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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John P Portelli, "Upwards I Surge"

This question seeks an analysis of John P. Portelli's very short poem "Nog la 'L Fuq" / "Upwards I Surge" (1977), originally written in Maltese and included with an English ...
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Why might Robert Frost specify a ' long two-pointed ladder' in the poem 'After Apple Picking'?

The opening lines of Robert Frost's 'After Apple Picking' read: My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And there's a barrel that I didn't fill Beside it, and there ...
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1answer
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Who is this Lawrence Bonavia?

One of John P. Portelli's Maltese poems is entitled "To Fr. Lawrence Bonavia" ("Lil Fr. Lawrence Bonavia" in Maltese): it's number 52 in his poetry book available from his website (...
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1answer
578 views

How to scan Wyatt's "They flee from me"?

I was told in my class that "They flee from me" is written in iambic pentameter, except for line number 6 in the second stanza in iambic tetrameter. However, some lines in my textbook have ...
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1answer
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Shakespearean Sonnets within his plays

The prologue to Romeo and Juliet is a sonnet. Are there other moments, sections within the plays that are sonnets? I'd like a list of Shakespearean sonnets which appear in his plays (not in the 154 ...
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1answer
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What is the "South Wind of lie"?

One of the poems in John P. Portelli's poetry collection "In Between: Malta and Canada" (freely available online from the author's website, page 91) is the short poem "The Past and the ...
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1answer
55 views

Did William Blake intend The Tyger to resemble a nursery rhyme?

I have often heard that William Blake’s The Tyger is supposed to resemble a nursery rhyme. For example, in analysis I found on “Mercs Poetry Blog”: This poem, despite its mature themes and ...
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2 Related Poems by Rimbaud and Verlaine

I'm looking for two poems by Rimbaud and Verlaine. They escape to Belgium together, went to a town party, and both wrote a poem about the event. Verlaine was really straightforward, and classical. ...
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1answer
172 views

How was Il-Kantilena "found", and how is its author known?

The 15th-century Maltese poem "Il-Kantilena" is said to have been "found" in the 1960s by two Maltese historians, but the above-linked Wikipedia page, and other sources I've found ...
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1answer
231 views

What is "the Throne of Mammon grey" in William Blake's "I Rose Up at the Dawn of Day"?

The poem is fairly self explanatory, but I can not place the "grey" hanging off of "This is the Throne of Mammon": I rose up at the dawn of day— 'Get thee away! get thee away! ...
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Why does the poem "I Love" seem to imply that Belarus is fertile?

Follow-up to: Is Belarus actually hard to farm? The poem I love by Kanstancyja Bujla contains the following lines: I love our Byelorussian nation, Cottages where green orchards throng, The ...
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1answer
203 views

Who is "Dr. Johnson" in Meinke's "Apples"?

Here is a few lines from "Apples" by Peter Meinke which mention a "Dr. Johnson":   One sympathizes with Dr. Johnson here when he kicked a stone to dispute the Bishop: such airy-...
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1answer
420 views

Why is snow compared to "ash" in the poem "Snowfall"?

"Snowfall", by Ravi Shankar, has this as its first verse: Particulate as ash, new year's first snow falls upon peaked roofs, car hoods, undulant hills, in imitation of motion that moves the ...
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William Carlos Williams poem about poems

A friend has a very distinct memory of a William Carlos Williams poem about poems, where he writes "words exist on the page actually" about the way he would work and rework the same words ...
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In Mary Tighe's Psyche, what is the gemstone referred to by allusion?

In Mary Tighe's "Psyche", Canto 1, lines 413 - 414 (see the text), a gemstone is referred to by allusion to an episode in mythology. To quote, And there the gem which bears his luckless ...
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Does Georg Heym's poem Louis Capet betray a specific political orientation?

The German poet Georg Heym was an important representative of expressionism. Wikipedia tells us that he was a member of the short-lived society or club Der Neue Club: Other members of this Club ...
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1answer
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What do the saint, the angel, the musician and the sandalwood refer to in Mallarmé's poem Sainte?

