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].

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Iambic pentameter and mono syllables

I am studying poetry structure and I am focusing on iambic pentameter at the moment. From what I have read, there are 10 syllables per line and 5 stressed and 5 unstressed syllables. It goes ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Full English or French online translation of “De pugna avium”

I am trying very hard to find an English (or if not French) translation of the Carolingian poem "De pugna avium" from Theodulf of Orleans. I found a Latin version in the Bibliotheca ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

What are the “unknown land” and “eye of faith” in “Our Casuarina Tree”?

In the poem "Our Casuarina Tree" by Toru Dutt, between stanzas 3 & 4, there are the following 2 lines: That haply to the unknown land may reach. Unknown, yet well-known to the eye of ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

What do light and dark signify in Ai's “Woman to Man”?

Ai's poem "Woman to Man" starts with a striking description of lightning, with darkness being symbolised by a "knife [...] deep in the walls". This might be taken as just scene-...
5
votes
2answers
116 views

Is there any known tune for the last two verses of Rudyard Kipling's Parade Song of the Camp Animals?

The last section of the Jungle Book is a song by the animals serving in the army in India, split into sections for each animal. For the first four sections the verses closely mirror well known tunes ...
6
votes
0answers
87 views

How does “handwriting” provide evidence for dating Beowulf's composition to “the first half of the eighth century”?

The Wikipedia article for Beowulf has this interesting bit in the "Authorship and date" section: On the other hand, some scholars argue that linguistic, palaeographical (handwriting), ...
3
votes
0answers
39 views

Original Poems from Notes from the City of the Sun

I am interested in finding the original Chinese poems used in Notes from the City of the Sun by Bonnie S. McDougall. I know the poems are from Bei Dao, and, according to this webpage, the poems used ...
4
votes
1answer
676 views

What figure of speech is “transient feet” in “A Photograph” by Shirley Toulson?

In the poem "A Photograph" by Shirley Toulson, the phrase "transient feet" appears in the last line of the first stanza: All three stood still to smile through their hair At the ...
5
votes
1answer
67 views

Does Auden's poem 'The Model' refer to any particular painting?

I re-read 'The Model' by W H Auden earlier today, and I was struck by how good it is. I've venerated Auden since I was sixteen, but I hadn't appreciated this poem properly until now. I find myself ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

Is there a difference between Russian and English speaking cultures in the sense of rhythm when reciting poetry?

It may a vague question, but I haven't found any data on this myself. I am Russian and I've heard a lot of reading of Russian poetry, since my childhood (poetry reading by heart is a staple assignment ...
9
votes
1answer
667 views

What is a “roomy heart”?

There's a phrase in "Alms-Giving" that I'm confused about. First, here's the original, untranslated text: Wel bið þam eorle      þe him on innan hafað, reþehygdig wer,      rume heortan; ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

What does the poem “Philosophy” by Nissim Ezekiel mean?

Here is the poem "Philosophy" by Nissim Ezekiel. What do the parts in bold mean? There is a place to which I often go, Not by planning to, but by a flow Away from all existence, to a cold ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

What's the meter of “Song of Young Girl” by William Lang?

What's the meter of the poem "Song of Young Girl" by William Lang? The first three stanzas are: Softly I walk through the forest The owl sleeps in the thicket I hear the voice of the lake ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

What does the final stanza of “Thrushes” by Ted Hughes mean?

Here is the third stanza of "Thrushes" by Ted Hughes: With a man it is otherwise. Heroisms on horseback, Outstripping his desk-diary at a broad desk, Carving at a tiny ivory ornament For ...
3
votes
0answers
37 views

Looking for an elegy poem about a flower the narrator cared for (at the cost of enjoying life), which died and left him devastated

I'm looking for an elegy-style poem in which the narrator recounts ignoring the beautiful flowers around them, instead attending to a single flower that had yet to bloom. They thought this one flower ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

What is the lion in Tiel Aisha Ansari's “Dervish Lion”?

