Questions tagged [poetry]

Questions about poetry in general or about any specific poem. Please use this tag with the appropriate author tag, and, if applicable, a language tag (such as [french-literature].

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4 votes
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What does Walt Whitman mean by the last two lines in his poem, "The Voice of the Rain"?

Here's Walt Whitman's poem "The Voice of the Rain" And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower, Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated: I am the Poem of Earth,...
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2 votes
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Understanding comparisons in Crowcolour by Ted Hughes

In the poem "Crowcolour", the shortest of Ted Hughes' Crow poems, there's a series of comparisons of Crow's blackness with other black images. Here's the full poem: Crow was so much ...
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Did any poets or authors say that youth came after age before Bob Dylan?

In the song "My Back Pages" Bob Dylan famously inverted the usual chronological assumption of aging by poetically saying I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. This concept ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Why did T.S. Eliot compare “waiting for death” with “a feather on the back of the hand"?

A Song for Simeon Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and The winter sun creeps by the snow hills; The stubborn season has made stand. My life is light, waiting for the death wind, Like a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Why does the river refer to itself in the plural?

The Golden Hum by Pavlo Tychyna includes the following: :we'll grow tall! said the poplars. :we'll burst into song! said the flowers. :we'll overflow: said Old Man Dnipro. The poplars, flowers, and ...
3 votes
1 answer
91 views

What's the meaning of the following lines from "Tristan and Isolde: The Love Sin"?

What does Lady Jane Wilde mean when she says the following in her poem "Tristan and Isolde: The Love Sin" (lines 64-65): Like pale shadows from the tomb, When an open death of doom and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Why is "The choir of bell-flowers" referred to as "a fragment of a long poem" in the subtitle?

The Choir of Bell-Flowers by Pavlo Tychyna in The Complete Early Poetry Collection has the subtitle "A fragment of a long poem". What does this mean? Was that added by the translator or by ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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Why do some lines in Stanza 2 of "Pastel" start with a colon?

from Pastel by Pavlo Tychyna: II The iron day Drank up some good wine Blossom, meadows! - :I've been walking-for a day- Graze, herds!- :to see my love- for a day- Ears of grain like cradles sway!- :...
0 votes
0 answers
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Why do willows go to the Cathedral?

Cathedral by Pavlo Tychyna starts as follows: Willows to one side, Beggars to the other. the willows bend and bend and bend. The beggars stoop over. Why is the Cathedral attended by those two groups ...
0 votes
1 answer
82 views

What is swamp milk?

Pavlo Tychyna's poem Enharmonies starts as follows: Above the swamp milk is spun... A black raven lost in thought A grey raven is musing It pecked out eyes. God knows whose. I'm confused by this, ...
2 votes
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Why did Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man" refer to itself as a "false mirror"?

Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man concludes with these lines: That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sound to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up nature's light;...
5 votes
2 answers
91 views

What did Alexander Pope mean by "That reason, passion, answer one great aim"?

Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man concludes with these lines: That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sound to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up nature's light;...
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Why did the sacrifice make the trees free?

The poem The poplars in the fallow fields are free starts as follows: The poplars in the fallow fields are free (Someone had brought a sacrifice at Sundown) What is this referring to? Who was the ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Why was the rye angry about being called "golden"?

From the poem "Somewhere Spring Approached" by Pavlo Tychnya: The rye ripened. I told her: "You're Golden!" Angrily her eyebrows splintered. She turned away. And left. And just ...
1 vote
0 answers
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Why does "Like Harps, Like Harps" end with "Lament..."?

The poem Like Harps, Like Harps (from Pavlo Tychyna: The Complete Early Poetry Collection) by Pavlo Tychnya is as follows: Like harps, like harps - the golden groves resounded Selfstrumming: spring ...
1 vote
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In Crane's "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen", does Helen turn into a neon sign?

In Yannella, Philip R. “‘Inventive Dust’: The Metamorphoses of ‘For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen.’” Contemporary Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1974, pp. 102–22. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/...
4 votes
1 answer
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Poem about a gross but beautiful urban garden, possibly by Millay

I have a dim but vivid memory of a poem, 95% sure it was by Edna St. Vincent Millay, about an urban garden alive with beauty despite everything that’s gross about it. Toads, fungus, etc. are the vibe. ...
6 votes
1 answer
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Poet from the 50s / 60s who said being a poet was like standing out in a storm trying to be hit by lightning

as per subject, I remember a quote like being a poet meant standing out in thunderstorms trying to be struck by lighting and if you were lucky you might get struck maybe 4 times in your life. I ...
9 votes
0 answers
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What is the name of a poem about relativity?

