Saturday, November 2, 2013

Analysis of "Canticle of Clouds" by Jennifer Atkinson

Original poem reprinted online here: "Canticle of Clouds" by Jennifer Atkinson
Originally read: May 18, 2013
More information about the Poet: Jennifer Atkinson


When I first read this poem, I didn't look up any of the terms and tried to go at this poem as is.  Past me wrote this overarching idea about the poem, "fragmentation of emotions, memories, interpretation brought together by simple placement of punctuation." I remember focusing on one thing in this poem and that's the usage of the semi-colon as a separating and connecting device. 

But now I should look up all the terms that I don't know...there are many.

Canticle.  Well, yes, then.  The form of a repeated structure "name -- (interpretation) description [how things anaphora] ; description (interpretation)" reads similarly to a hymn. Yet there's the lack of musicality, and a sort of religious reverence is in it's place instead.

Stratus.  Well the image sort of fits the interpretation.  The clouds are dispersed and has no structure "happenstance" as it may seem.  The semi-colon further interprets the image by simple description and interpretation, "dust and diaspora" loading the image with some sort of meaning only to be taken away with the next shift of the clouds.

Cirrus.  I don't know what "easy come" refers to but the idea fits well with the interpretation at the end.  The image of the cloud as "tendril, spindle, and tuft" references more of the construction; meanwhile, the "sigh" can go with the "easy come" part.  "The intervention of drift" is syntactically interesting.

Contrail. Past me wrote that this line, "a stitch in time" is a bit cliche.  However, the line fits with the flow of the Cirrus stanza -- the construction and the stitch.  The speaker's visual description also refers to the emotional impact of the speaker, "how things linger and fade."  The interpretation comes with a sort of word play with collateral damask.  Once again the serious is hinted at but fades away with weird, yet innocuously calming rhetoric.

Nimbus.  The most well known of the types of clouds, but the first line, "see no, speak no evil;" intrigues me because the clouds are so expansive that the visual of the clouds hides what's behind them.  The "brim and spill line" more visual in the fact that nimbus clouds are more likely to hold rain.  "Part and whole; the unmarked field over a field ;pure radiance put to use."  Past me focused on this part of the line "Part and whole" -- however I find the focus should be "the unmarked field over a field" to be the focus because, visually, I can see a parallel between the sky, cloud, earth, underneath earth.  Also because the poem sets up this kind of interpretation through the parallel structure itself.

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