Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Analysis of "'Gymnopédies No. 3'" by Adrian Matejka

Poem found here:  "'Gymnopédies No. 3'" by Adrian Matejka


I'm not sure if this poem is referring to the compositions by Erik Satie or if the title refers to this sort of whimsy and dance found in the poem.  Does the poem depend on the title?  Honestly, I'm not too sure, since when I was reading the poem I was focused on the flow and movement of the images and lines.

"This sunlight on snow."  A very focused image descends, "this decrescendo / of covered stomps & brush / stop for it"  The poem has a commanding tone which is subdued by the nature imagery.  But the focus is on this light and to "stop" for it.

This repetition of "stop" continues in this poem, "Stop before the shed end- / over-ends / down the chin of the hill--"  Note how the punctuation mimics Cummings, but the way the poem descends on the page has a stronger visual influence to it.  Stop the poem says and read these lines and look at these images.  Every adjusted line seems precise as well.

"the way it always will / at the rock 2/3 of the way down."  The usage of the fraction breaks the tempo of the poem in a good way.  In this way the poem is looked at the fracturing device of adjusted lines and the difference between the sun and the snow.

"Stop & shiver in it: the ring / of snow inside gloves, / the cusp of red forehead"  Note the usage of ring and how this image is used as a simile to the contrasting image of, "like a sun just waiting to top / the hill."  The play continues of sun and snow with actual mention of games, "snowball waiting to be thrown, / every bell-shaped angel / stamped over the brown leaves."

Then the poem goes into the reason from this change of pace -- one that has, in the beginning, this sort of nature reverence quality, to the one of play, "When my daughter ranges / in winter, / she works every dazzling angle --"  These lines might be a little too cute, but I contend the focus on this lines are two fold: 1) To solidify the change in perspective and 2) the line "dazzling angle" is such a encompassing image which tells more about the style and content more than the relationship between the speaker and the snow and daughter.

So the following phrases, adjective/noun combinations, refers also to the dazzling angle, "the crestfallen pine-cones, / the grizzled beards / of bush in the morning."  The personification of the landscape to match the human in nature transition.

"a furnace's windup huffing / in this throat- / clearing of snow."  The final image is inside, but the personification could refer to the idea of "clearing the snow"  the change for the sun -- something brighter no matter how it is seen in different angles.

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