Sunday, August 27, 2017

Analysis of "Habit" by Hazel Hall


A short narrative poem.

However, this poem made me wonder about the difference between what the mind wants and what the body is willing to do.  The poem is a memory set up in the first line, "Last night when my work was done."  In my notes I wonder what "work" means in this context.  Is the work something different or something the same -- or maybe a little of both.

"And my estranged hands / Were becoming mutually interested / In such forgotten things as pulses"  There's a grim sense in these lines -- a distance in which is defined by the language of "estranged" then turning "mutually interested.  The "pulses" image has a weird positive and negative connotation for me.  The comparison is a simile to "forgotten things", so there's a feeling of a second wind, a pulse that's interesting, but there's also a hidden history here of why are pulses forgotten.  Good reasons?  Bad reasons?

The last four lines encapsulate a certain expanse:

I looked out of a window
Into a glittering night sky.
And instantly
I began to feather-stitch a ring around the moon
  The inspiration from the sky is cliche, but the feather-stiching a ring around the moon is interested.  Remember this is what the hands and the mind agree to do -- go beyond the expanse into metaphor.  Something intangible or maybe ineffable to agree upon.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Analysis of "Late Summer's First Day" by Henrik Nordbrandt




What struck me the most was the title.  How paradoxical the language is of "Late Summer" and "First Day."  What the title does for me is set up a comparative interest that revolves around time -- or rather timing.

The sun has burnt through
That which resembled a mask
was just itself:
From the construction, it's not the sun that is the mask, but the what the sun burnt through.  For me the lines is a play on what to imagine because of the "that."  What does "that" refer to if it is not the sun?  "There is nothing / between the light and its source."  From the next two lines, there's an ephemeral moment that expands the discussion to what it means to illuminate -- be present -- from a source which doesn't necessarily has to be present to illuminate.  Memory is a good example of "There is nothing / between the light and its source."  How about a phantom pain, "There is nothing / between the light and its source."

The fields gather dust
instead of rising
The woods stand cold and hard
The houses have come out
for the last time.

Dystopian language here.  In haiku, it's renso, the imagination chain where one image expands or pans out to others.  First it is the dust in the field, which moves to the woods, then the houses.  Note with each image the description seems more contrary to the image of summer -- dusted fields seems more like a spring image, woods that stand cold and hard seem more like a winter image, the houses, although with no correlation with a particular season, has no connection.  This lack of connection also questions what first day means when everything appears to be the last day based on the images.

Their expressions are unequivocal
and inexplicable as Tarot cards.
For a moment you see the future
as clearly
as if it lay before you
From specific images to pronouns.  Who are "they?"  What does the "you" refer to?  I feel the "their" refers to more of an overarching humanity they based on the dystopian.  "Unequivical," leaving no doubt; unambiguous, and "inexplicable," unable to be explained or accounted for, seem broad descriptions for expressions at first, but, for me, when I think of Tarot cards it's not happy and great time summer, but rather people either going through tragedy or preparing for one.

Is this the future?  Is this because Summer is late?  I read this poem as though someone is experiencing the end of the world, or a changing of the world to the catastrophic -- global warming?  Climate change?


Friday, January 20, 2017

Analysis of "Flying at Night" by Ted Kooser

Poem found here: "Flying at Night" by Ted Kooser



"Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations."  I was thinking about this sentence for a while.  In regards to images -- above is individuals in a distance, and beneath is a collection in the distance.  What does that mean?  Well, this poem is a comparative poem like the next two lines, "Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies / like a snowflake falling on water."

For me, everything stated so far is something I cannot grasp -- literally.  Stars, constellation, galaxy -- so far off, so much imagined imagery.  Even the snowflake falling on water, which seems like something to hold on to, disappears.

But then the poem goes into a very specific scene:

[...] Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.

"A chill of that distant death" seems a bit sarcastic.  Something unable to grasp and just going back to the usual thing of "snaps on his yard light."  However, I take the chill as genuine -- or rather, there was a thought that happened that sobered up the farmer.  "little system of his care" brings in a comparative analogy of our own little galaxy -- everyone being celestial.

This idea ends out the poem, "All night, the cities, like shimmering novas, / tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his."   Being celestial doesn't mean not feeling alone -- loneliness occurring in individual galaxies -- individuals.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Analysis of "There is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier" by Matthew Rohrer

Poem found here: "There is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier" by Matthew Rohrer



The poem is a hyperbolic personification of loneliness.  The question is why?  Why go to his extent to explain loneliness.  To me, I found the poem entertaining and funny because of the personification.

"There is absolutely nothing lonelier / than the little Mars rover / never shutting down [...]"  My initial response to the first three lines was "hyperbole" and "humor?"  The hyperbole is apparent with the loneliness applying to an inanimate object; however, it's the description, and location that defines the loneliness -- Mars and never shutting down, "digging up / rocks, so far away from Bond street / in a light rain."

The short lines adds a sense of repetition -- "digging" for something that is not there.  I'm not sure what "Bond street" means, but, to me, it's a reference for being "down to earth" without being so apparent.

"I wonder / if he makes little beeps?"  The entering of the speaker in this poem brings a sense of commentary -- an observer standpoint on what loneliness and the mars rover means; or rather, the poem goes away from description and adds a rhetorical question about sound or rather a connection through communication that isn't responded to, "If so / he is lonelier still."

