Questions tagged [poetry]

This tag should be used on questions about poetry in general or about any specific poem. Please use this tag with the appropriate author tag, and, if applicable, the language tag (such as [french-literature].

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98 views

Theme of William Wordsworth's poem “We Are Seven”?

"We Are Seven" is a poem by William Wordsworth and this poem depicts the innocent nature of a child who just does not want to understand that her siblings have passed away of natural causes and ...
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1answer
551 views

Opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem “Riot”

Please explain the following opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks's poem "Riot": John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe, all whitebluerose below his golden hair, wrapped richly in right linen ...
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A slightly different interpretation in the poem “Boat Stealing” by Wordsworth

I have recently annotated this poem and when looking online, I have found that my interpretation of the poem in some aspects is a bit different to most others. I just want to make sure that my ...
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18 views

Some Whitmanic Lines

To the tally of my soul, Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird, With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night. Loud in the pines and cedars dim, Clear in the ...
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of “cloudless at dawn” and connection with Shakespeare's head?

I was reading one of the master-pieces by Stephen Spender, "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum". Following are the starting lines of the second of four octaves: Our sour cream walls, ...
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21 views

What is the meaning of these phrases from “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”?

From Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d" While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed, As to long panoramas of visions. Here what is the meaning of "be bound in"? Does ...
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1answer
57 views

What figure of speech does “alive enough to have strength to die” by Hardy contain?

The poem "Neutral Tones" by Thomas Hardy was written in 1867 and published in the 1898 collection Wessex Poems and Other Verses. It contains the stanza: The smile on your mouth was the deadest ...
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2answers
357 views

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens quote interpretation

I'll give the whole poem for context, but I'm having trouble making complete sense of a line in the poem. What exactly does Stevens mean by the phrase "wanted much most to be / The scholar to whom ...
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18 views

What does Walt Whitman mean by “going in for my chances”?

From "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman: What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me, Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns, Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first ...
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12 views

What John Ashbery books are more similar to “Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror”?

I loved the whole volume beyond words, so, hungry for more, I continued with “The Double Dream of Spring”, but apart from a few poems I really like, I’m having a harder time getting into it. I know ...
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37 views

Are Lorca's “Gypsy Ballads” adapted from, or inspired by, traditional Romani songs?

Federico Garcia Lorca's Romancero Gitano, usually translated as Gypsy Ballads, is a collection of poems, about which Wikipedia says: All of the poems deal with the Romani people (gypsies) and their ...
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2answers
68 views

The meaning of the poem “Crucified” by Kahlil Gibran

I am a high school student, and my assignment was to find intertextuality of the crucifixion of Christ and write a reflection about it. I was surfing on the web, and found a poem called "Crucified" ...
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38 views

Is Hemingway's poem entitled MITRAILLIATRICE or MITRAIGLIATRICE?

I read -- a few months ago -- Hemingway's juvenilia poetry & short-story collection stoically entitled Three Stories & Ten Poems. It was published in the early 1920s -- I think 1923, but I've ...
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1answer
26 views

Converting poetry to prose

The poem describes a situation when three witches (Old Goody Jones, Goody Price, and Madge Gray) and a man (Robin) stole into the vicarage's cellar and indulged in revelry. These thieves laughed so ...
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153 views

What does “ceremony of innocence” mean In “The Second Coming”?

The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,...
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1answer
134 views

Emily Jane Pfeiffer's “Evolution”

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s poem ‘Evolution’ was first published in Poems (1876): Hunger that strivest in the restless arms     Of the sea-flower, that drivest rooted things     To break their ...
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2k views

What is the meaning of “To Autumn”?

Many poems are filled with metaphors and underlying ideas about deeper things and more broad issues or feelings. I personally feel that "To Marguerite" is an example of this, where the poem is ...
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80 views

“inlooped flags” in Whitman's poem

What is the meaning of "inlooped flags" in a poem of Whitman (When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd)? He is describing the Lincoln funeral: Coffin that passes through lanes and streets, ...
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42 views

How can enjambment be used to enhance rhythm in a poem?

I was wondering how enjambment can be used to improve the rhythm in poetry. I have seen some innovative uses of it by e.e. cummings, such as by breaking a word and writing the ending on the next line....
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3answers
243 views

John Betjeman’s “Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London”

John Betjeman’s poem ‘Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London’ was first published in the collection Continual Dew (1937). It’s short enough to quote ...
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2answers
339 views

Could “mark” in “London” by William Blake be meant as a name?

Stanza 1 of "London" by William Blake is as follows: I wander thro' each charter'd street, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow. And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of ...
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1answer
122 views

In “Howl”, what does “Blake-light tragedy” mean?

In the passage from Ginsberg's Howl: who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war How does the hyphen in Blake-...
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1answer
269 views

What is the meaning of the poem “Praxis” by Wendy Xu?

This poem caught my eye a few days ago. I was strangely unable to find a single analysis piece, however. What is the meaning of Praxis by Wendy Xu?
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What does A. E. C. denote in the poem about Edward Anti-Teller?

"Perils of Modern Living" is a poem written by the physicist Harold P. Furth inspired by a speech on antimatter by Edward Teller. (Hat-tip to our comrades at Worldbuilding SE for making me aware of ...
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1answer
69 views

What does T. S. Eliot mean in the poem The Hollow Men when he ended it with “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper”?

I once read a poem "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot. The poet ended the verse like this: This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a ...
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39 views

What does “the cedars where our old ones sleep” mean here?

days pass easy over these ancient hills  i wander near a moccasin path overgrown with rusted cans and weeds i stand in the forest at sunset waiting for a song from the rising wind  it ...
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1answer
88 views

What is the meter of the poem “Snow” by Louis MacNeice?

