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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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2 votes
1 answer
81 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 "And did those feet in ancient time" (also known as "Jerusalem") [1] to ...
2 votes
1 answer
154 views

Meaning of Hesiod's line "reproaching the sons whom he himself begot..."

In Theogony lines 207 to 209, Hesiod says (English translation by Richard Caldwell, 1987): reproaching the sons whom he himself begot; he said they strained in wickedness to do a great wrong What ...
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are keteks based on some form of real-life poetry?

In Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive novels, the chapters are grouped into parts, the titles of the parts combining to form a ketek. For example, in the first book, The Way of Kings: Above ...
4 votes
1 answer
398 views

Marianne Moore’s ‘Four Quartz Crystal Clocks’

Marianne Moore’s poem ‘Four Quartz Crystal Clocks’ (1940) was first published in The Kenyon Review 2:3, pp. 284–285, and collected in What Are Years (1941). Here's the first stanza (of seven): ...
1 vote
1 answer
68 views

Meaning of "This clown of a wife"

The poem The Clown's Wife, by John Agard, shows the personal life of a clown at home is far cry from his professional life on stage as "a crowd entertainer" Seeing his off stage miserable ...
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Was "First They Came ..." a poem in German?

As I mentioned in another question, I have seen inconsistencies in the recounting of the poem, First They Came .... This led me to look it up and find out that the English poem comes from a collection ...
2 votes
0 answers
58 views

Who is “very fond of bearing false witness” in Byron’s “Don Juan”?

Here’s a stanza from canto I of Byron’s Don Juan, published in 1819. The narrator has been surveying the talents (or lack thereof) of his fellow-poets, and comments: Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby’...
4 votes
1 answer
145 views

"Wear the broom and climb the hedgerows" in Housman's "A Shropshire Lad"

Here’s poem XXXIX from A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad (1896): ’Tis time, I think, by Wenlock town     The golden broom should blow; The hawthorn sprinkled up and down     Should charge the land ...
3 votes
3 answers
272 views

Meaning of the last stanza of "Haunted Houses" by Longfellow?

In the poem "Haunted Houses" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the last two stanzas read: And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light, Across ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Has Robert Frost ever written a poem that doesn't rhyme?

I know a few of Robert Frost's poems, though I'm not an expert, and I've noticed that they all have long and elaborate rhyme schemes. Is this true for all of his poems? Has he ever written a poem ...
2 votes
3 answers
990 views

Who is the "we" in the fifth stanza of Longfellow's "Haunted Houses"? The ghosts or the living humans?

To whom does the "we" in the fifth stanza of this poem refer? Is it the ghosts who haunt houses, or the humans who live in the haunted houses? Haunted Houses Henry Wadsworth Longfellow All ...
4 votes
1 answer
97 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
363 views

Difficulty understanding the meaning of a line in Paradise Regained

I'm having trouble understanding the phrase "For no allurement yields to appetite" in the following passage from Milton's Paradise Regained: "By hunger, that each other creature tames, ...
0 votes
1 answer
102 views

Persona of the narrator in Housman's "Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree"

Here's the fifth stanza from the poem "Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree" by A. E. Housman, which revolves around a country lad with guilt-stricken state of mind after murdering his ...
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it an error to identify the narrator of "Ozymandias" with the author?

When the poem begins, "I met a traveler...," is the reader being invited to identify that "I" with P. Shelley himself? Would that have been the prevailing reading? Did Shelley ...
3 votes
1 answer
94 views

Literary technique in 'for peace comes dropping slow'

In the poem 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' by W. B. Yeats, what is the literary technique being used in the phrase, 'for peace comes dropping slow'? I'm not sure if it's anthropomorphism, pathetic ...
1 vote
0 answers
98 views

Regarding the poetic techniques:- "Upside- Down" by Alexander Kushner

A poem I read very recently is a humorous one by Alexander Kushner titled "Upside Down" which is all about a social mismatch nicknamed "upside down". The poem revolves around a ...
0 votes
2 answers
298 views

What is the poetic technique used in "I know why the caged bird sings"?

In Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Sympathy", when comparing the caged bird to suppressed black people in America, is the poet using metaphor or symbol?
5 votes
3 answers
597 views

Meaning behind “Where Once The Waters Of Your Face“

I recently read a poem called “Where Once The Waters Of Your Face” by Dylan Thomas. What does it mean? I feel there are a lot of terms related to sailing but I’m not sure I understand it completely. ...
23 votes
1 answer
5k views

Which is the 'correct' version of "The Lady of Shalott" and why are there two?

It seems Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalott". They are quite similar but have some big differences, for example, the first stanza of the 1832 version is: On either side the ...
6 votes
1 answer
130 views

What do the silks and tattoos represent in Sui-Yun's poem about Eve?

One of the Peruvian writer Sui-Yun's Four Short Poems (translated from Spanish by Jennifer Shyue) is written as addressed to "Eve, my eternal mother". I hope I'm not being excessively dirty-...
2 votes
2 answers
118 views

Who is the poet persona from the third stanza of "The terrorist he is watching"

Though looking simple with short dialogues, the poem The Terrorist He Is Watching written by the nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska is not well understood by many, including me. Who actually is (are?) ...
4 votes
1 answer
87 views

Scansion of a line in Yeats' "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"?

"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" holds a firm iambic tetrametric rhythm throughout, except for line 8, which includes 9 syllables: Or leave them happier than before; How would you scan ...
8 votes
1 answer
420 views

How does ignorance make a barren waste in "To the Nile" by John Keats?

The sonnet "To the Nile" (1818) by John Keats reads as follows: Son of the old Moon-mountains African!     Chief of the Pyramid and Crocodile!     We call thee fruitful, and that very while ...
5 votes
2 answers
101 views

What are these allusions to other poems in Louis MacNeice's poem "The Gardener"

Louis MacNeice's poem "The Gardener" (1939) contains the lines: He would talk to amuse the children, Or the robin waiting for worms Perched on the handle of the spade; Would remember ...
8 votes
3 answers
365 views

What are we to understand by "panther" in this Old English poem?

"The Panther" is an Old English poem, preserved in the Exeter Book, and translated in full by Aaron Hostetter. It's a poem about a panther, but what would the ancient Germanic peoples of ...
8 votes
1 answer
609 views

To understand "silver dew" in William Blake's "To the Evening Star"

I find the words "silver dew" occuring in the poem "To the Evening Star" by William Blake, over which I'm confused a little: Thou fair-haired angel of the evening, Now, whilst the ...
3 votes
1 answer
71 views

Connotative meaning of poetic lines:- "And We went without meat and cursed the bread"

In the famous poem Richard Cory by E.A. Robinson, given below are the lines of my interest So on we worked, and waited for the LIGHT, And went without the MEAT, and cursed the BREAD capitalisation ...
5 votes
2 answers
872 views

Meaning of "too silver for a seam" in "A Bird, came down the Walk"

The following lines appear in the Emily Dickinson's poem " A Bird, came down the Walk": And rowed him softer Home— Than Oars divide the Ocean, Too silver for a seam. What does the phrase &...
2 votes
2 answers
476 views

Difficulty understanding the meaning of the word "attitude" in Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought I am having trouble understanding Keats's use of the word "attitude" in these lines, and the explanation given ...
5 votes
1 answer
166 views

20th century poem ending with "-baby?"

In high school I rented a collection of poems from a male author that I believe had a black-and-white cover with a photograph on it. I got it from a USA library in 2012. I am looking for one poem in ...
5 votes
1 answer
93 views

Is John Crowe Ransom's 'Vision by Sweetwater' autobiographical?

John Crowe Ransom is today better known as a critic, but he also wrote excellent poetry. One of my favourites is 'Vision by Sweetwater', which, because it is short and not too well known, I hope the ...
7 votes
1 answer
146 views

Who or what is 'our God' in Swinburne's 'Ave atque Vale'?

The following is a bonus question to "Who is the 'pale Titan-woman' in Swinburne's 'Ave atque Vale'?", which I was advised to separate into its own question. The twelfth verse of 'Ave atque ...
4 votes
1 answer
73 views

Which language was the Aziz Isa Elkun poem in the forward to "Uyghur Poems" written in originally?