I am looking for a specific poem I read years ago. It was a poem on relativity and theories on the universe. I do not remember the author but I know she was female and either Spanish or Portuguese. ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Scanning Langston Hughes' "The South"

Here's the poem "The South" by Langston Hughes scanned by me (a non-native English speaker): The lazy, laughing South With blood on its mouth. The sunny-faced South, Beast-strong, Idiot-...
1 vote
1 answer
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Name for device in "Possessions" by Hart Crane?

The poem 'Possessions' by Hart Crane contains a lot of what I call 'false units', that is, sentences which appear to have predicates describing subjects, but in reality the predicates do not modify ...
5 votes
2 answers
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Meaning of "enabled of the eye" in a poem by Dickinson

A little road not made of man, Enabled of the eye, Accessible to thill of bee, Or cart of butterfly. If town it have, beyond itself, 'T is that I cannot say; I only sigh, — no vehicle Bears me along ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Was Whitman the first poet to write in sentence fragments?

One aspects of some modern poets is that they sometimes write sentences without main verbs or no main verb in the main clause. I'm not talking about interjections or sentences where an implied 'be' ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Who is the "Lady of Light" in "Speak Now for Peace" by Vachel Lindsay?

In the poem "Speak Now for Peace" by Vachel Lindsay, we hear an appeal to the "Lady of Light". Is this simply a reference to Jane Addams, a peace activist in the early 20th ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Nativity poem from the Innkeeper's perspective where he laments over not having known whom he pushed off

In my latter High School days, as part of an oral communications course, I was required to memorize and deliver a poem before the class. I found one in the school library and met the requirement with ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of "only a bird could have got in" in "The Castle"

From "The Castle" by Edwin Muir: Our gates were strong, our walls were thick, So smooth and high, no man could win A foothold there, no clever trick Could take us, have us dead or quick. ...
6 votes
0 answers
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What did Yeats in his late period think of his early work?

The poetry of W.B. Yeats is commonly seen as belonging to three rough phases. The first is a Romantic and pre-Raphaelite style of flowery verse which commonly invokes figures of Irish mythology. The ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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What does Tennyson mean by "the rustic cackle ... [is] the murmur of the world"?

I am finding the following lines from Tennyson's Idylls of the King quite perplexing: A thousand pips eat up your sparrow-hawk! Tits, wrens, and all wing'd nothings peck him dead! Ye think the rustic ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is this an accurate explanation of Jakobson's definition of the "true hallmark of poetry"?

The Wikipedia on Roman Jakobson says The true hallmark of poetry is according to Jakobson "the projection of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection to the axis of combination&...
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3 votes
2 answers
606 views

As the former name for Baghdad, does "Sutis" contain any special or symbolic meaning?

Lawrence Joseph has mentioned the poem "In This Language, In War's Revolutions" that: in the city Baghdad, named Sutis by its founder, Nebuchadnezzar, here where the prophet Daniel ...
7 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of 'pelted clover' and 'gorged pastures' in Louise Glück poem?

What do 'pelted clover' and 'gorged pastures' mean in the following poem by Louise Glück? Clover leaves that are being thrown? A pasture land with a pathway in the middle? Labor Day Requiring ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Why did the war-trenches get leveled over with sand?

The Belarusian poem It would be well by Maksim Tank (which was written in the aftermath of brutal fighting in Belarus during WWII) included the following line: The winds level over our war-torn ...
3 votes
1 answer
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What does "Pulled-up" mean in the Lawrence Joseph poem Rubaiyat?

Here part of the poem "Rubaiyat" by Lawrence Joseph: The holes burned in the night. Holes you can look through and see the stump of a leg, a bloody bandage, flies on the gauze; a pulled-up ...
2 votes
1 answer
90 views

In metrical poetry, what is equal timed?

