secret lover. Edgar Allen Poe composed “A Valentine” to express his affection for a woman, but he’s too afraid to directly tell her because she’s already married. The subject matter is about Poe’s challenge for the readers, to solve the riddle within this poem. Through the puzzle that the writer gives out to the reader, he also blends in the implication for his lover’s beauty. Poe’s love for this woman is a secret affair. He can only express it in discreet, through the meaning of this poem, because it is wrongful to be infatuated with a married woman. The theme of this poem is about a woman’s magnificence to a man when he’s falling in love, and the mysteriousness of this secret love they’re having. Poe wrote this poem under his personal context of being in love, in a secret love affair. The historical context of “A Valentine” is in the 1846, so it is evident that the language used is formal. The tone applied for this poem is very romantic, when refer to the woman and stimulating, in terms of the mystery for the reader. The writing purpose of Poe is to stimulate the readers with an interesting puzzle about his lover. The regular rhyme scheme of this poem is abab cdcd, but sometimes the pattern change unexpectedly due to the appearance of an odd line with no rhyme.

An Enigma

Seldom we find,” says Solomon Don Dunce,
“Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
As easily as through a Naples bonnet —
Trash of all trash! — how can a lady don it?
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff —
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it.”
And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
The general tuckermanities are arrant
Bubbles — ephemeral and so transparent —
But this is, now, — you may depend upon it —
Stable, opaque, immortal — all by dint
Of the dear names that lie concealed within ’t.



By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have reached these lands but newly

From an ultimate dim Thule-

From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,

Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,

And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,

With forms that no man can discover

For the tears that drip all over;

Mountains toppling evermore

Into seas without a shore;

Seas that restlessly aspire,

Surging, unto skies of fire;

Lakes that endlessly outspread

Their lone waters- lone and dead,-

Their still waters- still and chilly

With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread

Their lone waters, lone and dead,-

Their sad waters, sad and chilly

With the snows of the lolling lily,-

By the mountains- near the river

Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-

By the grey woods,- by the swamp

Where the toad and the newt encamp-

By the dismal tarns and pools

Where dwell the Ghouls,-

By each spot the most unholy-

In each nook most melancholy-

There the traveller meets aghast

Sheeted Memories of the Past-

Shrouded forms that start and sigh

As they pass the wanderer by-

White-robed forms of friends long given,

In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion

'Tis a peaceful, soothing region-

For the spirit that walks in shadow

'Tis- oh, 'tis an Eldorado!

But the traveller, travelling through it,

May not- dare not openly view it!

Never its mysteries are exposed

To the weak human eye unclosed;

So wills its King, who hath forbid

The uplifting of the fringed lid;

And thus the sad Soul that here passes

Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have wandered home but newly

From this ultimate dim Thule.

Edgar Allan Poe

"Dream-Land" tells the story of a journey, although it's never quite clear where that trip starts or where it ends. For the most part, the poem describes the strange and amazing sights the speaker sees along the way.
We begin with a tantalizingly vague description of the speaker arriving in a strange new land. He doesn't say where exactly he's coming from, just that it was far away, beyond the borders of space and time. The place he's arrived in is haunted by evil spirits and ruled by the creepy, dark figure of "Night." This new country has a huge landscape of oceans, valleys, caves, and forests. Nothing looks or moves the way it does in everyday life. Mountains tumble, the sky is on fire, the ocean leaps up, the snow sits on the ground forever. Sometimes this world is violent and exciting, sometimes it's creepily quiet and still, but there's a sad loneliness everywhere.
It's not just the landscape that's strange and sad. Apparently the speaker sees ghosts on his journey too, the spirits of dead loved ones. Weirdly enough, this makes the speaker feel kind of good. Apparently his life has been tough, and he prefers to live in this strange and different land. He only gets a glimpse of the mysterious world when he is sleeping, but he still loves it and treasures those moments.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bridal Ballad

The ring is on my hand,

And the wreath is on my brow;

Satin and jewels grand

Are all at my command,

And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;

But, when first he breathed his vow,

I felt my bosom swell-

For the words rang as a knell,

And the voice seemed his who fell

In the battle down the dell,

And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,

And he kissed my pallid brow,

While a reverie came o'er me,

And to the church-yard bore me,

And I sighed to him before me,

Thinking him dead D'Elormie,

"Oh, I am happy now!"

