Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Analysis of "Chinese Quatrains (The Woman in Tomb 44)" by Marilyn Chin

Original poem reprinted online here: "Chinese Quatrains (The Woman in Tomb 44)" by Marilyn Chin
Originally read: December 7, 2012
More information about the Poet:  Marilyn Chin

So, I thought about this poem the night before.  I remembered feeling discomfort about reading this poem the first time.  "My father escorts my mother / from girlhood to unhappiness"  from these lines -- there's no good coming from it.  However, this poem, describes the life of this woman not as a historical piece and not as a pity poem -- rather through a series of unconnected, surreal yet influential images.

Or at least that's what I read the second time.  The first time I read this I was wondering how the images connect -- why the images aren't connecting -- of course there's the worm of course, but still.

For me, I'm trained to follow the image or rather that images introduced in the beginning will always come around in the end as a great symbol to follow.

But how about this, life doesn't work like an image in a poem.  That sometimes they don't connect.  Or how about this, if someone likes me keeps to an image too long, the only thing I can see and focus on is the manufactured image of the past.  What future?  What context? What history?  No, it's easier to fall in love with an image of petals than to look at them decay.

And at the end of this poem, I "justify" each stanza, "The description of jewels on the body is interesting, yet since -- I feel -- that the stanzas are self-enclosed, the lines are overreaching to mean something." Or maybe I'm just overreaching for the poem to mean something.  Which I'm pretty sure is the case.

1 comment:

  1. the consistent vulgarity of refrences e.g the gragonfly reaching a new stage, the author 'mother brought to unhappiness' the baby in the clam who is inducted to the realities of life does kind of connect the entire poem to singular tone of voice if not imagery. I like how raw that makes it.