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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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-1 votes
1 answer
11 views

“It’s fast holding by the rings in front” in Browning’s ‘Fra Lippo Lippi’

In ‘Fra Lippo Lippi’ (1855) by Robert Browning, the speaker, the painter Filippo Lippi, says: I’m grown a man no doubt, I’ve broken bounds: You should not take a fellow eight years old And make him ...
2 votes
1 answer
150 views

"Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine." in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning of a verse from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here): [...] Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed, And every soul from human trammels freed, No more so ...
3 votes
1 answer
132 views

"Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man!" in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning of the following passage from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here): "Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man! Turn them aside, wretch! or the ...
3 votes
1 answer
49 views

"Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see" in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning to the following excerpt from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here): "Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee! ...
4 votes
1 answer
167 views

"More beautiful than ever twisted braid..." in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning to the following couplets from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here): Ah, happy Lycius!—for she was a maid More beautiful than ever twisted braid, Or sigh'd, or ...
2 votes
1 answer
61 views

"His phantasy was lost, where reason fades,..." in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning to the following excerpt from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here): Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appeared His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, ...
6 votes
4 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

From which original text does this Rumi poem derive? "What was said to the rose that made it open..."

What is the original writing in Farsi by Rumi? What was said to the rose that made it open.. was said to me here in my chest. What was told the cypress that made it strong and straight, what was ...
7 votes
1 answer
255 views

"Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose" in John Keats's "Lamia"

I am trying to understand the meaning to the following excerpt from John Keats's Lamia (full poem here), and especially the fourth line below: Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, And in ...
1 vote
0 answers
189 views

Regarding the poetic techniques in "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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
726 views

What does Athena mean in this passage of book 3 of the Odyssey?

In book 3 of The Odyssey, Athena says this to Telemachus after he says that he will never gain her favor (in Robert Fagles' translation): “Telemachus!” Pallas Athena broke in sharply, her eyes afire— ...
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Have there been any scholarly attempts and/or consensus as regards the missing lines of "The Ruin"?

"The Ruin" is a poem in Old English by an unknown poet, preserved in The Exeter Book. It reflects on the fall of civilizations, and was likely inspired by the ruins of Roman Bath. But the ...
3 votes
1 answer
293 views

What does Athena mean by 'slaughtering his droves of sheep and cattle'?

In book 1 of The Odyssey, Athena says to Zeus (in Robert Fagles' translation): While I myself go down to Ithaca, rouse his son to a braver pitch, inspire his heart with courage to summon the flowing-...
4 votes
1 answer
572 views

What does Athena mean by "suave, seductive words" in the Odyssey?

In book 1 of The Odyssey, Athena says to Zeus (in Robert Fagles' translation): "Atlas’ daughter it is who holds Odysseus captive, luckless man—despite his tears, forever trying to spellbind his ...
7 votes
2 answers
196 views

Meaning of "Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause" in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: Their poet, a sad trimmer, but no less In company a very pleasant fellow, Had been the favourite of full many a mess Of men, and made them speeches when half ...
6 votes
1 answer
531 views

The rules of alliteration in Germanic poetry as they pertain to single syllable triple consonant clusters starting with the letter s

In Germanic poetry such as the edda and Beowulf, consonant cluster words starting with the letter s have special rules about alliteration. From Wikipedia, using Minkova 2003 as a source: The ...
4 votes
1 answer
93 views

What was the intended audience of "Absent, Or Not Absent" by Tsering Woeser?

Tibetan poet and activist Tsering Woeser wrote the poem Absent, or Not Absent in Chinese. (The full text is available from Words Without Borders). I am somewhat curious as to why she chose to write in ...
13 votes
1 answer
710 views

English translation of a quatrain from the "Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayyam

Is there an English equivalent of this quatrain from the Russian version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam? В этом мире глупцов, подлецов, торгашей Уши, мудрый, заткни, рот надежно зашей, Веки плотно ...
4 votes
2 answers
104 views

What are the satellites in R. S. Thomas's poem "Here"?

R. S. Thomas (1913–2000) was a Welsh poet and priest. His poem "Here" appears to express feelings of guilt and doubt. The penultimate stanza goes as follows: I have no where to go The swift ...
8 votes
1 answer
204 views

Meaning of a stanza in Byron's Don Juan

Canto 6, stanza 52, from Byron's Don Juan: Dudù, as has been said, was a sweet creature, Not very dashing, but extremely winning, With the most regulated charms of feature, Which ...
5 votes
1 answer
134 views

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s “To the Blind Architect of the City of Life”

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s sonnet ‘To the Blind Architect of the City of Life, whose Humble Homes are the Creatures of Earth, Water, and Air, and whose “Meeting-House” is Man’ was first published in Littel’...
4 votes
1 answer
98 views

Meaning of "A phantasy which sometimes seizes warriors, unless they are game as bull-dogs and fox-terriers" in Byron's "Don Juan"

From Byron's Don Juan: The Russians, having built two batteries on An isle near Ismail, had two ends in view; The first was to bombard it, and knock down The public buildings and ...
3 votes
0 answers
68 views

In R. S. Thomas' poem "Careers", why is the word "memory" hyphenated across lines?

While reading R. S. Thomas' collection Not That He Brought Flowers (1968) I was struck by the peculiar typesetting of the opening poem, "Careers" (page 7), in which the poet reflects on how ...
0 votes
2 answers
328 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?
4 votes
1 answer
104 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
216 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
2 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
409 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
84 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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
75 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
157 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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
531 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
1k 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
98 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
371 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
110 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 ...
5 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
110 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
617 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
131 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
155 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
96 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
432 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
103 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
367 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
626 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
77 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 ...

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