Poetry Response Essay

512 Words3 Pages
Incident “…he poked out His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.” I saw the whole of Baltimore From May until December; Of all the things that happened there That’s all that I remember.” These lines are very interesting in the way it’s presented. It has a very solemn yet “matter-of-fact” tone to it. the rhyming that Cullen employs here gives it a childish, nursery rhyme, as he alludes to the experience of being in a big city as he age of 8, as he previously says in the poem “ heart-filled, head-filled with glee” but then the rhyming continues, giving the poem a perverse feel, not angry at the incident, just an experience gone awry, but an incident that marked him, none the less, since it seems the have marked the city in his brain, his only connection to it a racist remark. Incident “It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns. When they were done, they left quickly. No one came. The wicks trembled all night in their fonts of oil; by morning the flames had all dimmed.” The allusion that Trethewey draws here is very powerful. She retells the night she saw the Ku Klux Klan. But the language here is so efficient and beautifully prosed, that you know this without her ever mentioning it. she calls the “white men in their gowns”, “angels”. this use of irony gives an eerie feel to the poem, as they were dressed in white, yet because all of the emotions and stirring of the environment as an angel of death would. She personifies the wick, as its light “trembled all night”, as a metaphor for her wavering confidence. The fact that she keeps telling us that they “left quickly” and that “no one came” shows us that she was anticipating destruction, some sort of commotion. The tone here is very present, showing us that indeed she is scared, yet some sort of stillness is felt in the poem, alluding to her same stillness, hoping not to be
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