Tiel Aisha Ansari's poem "Dervish Lion" is in four parts, the narrator speaking to the wind, a mountain, the tide, and a lion. (Possibly corresponding to four elements, if the lion can be ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

Why is Sonnet 35 of Spenser's Amoretti repeated as Sonnet 83 later in the sequence?

Why are the sonnets 35 and 83 the same in Spenser's Amoretti? I was on luminarium.org when I spotted it. Except the italicized "Narcissus" in 35 and the regular font of the same in 83 and ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Robert Ronnow's “East Harlem to the Grand Tetons”

Robert Ronnow has a lot of poetry on his website, and this question is about "East Harlem to the Grand Tetons", a poem from his collection Brother Death, which the poet makes freely ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

In “Sordello”, how do we know the rejected spirit is Shelley?

In book I of Sordello (1840) by Robert Browning, the speaker addresses a group of spirits, Summoned together from the world’s four ends, Dropped down from heaven or cast up from hell, To hear the ...
4
votes
0answers
65 views

What is the “presence” in Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’?

In Wordsworth’s ‘Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey’ he describes a “presence”:                                 And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

What literary work is being referred to in this limerick in which “The earth, like an orange, is blue”?

In the blog post Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks on LanguageHat.com (2 April 2018), a certain Trond Engen posted the following limerick: The earth, like an orange, is blue. Your love and your ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Apostrophes at the beginning of stanzas in Byron's “The Giaour”

My question is about Byron's The Giaour and the opening apostrophe at the beginning of a stanza. For example: 'His floating robe around him folding, Slow sweeps he through the columned aisle; With ...
4
votes
2answers
70 views

Who are the pronouns referring to in the Mauritanian poem “You Will Tell Them”?

Mariem Mint Derwich's poem "You Will Tell Them", available in English translation from Words Without Borders, appears to be about a Mauritanian woman, perhaps "the" woman of ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Who is “you” in “The Waking”?

I'm trying to understand Roethke's "The Waking", and one of my problems is that I'm not sure who "you" is. Most of the poem uses "I" or "my", etc.. There are a ...
3
votes
3answers
161 views

What do you call the “message” written before a poem?

From Re Judicial by Baticuling (Jesús Balmori) in El libro de mis vidas manileñas (1928) Before the first stanza, the author begins with a little message: "Antonio Manipula, juez ... y ...
6
votes
1answer
168 views

Edna St. Vincent Millay's “Figs from Thistles: First Fig”

Edna St. Vincent Millay's very short poem "Figs from Thistles: First Fig" goes as follows: My candle burns at both ends;    It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—  ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Effect of enjambment in “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams

In "The Red Wheelbarrow" the poet William Carlos Williams uses enjambment to great effect (or so I have read): so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

What is going on in the first stanza of Audre Lorde's “Never to Dream of Spiders”?

The first half of the first stanza of Audre Lorde's "Never to Dream of Spiders" goes like this: Time collapses between the lips of strangers my days collapse into a hollow tube soon ...
1
vote
0answers
12 views

Walter Malone's “The World is My Home”

Walter Malone's poem "The World is My Home" is, on the face of it, openly a plea for humanity to come together as one united brotherhood rather than engage in disputes and wars: Travel to ...
7
votes
1answer
82 views

Poem-parody about O'Hare airport, written as though it were the Odyssey

I'm trying to find a poem that I'm relatively certainly was published in The New Yorker. I think I read it around 10 years ago, but definitely a margin of error of a couple of years on either side of ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the “a-” prefix in “a-flying” and “a-getting” in Herrick's “To the Virgins”?

From Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time": Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,     Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to day,     To morrow will ...
10
votes
2answers
791 views

Is there a term for epic poetry’s detailed, successive introductions of multiple characters?

I’ve noticed a topos in a few epic poems I’ve read where a long list of characters is given, each receiving practically a paragraph of description. In The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, Jason’s ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Why does Sir Harry like Matthias's poem and not Basil's?