And thus the words were spoken,

And this the plighted vow,

And, though my faith be broken,

And, though my heart be broken,

Here is a ring, as token

That I am happy now!

Would God I could awaken!

For I dream I know not how!

And my soul is sorely shaken

Lest an evil step be taken,-

Lest the dead who is forsaken

May not be happy now.

Edgar Allan Poe

The poem, “Bridal Ballad”, by Edgar Allan Poe is written from a woman’s standpoint and demonstrates the idea that a lawfully binding marriage cannot define the tie of a truly loving marriage. There is nothing that can truly marry two people except genuine love for each other. Throughout the poem, the speaker tries to convince herself that she is happy with the man she is marrying, “her Lord”, because he can give her a beautiful ring and “satin and jewels”, but in all actuality her love really lies within the heart of her dead lover, D’Elormie. The general tone of the poem is sorrow in that she cannot get over the man of her dreams and is constantly trying to re-assure herself that she is content and cheerful with her new marriage. There are some moments of sarcasm and bitterness especially when she tries convincing herself that she is “happy now” despite her very unpleasant reality. The emotions of the bride can be described as depressing because it seems as though she is living in misery because she is more concerned about putting other’s happiness before her own. “Bridal Ballad” touches on a fundamental theme of marriage and the love, loss, and longing for happiness that comes along with it.


Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old-

This knight so bold-

And o'er his heart a shadow

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow-

"Shadow," said he,

"Where can it be-

This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains

Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,"

The shade replied-

"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Edgar Allan Poe

Structurally, "Eldorado" consists of four stanzas, each of which consists of six lines. The first stanza describes a "gallant knight" who is "gaily bedight" and in the high point of optimistic youth, as he believes unswervingly that Eldorado exists and that he will eventually locate the city. The second stanza is less bright in tone, as the knight moves on to old age and begins to suspect that he will never achieve his life's goal. The next stanza then brings him to his deathbed, as he asks the "pilgrim shadow" for advice in much the same manner as the narrator of "The Raven" asks the raven for advice about his lost Lenore and about life after death. Finally, the last stanza moves from life into death, completing the human life cycle as the shadow advises that the knight continue his quest into death.If the search for Eldorado is an allegory for the progression of a lifetime, then the fact that the search only ends in death may have multiple meanings. Some critics have described the knight's quest as indicative of faith that fulfillment exists after death, a sentiment echoed by Guy de Vere of Poe's poem "Lenore." In addition, Poe's works have often associated death with ideals of purity and beauty made permanent, again as in "Lenore" or in his short story "Ligeia." Poe may also be characterizing life as a constant search, to which the object of search only appears in death, an interpretation that recalls the narrator of the short story "MS. Found in a Bottle," who learns not to fear death in hopes of achieving knowledge.

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe

The structure of "A Dream Within a Dream" consists of two stanzas containing two disparate but ultimately connected scenes. The first stanza shows the first-person point of view of the narrator parting from a lover, while the second places the narrator on a beach while futilely attempting to grasp a handful of sand in his hand. The juxtaposed scenes contrast in a number of ways, as the poem moves from a calm, though solemn, farewell to a more passionate second half. Whereas the first stanza features a thoughtful agreement, the seashore scene contains expletives such as "O God!" and anguished exclamations along with despairing rhetorical questions to reflect the torment in the narrator's soul.Despite the apparent differences between the two stanzas, they are linked through the ironic similarity of their evanescent natures. In the first image, the narrator is leaving his lover, indicating a sense of finality (and mortality) to their love. Accordingly, the falling grains of sand in the second stanza recall the image of an hourglass, which in turn represents the passage of time. As the sand flows away until all time has passed, the lovers' time also disappears, and the sand and the romance each turn into impressions from a dream. Through the alliteration in "grains of the golden sand," Poe emphasizes the "golden" or desired nature of both the sand and of love, but he shows clearly that neither is permanently attainable.