Also note that the rover is labeled as a "he" as in, "he coughs,"  which makes the rover human.  Too human?  I feel the speaker wants me to forget about the rover as the rover and imagine someone or myself in the position of being on mars digging by himself ("The Martian?")

"A shiny / thing in the sand turns out to be his."  This is, I think, the second concrete image in the poem (bond street in light rain being the first).  The first adding a sense of separation.  The second, an acknowledgement only to the self.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Analysis of "Sonnet" by Bill Knott

Go here for Bill Knott: http://www.billknottarchive.com/


Soon, it'll be 3 years since Bill Knott's death.

It's odd to think about being able to e-mail someone and get a response from them.  I'm a nobody who e-mailed him out of the blue and he responded in kind.  But I don't regret trying to connect.  In any case, I'm reminiscing.

"The way the world is not" is an interesting opening line fragment.  The line implies a deficiency.  The world is not enough, but then the enjambment leads to something personal, "Astonished at you" which comes off as a an insult which the speaker doubles down on, "It doesn't blink a leaf / When we step from the house".

I think the usage of "we" changes the tone of the poem from casual insult to something curious -- as the poem has a plan from the comparison.

Leads me to think
That beauty is natural, unremarkable
And not to be spoken of
Except in the course of things
The comparison is in the negation.  Beauty, although natural, is something the world will never acknowledge, never remarks on.  But there's always Helen of Troy (if you think about the past) or any celebrity (if you think about the now).  According, to the speaker though his persona ideal of beauty is never remarked on with these exceptions

The course of singing and worksharing
The course of squeezes and neighbors
The course of you tying back your raving hair to go out
And the course of course of me
This is the integral part of the poem -- the exceptions.  "Singing and worksharing" seems like workshopping -- creating poems, creating art about the other which is still unremarkable.  "squeezes and neighbors,"  something to show what surrounds: people close does not mean the world.  Then the single action of tying a hair back and the repetition of a dumbstruck speaker -- not what the world cares about.

But the speaker is astonished "Astonished at you / The way the world is not".  The comparison being a more personal astonishment rather than a cursory astonishment.  But why explain why the world is not astonished?  To me, it makes the speakers voice more sincere and lonely -- he can't compare to the world and he's just an exception.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Analysis of "Orison" by Betsy Sholl

Poem Found Here: "Orison" by Betsy Sholl

Orision, a prayer.

I think what interests me the most about this poem is the intimacy of items.  I could be facetious and ask, "did god really have this jacket."  However, the poem lends itself to a certain vulnerability that is both ignored and acknowledged.

Let me  give back to God
his jacket, his locket,
his thin slippers,
sunglint, sleetspit, stars.

Note the "s" alliteration that moves along the poem as though to get through the poem in a momentum.  The poem does build with the images from jacket to stars, but the poem makes me wonder who the "God" represents in the poem.  Does this matter though?  I think the importance is what the speaker is letting go of.

And here's my cracked,
my sullen, unstrung guitar,
hung like a rabbit
in the butcher's window

Of all things that feels like has sentimental value to the speaker, it's this guitar.  It's the way the guitar is described through the personification of "sullen" to the simile of the rabbit.  There's a resignation through giving up, "a hole in the belly / where the song should be."

The next two lines has a circular feel to it," Emptiness only / emptiness can see."  Philosophy through the senses.  My question is would God also be this emptiness?  Is that why he needs these items?  Is the the speaker empty from giving these items away (well this is answered directly with the last two lines, "Let this be my prayer. / Does anything belong to me?").

By giving up the items, God becomes the forefront of the poem.  I'm not asking why the speaker gives these things up because there is an answer -- a prayer, a favor, but there isn't an answer to the "why God wants this."  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Analysis of "I Remember You As You Were" by Pablo Neruda



The poem is written in four quatrains.  The poem lingers with its images -- the grey beret and the idea of autumn to create a poem of lament or celebration perhaps.

I remember you as you were in the last autumn.
You were the grey beret and the still heart
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.
All the quatrains are end-stopped, so every quatrain feels like a scene.  Here the speaker first notices the other with "grey beret and the still heart" -- the visual que; however, note the contrasting images of the flames in the eyes and the water of the soul.  These images usually don't come together unless to compare something.  My guess the comparison refers to the external aspect versus the internal.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant
the leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.
Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

Desire?  Want? Lust?  The second half of this stanza takes over sine the emotion comes out in the forefront.  What is actually happening is the the other is holding on to the speaker and the thoughts come up -- a fire and a flower entangling with the self and want.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house
Towards which my deep longings migrated
And my kisses fell, happy as embers.
This feels more like a dream sequence rather than an actual affair.  The phrase, "the autumn is far off," seems like time has passed between the moment and what the speaker remembers.  Furthermore, the images of the other are the same, but the simile of "heart like a house," feels like a forced image.  Something to come back as a memory.  Sure, the affair can be implied; however, does it matter -- it's what the speaker remembers from action to touch, "And my kisses fell, happy as embers."

Sky from a ship.  Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.

The expansive images in the first line creates a distance from the speaker and the other, "Sky from a ship. Field from the hills" which parallels the memories -- something hazy of light and smoke and a pond.

But the speaker goes back to the memories and focuses on the eyes -- those blazing eyes and that leaves of the soul.