I'm struggling to find the meter in which the poem "Snow" is written. I know that Shakespeare's poetry was written in iambic pentameter. So far, I've read that the poem "Snow" has a rough meter, and ...
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1answer
64 views

Repetition of “smile” in Kamala Surayya's 'My Mother at Sixty-six'

In the poem 'My Mother at Sixty-six' by Kamala Surayya, the poet ends the "prose" saying all I did was smile and smile and smile.... There are various critical interpretations as to what does the ...
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1answer
59 views

What does Neruda mean when he says ‘Maybe January light will consume My heart with its cruel Ray.’?

I’ve been a fan of Neruda for a while now. In his Sonnet LXVI: I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You, he says: Maybe January light will consume My heart with its cruel Ray, stealing my ...
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1answer
40 views

Who is the 'Immortal Hale' in William Cowper's The Task?

I was reading Book III of William Cowper's The Task today. Lines 252-260: Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage, Sagacious reader of the works of God, And in his word sagacious. ...
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75 views

Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed”

This question is asking for open-ended interpretation of a poem. See here on meta for an explanation. Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Man He Killed’ (1902) was published in Time’s Laughingstocks (1909):     “...
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1answer
98 views

Is Wilfrid Scawen Blunt's poem 'The Camel Rider' really a translation?

I came across an interesting poem by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in a forgotten old tome, The Faber Book of Twentieth Century Verse. Blunt's own note states it is 'From the Arabic'. Is this just a device, or ...
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1answer
222 views

Difference between “Ode to” and “Ode on”?

We sometimes see Ode to and sometimes Ode on. Do these both mean a poem written about something? I am a new literature student.
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15 views

Is there specific mythological significance to the Dingli Cliffs?

The poem "Cliffs" ("Irdumijiet") is part of a collection available online by the Maltese-Canadian writer, poet, and academic professor John P. Portelli. Written in 1973, and found on pages 40-41 (page ...
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1answer
5k views

What is the meaning of Blake's poem “The Sick Rose”?

William Blake's very short poem "The Sick Rose", from his Songs of Innocence and of Experience, runs as follows: O rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm, That flies in the night, In ...
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2answers
5k views

What is the deeper meaning of “The Tyger”?

William Blake's poem "The Tyger" is part of his collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, an extraordinary set of poems which explores ideas such as spirituality, love, poverty, repression, all ...
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311 views

What is the deeper meaning of Blake's “The Lily”?

The poem "The Lily" by William Blake must be one of the shortest of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience collection, only four lines long: The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep ...
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1answer
8k views

Why did the stars throw down their spears?

William Blake's poem “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience contains one couplet whose meaning has always puzzled me, lines 17–18, the first two lines of the fifth stanza: When the stars threw ...
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1answer
65 views

What is the text Ivan refers to in the preface to the Grand Inquisitor

Before declaming the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov, Ivan refers to a poem with the virgin Marie visiting Hell and begging God for mercy for its inhabitants. Is this a real poem? If so, ...
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7k views

What's the origin of the rhyme “My friend Billy had a ten foot willy”?

A simple rhyming song which I heard growing up and which still gets stuck in my head every so often: My friend Billy had a ten foot willy. He stuck it through the neighbour's door. OR He showed ...
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1answer
92 views

Can anyone identify this parody of 'Consider the ant'?

Hoping you can help with this half-remembered poem that from what I can recall was written by someone who worked for the New Statesman or the Spectator in the 1970s. The opening part is: 'They say ...
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2answers
340 views

In what literature does Rumi say “You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love?”

In what literature does Rumi say, "You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love?" Any slight modification of the verse, e.g. "The soul of the soul of the universe is love" can ...
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74 views

How was poetry born? [closed]

It is probably impossible to know how literature or music were born. However I would like what research says about how poetry was born. Perhaps some people claim that it came into existence after ...
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1answer
77 views

How can “Death be not proud” be related to the areas of exploration?

Here is the summary of the poem "Death Be Not Proud" by Jon Donne (Source - https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44107/holy-sonnets-death-be-not-proud)- “Death Be Not Proud” presents an argument ...
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1answer
77 views

Help understanding this quote/hymn by Isaac Watts

Recently heard this, and was trying to figure out what it means. It's by Isaac Watts and, I believe, from his book https://www.amazon.com/Arrangement-Psalms-Hymns-Spiritual-Songs/dp/024343913X Our ...
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0answers
169 views

Analysis of “Liberty Tree” by Thomas Paine

I am having some trouble comprehending a portion of "Liberty Tree" by Thomas Paine, and was unable to find a decent analysis of it. It is my understanding that this poem is about the Liberty Tree that ...
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30 views

Poem about moving beds

I remember a poem about a little girl who is with her mum and is trying to change the sleeping arrangements or something so that she can stay in her dad's bed. I remember something about the father ...
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1answer
152 views

Bright or brightly?

A little known fact is that William Blake was a talented musician who would sing his poems. Unfortunately no sheet music of his poems exist, meaning the actual melodies he specifically used are ...
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1answer
110 views

What is the meaning of Samuel Butler's eulogy beginning “I fall asleep”?

I found this as a part of some frequently quoted poems in the eulogy (such as http://www.peopleinspirit.com/poems___quotes.html. I am not sure what exactly it tries to convey and how people use it, ...
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240 views

What is the effect of using “silver” to describe the “horn” in “Madman's Song” by Elinor Wylie?

Here is the poem "Madman's Song" by Elinor Wylie (from The Prose and Poetry of Elinor Wylie , by William Rose Benét): Better to see your cheek grown hollow, Better to see your temple worn, ...