Stéphane Mallarmé was a major symbolist poet. One of his poems is Sainte (available on Wikisource). On the surface, it talks about musical instruments, a sandalwood tree, religious ceremonies, an ...
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How do we parse poems with unusual grammar?

I quote here without typography, because I don't know how to show it on stack Morning breeze morning breeze murmurs / on water trembles leaves / young trees above green branches / birds cascade / ...
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What does "worried stone" mean in this poem from "Tumor"?

In "Tumor", by Anna Leahy, the author wrote a poem about her mother's cancer death, with the title "Gravity 2", after she had written a poem about her father's death, with the ...
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What did Philip Larkin write about his poem "The Importance of Elsewhere"?

What did Larkin write and/or say about his poem "The Importance of Elsewhere"? I'm trying to find out what Larkin had in mind when he wrote that poem. I had assumed it referred to (the ...
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Repeated mentions of eggs in poems by Allen Ginsberg

I've been listening to Allen Ginsberg reading his own poetry, and I've noticed a repeated mention of eggs in them. For examples: who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg "...
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Was Philip Larkin factually correct when he implied that in 1955 the streets in Ireland were "end-on to hills" more often than those in England?

In the 1955 Philip Larkin poem "The Importance of Elsewhere", it reads: Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable, The herring-hawker's ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the correct title of Sara Coleridge's poem about the months?

Sara Coleridge's poem begins: January brings the snow makes our feet and fingers glow I have seen this listed as: The Garden Year The Months January brings the snow What is the correct / original ...
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Actual meaning of Shakespeare's sonnet 30

Sonnet 30 is commonly believed to be talking aboutt 'How Shakespeare's mood gets lifted when he thinks of his friend' (common believed to be fair youth). So while reading on the topic I came across an ...
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1answer
103 views

What does "in Twos and Threes" mean in this Robert Bly poem?

I'm reading Bly's book of poems Stealing Sugar from the Castle. I cannot understand the title of "Love Poem in Twos and Threes". Does "in Twos and Threes" mean small groups of ...
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1answer
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Why is parched grain that grows anyway a metaphor for the Belarusian people?

Like Water, Like Fire contains the following poem: Where the Egyptian sands spread far around, Close where the waves of azure Nile are flowing, A tomb stood many thousands of years: men going Within, ...
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1answer
117 views

What does Sri Aurobindo mean by "sweet madness"?

This is from book X, canto III of Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol by Sri Aurobindo: All our earth starts from mud and ends in sky, And Love that was once an animal's desire, Then a sweet madness in ...
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2answers
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Edmund Spenser's sonnet "My Love is like to ice, and I to fire"

Here is Sonnet XXX from the sonnet cycle Amoretti by Edmund Spenser: My Love is like to ice, and I to fire: How comes it then that this her cold so great Is not dissolved through my so hot desire, ...
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2answers
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Who is Mrs Icarus in Carol Ann Duffy's poem?

This is Carol Ann Duffy's poem, "Mrs Icarus". I'm not the first or the last to stand on a hillock, watching the man she married prove to the world he's a total, utter, absolute, Grade A ...
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1answer
40 views

Valzhyna Mort's "it's so hard to believe"

The poem "it's so hard to believe" by the Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort can be found here both in the original Belarusian and in an English translation. According to my reading, the poem ...
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Rhyme scheme in two of William Blake's poems

I have a question regarding rhymes in two English poems by William Blake. Here is the first poem, "The Ecchoing Green": The sun does arise, And make happy the skies. The merry bells ring To ...
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Did T.S. Eliot really plagiarize in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

I've been trying to do research to confirm my English teacher's claim that T. S. Eliot plagiarized works by Jules Laforgue, Henri Bergson, and Andrew Marvell in his poem "The Love Song of J. ...
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What does "FACIT" mean in D. J. Enright's "The Typewriter Revolution"?

