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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3
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3answers
137 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 ...
3
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0answers
21 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
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0answers
41 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
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1answer
82 views

In Ko Un's short poem “In the very middle of the road”, why does the narrator take a different path?

There's a short poem by Ko Un that, when translated, goes like this: In the very middle of the road two dogs are coupling I take another route (source; translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé) Why ...
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0answers
58 views

The first line of “God's Grandeur”

The first line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet "God's Grandeur" is: The world is charged with the grandeur of God. What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was ...
4
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1answer
342 views

Is the man about to die in “Meditation on the A30”?

John Betjeman's poem "Meditation on the A30" is about a man driving his car and fuming about his unloving wife. In the final verse, he finally turns to action: "You're barmy or plastered, I'll pass ...
13
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1answer
479 views

What happened to the epic poem?

It's so strange to me that we all praised and adore things, but would never consider supporting them in a modern setting. There are many examples of this: poetry (very unpopular nowadays; not in the ...
6
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0answers
87 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—  ...
19
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1answer
3k 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 ...
20
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2answers
991 views

Why does the Lady of Shalott stay instead of stray?

In Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott" there is the following verse: There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she ...
2
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0answers
60 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 ...
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0answers
172 views

“Walking to Work” by Frank O'Hara

I'm looking for any insight on the poem "Walking to Work" (1952) by Frank O'Hara. I feel like the meanings are just escaping me, and I can't find any analysis on the Internet to support/...
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0answers
81 views

What is a central theme in Robert Frost's “After Apple-Picking,” and how is it revealed in the poem?

Robert Frost's After Apple-Picking, published in North of Boston (1914) is, at least at the surface level, a poem about harvesting apples and sleep. But what is actually its central theme and how is ...
4
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1answer
60 views

Who is George H. Murphy, author of “Iskander at the Bridge”?

I am trying to identify who George H. Murphy is? He wrote a poem entitled "Iskander at the Bridge" in 1903 in The News & Observer, [Raleigh, N.C.] November 01, 1903, p. 3.
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3answers
7k views

Why does the narrator in “Stopping by Woods” stop by the woods?

In Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Frost: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with ...
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59 views

Meaning of “Life is a prism of my light” in Sarojini Naidu’s poem “The Soul’s Prayer”

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poetess. By chance I came upon one of her poems, which was titled “The Soul’s Prayer”. The last stanza of the poem goes like this: I, bending from sevenfold height Will ...
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0answers
21 views

What does Shelley mean by “if we could scorn fear” in “To a Skylark”?

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To a Skylark” discusses human nature as compared to the “blithe spirit”. Shelley all throughout the poem is sure that Skylark was in joy, he was not in dilemma as Wordsworth ...
5
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2answers
257 views

Is there a name for a version of trochaic tetrameter with lines of 8|7|8|7 syllables?

Is there a name for the meter used in Clementine: Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine Struck her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine Or in Schiller's Ode to ...
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0answers
27 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 ...
4
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1answer
85 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 ...
11
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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 ...
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0answers
10 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 ...
6
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0answers
42 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Did Poe plagiarise someone else's work when writing “The Raven”?

I've read that Poe's been accused of lifting significant elements from many authors including Elizabeth Barrett, Charles Dickens, Leo Penzoni, and Thomas Holley Chivers (and "unknown," of course). ...
10
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2answers
784 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 ...
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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 ...
6
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1answer
112 views

What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect?

I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which I want to highlight because it ...
8
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2answers
181 views

Identify a poem entitled Mock Song, written in middle English in the 13th-15th centuries

I'm looking for a middle English poem, written in the 13th-15th centuries, which I only have in translation (to Hebrew). The translated poem is found in a chapter that contains three additional poems, ...
7
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2answers
394 views

What was the connection between Hardy and Keats?

Thomas Hardy's short poem "At Lulworth Cove a Century Back" is a sort of ode to Keats, who apparently left England from near Lulworth Cove on his way to Rome: "Good. That man goes to Rome — to ...
8
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1answer
214 views

How does the editor know that seven lines are missing from Wordsworth's Home at Grasmere?

The Wordsworth edition The Major Works, edited by Stephen Gill and published by Oxford University Press in 1984 (and revised later) was the first selection of Wordsworth's work (...) in which the ...
1
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1answer
114 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 ...
15
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2answers
89k views

What is the origin of this contradictory poem?

Does anyone know where this poem originates from: One fine morning in the middle of the night, Two dead men got up to fight, Back to back they faced each other, Drew their swords and shot one another....
7
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1answer
552 views

Why was the text of “HaTikvah” changed?

"HaTikvah," Israel's national anthem, was adopted from an earlier poem called "Tikvateinu," by Naftali Herz Imber. Here is the official text of the anthem (translation and transliteration can be found ...
5
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1answer
120 views

First book of Edward de Vere's poems?

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550–1604) was a courtier who wrote a number of love poems. Several of his poems appeared in print in a number of anthologies and miscellanies (according to ...
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0answers
13k 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 ...
19
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1answer
2k 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 ...
4
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1answer
122 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 ...
3
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2answers
81 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 ...
4
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1answer
77 views

Why did Fontane choose to write “The Tragedy of Afghanistan”?

Theodor Fontane, a German poet, wrote "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" (translated here as "The Tragedy of Afghanistan") in 1847. It's about the aftermath of a massacre suffered ...
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3answers
11k views

What is the meaning of these lines about love from “Desiderata”?

What is the message being delivered through these lines in "Desiderata" by the poet Max Ehrmann? Especially do not feign affection Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity ...
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0answers
945 views

“Yum yum pig's bum”

I saw a vernacular poem that appears to have been passed down and passed around in various parts of the UK. A couple of different versions: Yum yum Pig's bum Wrap it up In chewing gum Have a slice ...
2
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2answers
263 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 ...
2
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1answer
60 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 ...
4
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1answer
129 views

What language was Tagore's “This Dog” written in?

Disclaimer: this is going to be a stupidly obvious question for anyone who speaks either Hindi or Bengali, but with zero knowledge of either language I can't really eke out an answer. Apologies if ...
6
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0answers
83 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 ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Symbolism of “hot gammon” in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

I'm reading T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read for free online) and one particular line stuck out at me: Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, And they ...
4
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1answer
132 views

Understanding two lines from “The Wound-Dresser” by Walt Whitman

Among the hospital poems, "The Wound-Dresser" by Walt Whitman is one of the best and finest. I wonder if anybody here can help me to understand two lines of this piece. But in silence, in dreams’ ...
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1answer
445 views

Did a specific person inspire Lord Byron's poem “She Walks in Beauty”?

Did a specific person inspire Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty"? She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; Lord Byron's poem is a classic. Did someone ...
15
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1answer
1k views

How does the golden bough in “Sailing to Byzantium” relate to the story in the Aeneid, if at all?

According to Wikipedia of W.B. Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and musings on how immortality, art, and the human spirit may ...
3
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1answer
120 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 ...

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