The Everyday Enchantment of Music

A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound, which was polished until it became music. Then the music was polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty home of a heart in trouble. Then suddenly there was sun and the music came back and traffic was moving and off in the distance, at the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, and there was thunder, which, however menacing, would become music, and the memory of what happened after Venice would begin, and what happened after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would also begin.

Mark Strand 

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Mark Strand

The poet pleads for wholeness against the usual fragmentation that goes on in life. The poet believes in whole part and not in partial. He knows the value of each and every part of nature to present nature as whole. He tries to know the value of each and every small and small constituents of nature to continue the wholeness of nature. The poet indirectly pleads human beings to fill the gaps in the nature if they separate the parts of nature. The poet indirectly pleads
human beings to keep nature whole by conserving its every small parts in every small part in every nook and corner.
The poem deals with two separate things of anything, which are part and whole. The nature has small parts small parts. It is divided into the separate elements. He has lost himself in the field. He is losing himself everywhere. The poet parts the air forward but it becomes whole behind him. He only makes the air whole, not a part. But everything becomes whole itself. We see field, air, etc as a part not as a complete. Our lives are also parted but it is only illusion. If we try to make separate parts, that is only hollowness of concept.
The poet has presented himself in the field missing and parting in the air and he is whole not part in the bank drop. He wants to be whole, not part. He is not happy with himself because he is an intruder in the natural environment. He feels that he is fragmenting, disturbing and damaging the natural wholeness that is why air moves to fill the spaces occupied by his body while he walks. He becomes careful not to disturb the wholeness of things in the environment. This shows his concern to the protection of environment.
The poet suggests that if human being involves to encourage the existence of the nature, the nature also gives reaction. For example, if we cut down the forest, land erosion, flood, landslides occur. Then, men get knowledge from the nature that the nature itself is powerful rather from human beings. Even if man tries to challenge the existence of the nature, he can’t get victory over it. So, the poet becomes very much sensitive for the delicate balance of the nature. –
The last stanza suggests that we all move to make a whole, not part. The poet moves forward and he parts the air but it becomes whole again. So, what we think of being parted i.e; that is wrong. Everything in the world is whole.

The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

[First published in 1845]
horizontal spaceOnce upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
horizontal space
vertical space

The meter of the poem is mostly trochaic octameter, with eight stressed-unstressed two-syllable feet per lines. Combined with the predominating ABCBBB end rhyme scheme and the frequent use of internal rhyme, the trochaic octameter and the refrain of "nothing more" and "nevermore" give the poem a musical lilt when read aloud. Poe also emphasizes the "O" sound in words such as "Lenore" and "nevermore" in order to underline the melancholy and lonely sound of the poem and to establish the overall atmosphere. Finally, the repetition of "nevermore" gives a circular sense to the poem and contributes to what Poe termed the unity of effect, where each word and line adds to the larger meaning of the poem. The unnamed narrator appears in a typically Gothic setting with a lonely apartment, a dying fire, and a "bleak December" night while wearily studying his books in an attempt to distract himself from his troubles. He thinks occasionally of Lenore but is generally able to control his emotions, although the effort required to do so tires him and makes his words equally slow and outwardly pacified. However, over the course of the narrative, the protagonist becomes more and more agitated both in mind and in action, a progression that he demonstrates through his rationalizations and eventually through his increasingly exclamation-ridden monologue. In every stanza near the end, however, his exclamations are punctuated by the calm desolation of the sentence "Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore,'" reflecting the despair of his soul.

A Dream

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.
Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?
That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.
What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star? 

