Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Analysis of "Handfuls" by Carl Sandburg

Original poem reprinted online here: "Handfuls" by Carl Sandburg
Originally read: January 6, 2013
More information about the Poet: Carl Sandburg






"I've seen the word 'dusk' so many times."  That's how I started off from my notes.    It's not that the image is overly used or the word itself is over-representing the image; it's just that time frame (morning -> night) and seasons (Summer -> Winter) have been big topics in poetry as symbols, as images, and  overall inspiration.

What interested me about this poem is how Sandburg uses his images.  The first line caught me off guard, "Blossoms of babies / Blinking their stories" the lines are surreal, but, sonically the lines shift from b's to s's.   Then in the following lines there's the "babies" take on the character of "gamblers."

Even now, I don't know what's going on.  Hmm, I wrote this down:

"I like this comparison.  It comes from nowhere, but after I think about it a couple of times -- it fits well with kind of tone of nature (+) vs city grime (-)"

So looking back on this comment, I don't think past me got it or saw that babies = little red gamblers, therefore their is no contrast, but a shift.  It's no the babies grow up to be gamblers, it's that they are gamblers.  That's why I circled the semi-colon in line 4 -- similar items not entirely separate (if I know my semi-color correctly).

There's definitely a shift in time in the second stanza "Summers of rain, / Winters of drift"  but "they go back"  I thought the second stanza tried to add something more to the passage of time and "Winters of drift" is a cool image, but not my favorite part of the poem.

The last stanza I wrote, "Shift of colors red to grey sort of (predictable) descent of a person (child) far away from nature and the process is (cyclical)?"

So after reading my notes and rereading this poem again, I'm thinking it's not a natural sort of cycle, rather a self imposed cycle.  Like a willed death of people unwilling to change internally, but rather externally like the seasons.  I think.  I'm trying to comprise Current me analysis and past me analysis and I think I came up with a mess.

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