Original poem reprinted online here: Advent by Rae Armantrout
Originally read: December 1, 2012
More information about the Poet: Rae Armantrout
So the last comment I wrote cut off at the end, "This poem packs a lot of 'choose your own' dichotomey [sic] choice meanings in such a short poem and yet is really clever." I don't know what this sentence means either.
Anyway, the usage of sequence is interesting in this poem -- most of my notes try to figure out how sequence works effectively in the poem. First, the idea of Advent, being a religious season of waiting for Jesus to arrive, starts off the poem. Then the continuous images of threes (which is parallel to the holy trinity [or that's where my mind goes because of religious reasons]).
Stanza One: mother, baby, sheep
Stanza Two: sky, god, girl
Stanza Three: thing (close to nothing), fatherless (not really a noun, but stands alone for attention), everything
So this poem hinges on the direct statement in stanza two, "Pick out the one / that doesn't belong". The statement is so bold that I go back to this poem and try to figure out what doesn't belong.
At the end of the poem, I'm trying to figure out which one doesn't belong, and when I read the poem in the beginning, I'm thinking what doesn't belong here too.
And when I choose one, the meaning of the poem changes -- kind of like a choose your own adventure book. For example mother, god, nothing don't fit, so the focus is on the other two options: sheep, baby, girl, sky, fatherless, everything create a whole new experience for me.
This is not to say that if you choose one the "meaning" or "conclusion" of the poem changes; rather, the change of perspective, focus, and stake constantly shifts and changes based on single words, single choices.