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe uses many literary devices in his poem “A Dream”, and uses them to increase the quality of his poem and make it be more lively. Poe applies the literary device of imagery by using the terms day and night, since light and dark bring a contrast imagery developing a skeptical mood and a twisting atmosphere. Another literary device that Poe uses in one of his many poems is symbolism, and he applies this by symbolizing joy by being a traveler, never staying in one place and looking for something that sparks his visits to each place. These images are a bit obvious to identify, but they contribute accordingly to form the subject of the poem, which is a dream. In the reader’s mind, the reader has its own opinion for a dream, but his unique choice of words and imagery show how his dreams are and how they have a connection to his life. Poe also used personification when he mentions the word “joy”, saying that joy has departed, able to leave. He also uses a simile when he wrote in a verse: “Hath cheered me as a lovely beam”. By using the word “as” Poe shows the concept of people loving him as an elegant and handsome person. There is also an onomatopoeia “Ah!” used as a sound the narrator gives while narrating this poem to express how he reacted to the news he received. This is showing the sarcastic tone the narrator has during the poem. All of these literary devices contribute to the subject and the theme of his poem, and help compare the dream of the main character to real life.

The Coming of Light

The Coming of Light
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.
Mark Strand

Mark Strand's " The coming of light" is a poem which describes the values of light and love through the use of imagery and tone. The poem talks about a love that triggers hope and determination into ones life; the optimistic tone of the poem helps show the reader that mostly with time, when things are often " late" or are " older", they tend to lose their "touch", their significance;but strong love even with time, never fades. With words such as " Even this late" and " the coming of love, the coming of light", Strand explains that even as you grow older, love will still be with you at all times, it just keeps coming. Strand in this poem ,is talking about being born again into love and light. When you are a child you are exposed to different kind of love and a different kind of light, but once you grow older both love and light have different meanings; you are " reborn" into love and light. Light, I believe plays a huge role in defining the deeper meaning of this poem. Once again, here Strand describes light with the use of imagery with relations to natural environment to give a better understanding of his poem. Light, itself can mean many things: light can clear a path in the dark, light can make what might have been unknown visible. When you are a child light defines the time to get up and the time to sleep. Like I said, perception of light changes as one grows older; And i believe that this is one of the key meanings of this poem: how love and light change as you grow; not fade away, but just change. Light is more significant with time, it has more meaning to you, you want more light; Light also signifies hope and the coming of tomorrow. Strand also uses imagery to define the meaning of love and romance in this poem when he uses the light coming from the candles. " You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves". The coming of light literally in the poem comes from " candles", and while candles don't provide much light, they do however have romantic associations. Strand uses candles to describe romance and love. " Stars gather, dreams pour into pillows", stars I believe define dreams and goals in your life, here Strand basically says that even as time goes on and you feel as if you have fulfilled your dreams and your goals, you still want more. As you sleep you want more, you desire more. And this want and this desire is what makes us humans, this is what makes us get up in the morning and do whatever we have to do. We do " it" to fulfill our hopes and our dreams. This is what brings " light" back to us. This " coming of light" defines our love and our future.

Poem After the Last Seven Words

“It is finished,” he said. You could hear him say it,
the words almost a whisper, then not even that,
but an echo so faint it seemed no longer to come
from him, but from elsewhere. This was the moment,
his final moment. “It is finished,” he said into a vastness
that led to an even greater vastness, and yet all of it
within him. He contained it all. That was the miracle,
to be both large and small in the same instant, to belike us, but more so, then finally to give up the ghost,
which is what happened. And from the storm that swirled
in his wake a formal nakedness took shape, the truth
of disguise and the mask of belief were joined forever.

