“Planting a Sequoia” by Dana Gioia explores the struggle of a father coming to terms with the death of his new born child. Gioia uses the traditional narrative of the planting of a tree to represent the birth of a child and subverts this traditional Sicilian practice by rationalising the planting of a sequoia for his still born first son. Through the effective use of tone, imagery, setting and symbolism, the poet illuminates his thesis that life is transient, and this loss of a child is bearable because he believes the child will live on through the sequoia. As a symbol, the sequoia will break out of the limitations of the mortal realm, outliving the persona’s own family. At the beginning of the poem, the importance of the tree is shown when the persona, the father, portrays it to have human qualities, referring to it as ‘you’.
Eliot immediately starts the poem with an assertive tone, which straight away sets a dark, elegiac atmosphere that persists throughout the poem. The actual word “April” comes from the Latin word “aperire” that means to open, and therefore is a good way to open the poem. “April” is the start of spring and is the month of regrowth and birth, yet he still refers to it as the “cruellest month”. Birth eventually leads to death so life itself obviously loses value – this is Eliot showing the bleakness through even the most beautiful of things, in this case a new life. The word “cruellest” indicates that all of the other months are cruel to a certain extent, but April is apparently the worst.
‘Blackberry Picking’ is a poem which explores the childhood experience of the narrator, Seamus Heaney. The poem starts off with an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement as he and his friends go blackberry-picking. However, the poem slowly goes on to show the change of expectations the boy had when he realises that the blackberries are rotting, and at the end we are left with the narrator’s thoughts and feelings of this change. At the beginning of the poem, we can get a vivid idea of the positive atmosphere, before the change occurs. This slowly leads to a clear understanding of the poem’s theme, further on in the text; “Late August, given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the blackberries would ripen.” This emphasizes that the poet, as a young boy, is aware that they need these conditions of ‘rain and sun’ for the blackberries to ripen.
I will elaborate on the topic of poetic excellence with three poems; The Garden of Eden (Paradise Lost, Book IV) by John Milton, Happiness by Stephen Dunn, and lastly, Mirror Image, by Louise Glück. Paradise Lost is a biblical epic poem about the Fall of Man, written by John Milton in the 17th century. In The Garden of Eden, a peaceful and vivacious scene was brought to life. The first humans, Adam and his wife Eve, resides in the Garden of Eden which was created by God. They lived in the most tranquil manners, until when Eve was convinced to eat a fruit from the tree of knowledge.
Harwood highlights the extreme contrast in ones perception of love, life and death when influenced by either philosophy or poetry. In ‘The Violets’ Harwood explores the inevitable nature of passing time, that this passing gives rise to change and loss. The inevitability of the approach of death in the poem is seen through the figurative language and simile of sunset images ‘the melting west stripped like ice-cream’ symbolic of the inevitable approach. The connecting image of the violets are used throughout the poem ‘frail melancholy flowers’, ‘spring violets’ and ‘gathered flowers’ these images act as a metaphor representative of the stages of life. Each image is representative of high and low phases of life and ‘gathered flowers’ is suggestive of the end of life.
Regina DeSandro Daigle ENG 125 December 17, 2008 The poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” by Sir Walter Raleigh reflects a women’s view of love toward the shepherd. The poem is written with imagery and vivid speech to enable the reader to envision the outlook of love throughout life’s changes. The poem reflects the seasons of the world and the physical changes made during the changing of the seasons. Love is like a season, forever changing with happiness and sorrow. The poem is a response to the offering the shepherd made to the nymph is she agreed to be his lover.
William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Sonnet 12 Summary and Analysis Summary Sonnet 12 again speaks of the sterility of bachelorhood and recommends marriage and children as a means of immortality. Additionally, the sonnet gathers the themes of Sonnets 5, 6, and 7 in a restatement of the idea of using procreation to defeat time. Sonnet 12 establishes a parallel way of measuring the passage of time, the passage of nature, and the passage of youth through life — decay. Lines 1 and 2 focus on day becoming night (the passage of time); lines 3 and 4 link nature to humankind, for the poet first evokes a flower's wilting stage (the passage of nature). Then, in line 4, the poet juxtaposes this image with black hair naturally aging and turning gray (the passage of youth) — an allusion perhaps meant to frighten the young man about turning old without having created a child.
The word sleep is mentioned six times, each acquires more meaning. The tone leans towards the negative side and the timing is during winter, leaving the reader to feel a deeper meaning to sleep; death. Also, going back to the first 2 lines, “My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree/ toward heaven still,” can be taken as once the speaker dies this is the path he will lead – to heaven. Subsequent to apple-picking, the speaker becomes more aware of his physical and mental state and how his time to sleep or death is near. Through an experience and connection with nature, the speaker in “The Tuft of Flowers,” reaches understandings.
For example in the line: The sun will share your birthdays with you behind bars, the new spring grass like fiery spears will count your years, as you start into the next year, endure my brothers, endure my sisters (“Oppression’’ 3), the poet is encouraging people to endure and suffer and not be afraid to go behind the bars since the sun will share their birthdays and new springs with them. In Conclusion, Oppression is another name for
In this poem, the lady autumn teams up with the sun, basks in the breeze of a granary, and takes lazy naps in a field. Lines 2-3: Autumn is personified for the first of many times in the poem. She and the sun whisper together like a bunch of gossipy teenage girls. But the goal is serious and necessary: they are responsible for the bounty of fruit and crops that will sustain people through the winter. Line 12: The speaker asks a rhetorical question to introduce a connection he believes the reader will recognize, between autumn and the harvest.