In Mattimeo, Chapter 29, the rescuers' party encounters Sir Harry, an owl who speaks in poetry for much of his dialogue. For one example, this is how he introduces himself: "Why, pray, do you ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

What does “a star” symbolize here?

Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell, Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven. This verse has been taken from the poem "Opportunity" by Walter Malone. What does "a ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

What is the figure of speech used in this part of “Cataract Operation”?

What is the figure of speech used in these lines taken from the Simon Armitage poem "Cataract Operation"? the olé of a crimson towel. the cancan of a ra ra skirt, the monkey business of a ...
4
votes
1answer
246 views

What's the first appearance of the rhyme about “He died defending his right of way”?

There's a little poem that goes something like this: Here lies the body of Thomas Grey, Who died defending his right of way. He was perfectly right as he sped along, But he's just as dead as if he'd ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

What do superscript circles mean in poetry?

I am reading a book on the collected works of Alexander Pope. Peppered throughout his poems are little superscript circles or degrees symbols, seen in this image of the text (transcribed below) What ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What meter are “I lik the bred” poems in?

I'm trying to determine the meter of "i lik the bred" poems: "i lik the bred" is a series of short poems about a domesticated cow written by British author Sam Garland, better ...
3
votes
2answers
86 views

In what way can a utility coat be a mockery in a Ted Hughes' “Crow” poem?

In Ted Hughes' Examination at the Womb-door (of the Crow collection), Crow's organs are listed with certain kinds of descriptions (bold is mine): Examination at the Womb-door Who owns these scrawny ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

English translation of “Encargo”

Is there an English translation of "Encargo" by Julio Cortázar? I've not been able to find one online.
3
votes
1answer
137 views

What do the yellow banners in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Haunted Palace” symbolize?

The story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe contains a poem, "The Haunted Palace", which starts like this: In the greenest of our valleys,     By good angels ...
8
votes
2answers
938 views

What might “And God, for a Frontier.” mean in “I am afraid to own a Body—”?

I don't understand the second stanza of I am afraid to own a Body— by Emily Dickinson. Double Estate—entailed at pleasure Upon an unsuspecting Heir— Duke in a moment of Deathlessness And God, for a ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

When and why did “No man is an island” start being regarded as a poem?

John Donne's "Meditation XVII" from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) includes the following well-known passage: No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Symbolism in William Blake's The House of Death is unclear to me

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/blake-the-house-of-death-n05060 While I'm asking about a colour print it's as much about Blake's poetry. I haven't been able to find much analysis of this ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “But… They went home” mean in Maya Angelou's “They Went Home”?

Maya Angelou's "They Went Home" opens like this: They went home and told their wives, that never once in all their lives, had they known a girl like me, But... They went home. The end of ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

Which version of William Blake's “Jerusalem” did John Reith recite to celebrate the end of the General Strike?

In his 1PM radio broadcast on 12 May 1926, John Reith, managing director of the BBC, recited William Blake's "Jerusalem" to celebrate the end of the General Strike which had lasted for nine ...
6
votes
0answers
86 views

When and how was the phrase “these dark Satanic mills” in Blake's “Jerusalem” first altered to “those dark Satanic mills”?

William Blake's lines of verse "Jerusalem", which appear in the "Preface" to his poem "Milton", were written c.1804 and first printed c.1808. They also appear, but with ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

William Ernest Henley's “Invictus”

I am not able to understand William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" properly, except the last two lines. Can someone explain in detail the meaning of this poem? Out of the night that covers ...
2
votes
0answers
24 views

I'm looking for a certain haiku about kusarigama in Japanese

The haiku I'm looking for is probably of an anonymous author. I got a hint on a Japanese message board that it's maybe Musashi's one and I should find it in Eiji Yoshikawa's famous novel, but it's not ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

Meaning of three phrases from “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”

The poem "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" by Stephen Spender is given below Far far from gusty waves these children's faces. Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor: ...

1
2 3 4 5
12