The speaker concedes such scenery sometimes supplies false hope, especially in “the days of spring when the sky is filled / with the odor of lilac, when darkness becomes desire.” The poet knows nature’s beauty combined with human nature can act to conceal harsh realities, particularly our own mortality: “the world’s great gift for fiction gilds even / the dirt we walk on, and we feel we could live forever / while knowing of course that we can’t.” Indeed, although this long poem addresses the death of Christ, it also serves as a reminder to everyone of the inevitability of an end for all: “No one escapes. / Not even the man who believed he was chosen to do so.”
Therefore, in a certain sense, the narrative of this poem leads to one conclusion, already suggested in the poem’s opening lines: “The story of the end, of the last word / of the end, when told, is a story that never ends.” Although spoken about the sacrifice of Christ, Strand’s poem more importantly forces each of us to examine our own fate in the face of an uncertainty we all encounter. “Such is our plight,” the narrator declares, as we are left with the realization, “at last that nothing is more real than nothing.” By the last lines of the final section, the closing sentences of the collection, Strand’s narrator acknowledges and accepts his destined end, “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand / has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart. / To that place, to the keeper of that place, I commit myself.”

Eating Poetry

Eating Poetry
Mark Strand


Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
In Strand’s poem, “Eating Poetry,” he expresses the ways in which he loves poetry by using an extended metaphor of him eating poetry and becoming a dog hungry for poetry. While in the library, he literally eats all the poetry and the librarian gets upset: “ When I get on my knees and lick her hand,/ she screams./ I am a new man./I snarl at her and bark.” In these lines, Strand creates the image of becoming desperate for more poetry. So desperate that he acts like a dog, barking and licking the librarian’s hands. He depicts haunting images of snarling dogs and crying Librarians, therefore giving the sense that Poetry has a frightening power. Strand depicts the power that poetry has over him and how poetry can literally transform you. Eating the poems clearly has a negative meaning. When I first read it, it seemed that eating poetry could be a good thing if you are devouring them and gaining every shred of knowledge possible from them, however the stanza that says, “The poems are gone/The light is dim” and the librarians sadness clearly show us the eating of the poems is a negative. Therefore the person eating the poems seems to represent the wanton destruction of poetry by society. This notion is reinforced by the dogs coming upstairs and the librarians anger and sadness at their appearance. Finally the apparent descent of the narrator to becoming like one of these dogs shows the effect not having poetry and other literature would have on society, we would become like dogs. In this interpretation the librarians acts as a symbol of the intellectual who try to spread poetry and literature, but cannot always stop it from being stifled and destroyed. The words used are interesting because they are very strong images, happiness, eyeballs rolling, stamping feet and weeping, and yet the can be interpreted in very different ways. The dogs coming up from the basement stairs has a very strong image of hellhounds rising up from the pits of hell; which is very negative and something we usually try to avoid. After many readings I finally noticed that at the end, when he licks the librarian’s hand, he is still a man he is just acting like a dog. Mark Strand seems to be suggesting that if we lose poetry and our literature than we will become like animals.

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Edgar Allan Poe

The poem's setting has several Gothic elements, as the kingdom by the sea is lonely and in an undefined but mysterious location. Poe does not describe the setting with any specificity, and he weaves a hazy, romantic atmosphere around the kingdom until he ends by offering the stark and horrific image of a "sepulchre there by the sea." The location by the sea recalls the city of "The City in the Sea," which is also located by the sea and which is conceptually connected to death and decay. At the same time, the nostalgic tone and the Gothic background serve to inculcate the image of a love that outlasts all opposition, from the spiritual jealousy of the angels to the physical barrier of death. Although Annabel Lee has died, the narrator can still see her "bright eyes," an image of her soul and of the spark of life that gives a promise of a future meeting between the two lovers.The name "Annabel Lee" continues the pattern of a number of Poe's names for his dead women in that it contains the lulling but melancholy "L" sound. Furthermore, "Annabel Lee" has a peaceful, musical rhythm which reflects the overall musicality of the poem, which makes heavy use of the refrain phrases "in this kingdom by the sea" and "of the beautiful Annabel Lee," as well as of the repetition of other words. In particular, although the poem's stanzas have a somewhat irregular length and structure, the rhyme scheme continually emphasizes the three words "me," "Lee," and "sea," enforcing the linked nature of these concepts within the poem while giving the poem a song-like sound.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lines for winter

