Thursday, March 14, 2013

Analysis of "To The New Year" by W.S. Merwin

Original poem reprinted online here:  "To The New Year" by W.S. Merwin
Originally read: January 1, 2013
More information about the Poet: W.S. Merwin

So here's what I wrote on my notes: "'that do not stir' is important here because the simile is not on the leaves but the ambiguous 'you' that is the representation of sunlight."  So old me, I agree that 3/4 of the first stanza describes the "you" but I'm not so sure that the "you" is the representation of sunlight.

"You" gives off "the first sunlight,"  what else gives off sunlight?  The sun (well it's in the wording sun-light)?  What am I trying to get to?  Okay.  So I think previously I wrote that "you" in a story refers to the speaker, or an audience.    There's more possible ways (I think I concluded), and here's one.  The "you" in the poem is a construct of the speaker.  The speaker first states the you then starts to define it "first sunlight" that goes and touches all of nature (first stanza).

Would this poem work without the you in the first stanza -- probably yes -- but the poem is not about the "new year,"  subtly (or obviously) the poem is about the speaker.  How the speaker sees the world.  How the poem thinks of aging.

In stanza two on this line, "we have come with our age" I wrote  down "intro to the 'we' format.  Shared 'age.'  Age brings in the positive,"  Hmm..not that descriptive past me. Anyway, the speaker compares himself/herself to the construct that he/she made. "Whether or not / anyone hears it this is / where we have come with our age".  The comparison is personal and only visible (felt, seen) to the speaker.  It doesn't matter if anyone sees how beautiful my construction of the sunlight is -- I believe in it...I think that's where the poem is getting at.

Anyway, at the bottom I wrote down different ways of writing "invisible" and thinking about connotations behind the words.

"clear, invisible = positive connotation??
unknown, other = negative connotation??
dark, shadow = psychoanalytic connotation??
Probably more situational, based on the poem"

I'm not to sure about how situational connotations can be.


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