D. J. Enright's poem "The Typewriter Revolution" (1971) is a text in which a typewriter appears to revolt against its owner (?), resulting in the distortion of texts and literary allusions. ...
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1answer
355 views

Parody of Lewis Carroll's parody, "You are old, Father William"

You Are Old, Father William is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is a parody of Robert Southey's poem, The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them. I ...
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573 views

What does Browning's patriot mean by "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe"?

In the sixth stanza of the poem "The Patriot" by Robert Browning, what do the last three lines mean? “Paid by the world, what dost thou owe “Me?”—God might question; now instead, ‘Tis God ...
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1answer
328 views

Who are the “men of the west” who eat clay in “Aurora Leigh”?

In Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora's cousin Romney Leigh complains about the character of the times: We’re too materialistic,—eating clay, (Like men of the west) instead of ...
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Why is Romney’s pattern “on his nail” in “Aurora Leigh”?

In Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the character Romney Leigh has a “pattern on his nail”: To think,—I have a pattern on my nail, And I will carve the world new after it, And solve ...
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1answer
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What does it mean that "your door is stroked with chalk / then at dark a chariot arrives" in Belarus?

In the poem Belarusian I by Valzyhna Mort, extracted from her book Factory of Tears, the poet appears to be bemoaning the lack of freedom in her country. Some parts are clear enough, even if ...
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1answer
79 views

Is Belarus actually hard to farm?

To Our Native Land by Janka Lučyna starts as follows: Thou art spread widely with forests and marshes, With sand-dune expanses that grant but poor living It then goes on to talk about how bad the ...
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1answer
62 views

Has "To Autumn" ever ended the first stanza with something other than a period?

Is there an edition of Keats' poem To Autumn which ends the first stanza with something other than a period (full stop)? Do we have an edition of it that Keats saw through the press? I think the ...
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458 views

What do these two segments mean in Milton's "On Shakespeare"?

I find two amphibolous segments in Milton's poem "On Shakespeare" when translating into Chinese, and thus need some help. In first stanza What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones, ...
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Who wrote this particular poem in Zinky Boys?

Zinky Boys refers to the following (rather morbid in my opinion) poem: Women and wine are fine But a real man needs more The sweet taste of war The interviewee mentioned that that bit of verse was ...
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1answer
48 views

What was the original rhyming scheme of "Do not shun me..."?

The poem Do Not Shun Me... starts as follows: Do not shun me, my lord, nor recoil Because callouses all my hands cover; For such sis the badget of a hard toil, And will not defile you, no never. 'Tis ...
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672 views

Ogden Nash poem on hiccups

I have a vivid memory of reading a poem by Ogden Nash about hiccups that included the word "epiglottis" to help explain why they happen. I think it also had, as a poem, his quote about how &...
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1answer
75 views

What is the significance of the 40-year period referred to in this Francisak Bahusevic poem?

The poem My Pipe by Francisak Bahusevic contains the following lines: Like fish from the river, On the ice a-flapping, Just so I, it happened, Forty years flapped, yearning, Yet knew no returning, ...
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Name for prosodic pattern in which the last line in a verse is much shorter than all the rest

I noticed this pattern in Auden's poetry where the last line in a verse will be much shorter than preceding lines. Here is one of the earliest examples, taken from Paid on Both Sides: Here a scrum ...
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Why does Tahir Hamut Izgil speak "the names of ants" he's known?

Reading Tahir Hamut Izgil's "Somewhere Else"*, I was confused by why "ants" specifically were brought up here: night after night one after another I spoke the names of ants I’ve ...
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1answer
527 views

Use of 'city' in Byron's poem "Darkness"

In his poem "Darkness", Lord Byron writes: [...] The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies: they met beside [...] Is Byron employing ...
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1answer
184 views

What is Krosyn?

"Play then, play" by Pauluk or Paŭli︠u︡k Bahrym (in the poetry anthology Like Water, like Fire) contains the following lines: ... But the bagpipes I must play, for I in Krosyn cannot stay ...
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From which book or essay are these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson? "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year..."

A funeral director proposed the following reading for a service. This poem by Emerson: Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns ...

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