Lines for Winter

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.
Mark Strand

Mark Strand enjoys employing repetition of phrases in ways that create emphasis or invite varying interpretations with each appearance of a word pattern. As is often the case in Strand’s poetry, the vocabulary and syntax of the sentences seem simple, perhaps disguising their more complex and subtly provocative content. In its first statement, “Tell yourself” may be an offer of friendly advice. However, later utterances of the phrase take on a different sense, perhaps as a command or even a reprimand to the person being addressed. The selected words gather strength and volume with their prominent positions as they are repeated in the poem, and the recurrence of such language excerpts adds to the settling, almost hypnotic, tone developed in the rhythm of the poem despite some unsettling content. Likewise, the echo of “as it gets cold” implies the language could be seen as appealing to readers for separate stages of understanding, not just the physical “cold” of winter, but also the coldness that comes with loss of emotion and possibly death, or at least accompanying the sober recognition of one’s own mortality. Surely, images of winter or night frequently signal acknowledgment of one’s mortality, and the “gray” in line two hints at a common sign of aging. Even the poem’s title, “Lines of Winter,” may be seen as reference to later life’s facial lines, those wrinkles gained through age and experience, particularly for anyone who has endured a history of painful events. Strand also asks readers to associate other repeated phrases with alternative explanations, especially given the clever locations of line breaks.

The Remains

The Remains
I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.
What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.
My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.
Mark Strand
In this poem by Mark Strand, the narrator discusses his worldly situation. He forgets the names of people he knows, emptying his pockets then leaving his shoes by the side of the road. At night when it’s easier to make believe, he turns back his clocks and looks at old family albums, trying to pretend that time is not passing by and that he will have control over the passing of hours and days and years. He says his own name and says goodbye, watching them fall away into nothing because they are not material and cannot stand the test of time without something real to hold on to. He loves his wife, but she will not last much longer than he and therefore cannot anchor him to this world very proficiently. His parents have already risen
to heaven. However, he knows that he is defined by time, as is everything else in the world.There is a lot of emptiness in this poem. He empties his head of
people’s names, empties his pockets and his shoes and then in the end
he empties himself of his life, but parts of him still remain. This idea of emptiness with a physical remainder is consistant throughout the entire poem. That seems to be how a lot of things in life are. You cast off clothes and the still remain even if not in the context of being on your body. You get rid of a car and its still a car, but you don’t drive it anymore. You die but your physical body remains and when that rots away only the memory of what you were, if there is a way that is preserved, still exists.



From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Edgar Allan Poe
The painting depicts two scenarios. The top-left being the brighter one with the sunlight being bestowed upon the rest of the normal people. The sunlight here symbolizes happiness. This brighter half depicts the other normal people leading a life; from having a happy childhood with a supportive family to having great childhood buddies and growing up with them; from falling in love with the love of their life to having a blessed marriage and family with them. The chimney at the top of the house depicts a secure life and the smoke coming out of the chimney depicts that the family has ample food to survive on. The next phase shows the green normal kid, growing up with his buddies and his journey from a see-saw to owning a car. The next two phases are the green normal boys step towards finding his love and settling happily with her. The use of bright colours is deliberate to signify a happy and joyful scenario. Even the dividing line is red towards the happier side. This can also be depicted by the smile on every one’s face.
As opposed to the brighter side, the lower- right symbolizes Poe and the shadows of his troubled past which is unable to let go of. The use of shadows is deliberate even though the moon is crescent and is not casting much light. The shadows signify his parents who left him when he was three years old and Victoria, his wife whose shadow is slightly away from that of Poe’s because of their recent separation. The use of dark blue as the background is deliberate as even Poe refers to the heavens to be blue and signifies it to be a colour representing grief. Poe’s highlighted in blue depicting the elements of his aura to be sadness and sorrow and is coloured in shades of black since he exists as a nobody in the world. The shadows are also drawn as a reference for Poe to solve his mystery i.e. why has he come into this world and what is his purpose in life. Also, his shadow is coloured dark black because of the negativity, which is also referred to as the demon in the poem.