The forward to Uyghur Poems includes a poem that the editor and translator of at least some of the poems, Aziz Isa Elkun, wrote. It is dedicated to his mother, who he lost contact with in 2017. The ...
5 votes
3 answers
8k views

What does Wordsworth mean by "A pagan suckled in a creed outworn"?

I have two questions regarding this sonnet by William Wordsworth, first published in 1807: The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we ...
3 votes
0 answers
68 views

Poem about the coffee rings left behind on a table

This poem was published in a quarterly poetry magazine in the mid-'90s. It was about the coffee rings left behind on a table in a cafe. The coffee stains were compared to the memories of our lifetime. ...
18 votes
3 answers
10k views

What does the raven symbolize (besides death)?

Whenever I ask a friend about the symbolism of the Raven from The Raven, they always seem to say death. Is that the only thing the Raven is meant to symbolize?
6 votes
1 answer
451 views

Are there crossword puzzle clues in Roy Fuller's "News of the World"?

I've been reading some of Roy Fuller's poetry, and was very puzzled by his "News of the World": The seaweed-eating sheep of Ronaldsay; Don Giovanni set for wind octet; New Zealand hedgehogs ...
3 votes
0 answers
45 views

What is the original of this poem Kenealy supposedly translated from Bengali?

The poems (to use the word loosely) of the Irish writer and lawyer Edward Kenealy contain this alleged translation from the Bengali: Song in the Metre of the Original A maid there is more bright than ...
3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Did Uyghur poets make a "strong" distinction between poetry and song lyrics?

The forward to Uyghur Poems (written by Aziz Isa Elkun) comments that In later centuries, Uyghurs continued to compose poems in order to spread news, record significant contemporary events or the ...
7 votes
1 answer
532 views

Trouble understanding two lines from John Donne's poem "The Good Morrow"

I cannot work out how to parse these two lines from "The Good-Morrow": Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown Here's the whole stanza, ...
8 votes
1 answer
510 views

Meaning of a passage in Milton's Sonnet 21

I'm reading Milton's Sonnet 21 and a couple of lines are unintelligible to me. Here is the full poem. The emboldened lines 5 and 6 are the ones I'm having trouble with: Cyriack, whose Grandsire on ...
6 votes
1 answer
370 views

Major differences between Norse epic poetry and English epic poetry

I'm reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and the commentary talks a little bit about differences between Old Norse and Old English epic poetry: But Old English verse does not ...
3 votes
1 answer
229 views

In Lord Byron's "Don Juan," what was the lead character "half-smother'd" by?

This would be the character's first adventure. Julia, a married woman, became his mistress. Her husband, Don Alfonso, was told that she was cheating on him and ran into the bedroom, accompanied by ...
7 votes
0 answers
144 views

Meaning of "Ephete" in Seamus Heaney's "The Stations of the West"

So far, the only definition I've managed to get is "a member of an ancient Athenian court that tried certain murder cases" (Merriam-Webster), but since the poem is about traveling to the ...
6 votes
2 answers
381 views

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&...
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does it mean for a "bad eye" to "touch" something?

The poem Dance in Heytkah reads as follows, 12th September - Kurban Eid I saw the dance of Sama In the modern world Magic mirror on the wall My beloved hometown Kashgar From ancient history fill ...
3 votes
0 answers
47 views

What is the significance of the drawings in the first few pages of "Drops of Melodies"?

Drops of Melodies by Hemirah Tohti has the following images in the first couple pages of the Kindle edition: However, I don't see any attribution for these images and don't exactly understand their ...
4 votes
0 answers
80 views

Why are children described as "folly free" in the poem "Mothers Heart"?

The poem Mothers Heart (in Drops of Melodies by Hemirah Tohti) contains the following lines: She always thinks of her children Children play, folly free Why are children described as "folly ...
2 votes
0 answers
40 views

Why doesn't the person that the narrator is waiting for show up in this poem by Hemirah Tohti?

The poem You said you will come by Hemirah Tohti (from Drops of Melodies) reads as follows: You sent the news that you were coming I wake up full of joy in the morning Many years have passed My eyes ...

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