In metrical poetry, what is equal timed (isochronous)? Is it: the foot, or the ictus, stressed syllable, in a foot, or something else, or nothing in particular?
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4 votes
1 answer
110 views

Why is the 1820 Indicator version of La Belle Dame Sans Merci seen as more "politically correct"?

In his textbook Theory of Literature, Paul Fry writes at length about Jerome McGann's critique of Keats. As part of this he has this to say about the comparison between the 1819/1848 and the 1820 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Rhymes in William Blake's 'The Tyger'

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 'Eye' and 'symmetry' don't rhyme in modern standard English. But pronunciation ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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Accented è in Blake's "The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd / And all the hills echoèd."

Here is a poem by William Blake with some accented è's (Nurse's Song, 1789). How is this è pronounced? What is the background as to why the e bears an accent? When the voices of children are heard on ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Who was Captain Hastel?

The Eagle Well-Spring by Alaksiej Zarycki was dedicated "to the memory of Captain Hastel." It includes the lines ... For the eagle's grave came not seeking! That's where Hastel's heart ...
1 vote
0 answers
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Why did Alaksiej Zarycki dedicate "The Heart" to Pimien Pancanka?

The Heart by Alaksiej Zarycki starts off by saying: A miser I, The greatest of misers All that I can find in My heart I am hiding. Dreams from youth rising, Battle's loud thunder, Fortune'd bright ...
8 votes
1 answer
307 views

What does 'diope' mean in the poem 'Pediatric Reflection' by Ogden Nash?

"Pediatric Reflection" by Ogden Nash Many an infant that screams like a calliope Could be soothed by a little attention to its diope. What does "diope" mean here?
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why does Pimien Pancanka refer to a point in Georgia when talking about Iran and Belarus?

A poem by Pimien Pancanka in Like Water, like Fire is simply titled * * *, and it was labeled "Iran, 1944" at the end. It includes the following lines: The cranes fly beyond Kazbek and El'...
4 votes
1 answer
341 views

Scanning "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote"

How would you scan the first line of The Canterbury Tales: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote This blogger says that it's an iambic pentametre line with a headless initial foot and a feminine ...
1 vote
0 answers
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Figures of speech in "Once Upon a Time" by Gabriel Okara

Here are two extracts from the poem "Once Upon a Time" by Gabriel Imomotimi Okara: ‘Feel at home!’ ‘Come again’: they say, and when I come again and feel at home, once, twice, there will be ...
4 votes
1 answer
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What is a partisan hut?

My Hut by Anatol Astrejka ends with the following lines: When no trace of war will meet you, To deep forest glades once more I'll return, again to greet it, My partisan hut of yore. Earlier, the ...
2 votes
0 answers
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Does "Native Bread" refer to the Passover Story?

Native Bread by Piatro Hlebka starts as follows: The fire burns. Round the trench is massing For home yearn our countrymen, And the partisan young lasses Bake and dry flat loaves again. May that ...
7 votes
1 answer
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Who first claimed that Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” referred to the Church of England, and what was their argument?

William Blake’s poem ‘And did those feet in ancient time’ (1808) contains the lines And was Jerusalem builded here, Among these dark Satanic Mills? The meaning of the phrase “dark Satanic Mills” is ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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What does this mean about the interpretation of Lauretta's song at the end of Day 3?

At the end of Day 3 of the Decameron, Lauretta sings the following song after dinner, at the request of the new "king" Filostrato: What dame disconsolate May so lament as I, That vainly ...
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2 votes
1 answer
115 views

Was Thomas Hardy's "Unkept Good Fridays" negatively received in its time?

Thomas Hardy's poem "Unkept Good Fridays" (1927) is about all the other people who did good deeds and were unjustly killed but don't have their names remembered or celebrated like Jesus ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Illustrated anthology book of poetry, with one of the poems being about putting too much sugar in a baby's tea?

I was given an illustrated book of lot of individual English poem in the 90s (book could have been older) with 'weird' poems for children. I think the illustrations might have been watercolour, and ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Why is Zaki Ovais "someone I’m afraid of"?

The poem Someone I'm Afraid Of (text available here) by Zaki Ovais concludes with the following lines: I’m a human in the universe, denied the most basic rights. I’m someone I’m afraid of. I'm ...

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