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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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About Sappho's epigram for the little girl Aithopia: first line (manuscript tradition and experts' take), and authorship

Background and research: As I am planning to post this poem on my blog relatively soon, I was doing some research on the first line. From what I had written previously, I seem to have found two ...
MickG's user avatar
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11 votes
0 answers
26k 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
615 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
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414 views

Any significance to the "Dutch clock" and "Chinese plate" in Eugene Field's "The Duel"?

I just learned from an answer to an ID question about the poem "The Duel", or "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat", in which Eugene Field describes a vicious fight between two stuffed animals as told ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
0 answers
748 views

Who is the author of this contradictory poem starting "The night was dark and stormy"?

Does anyone know the name of or the author of the poem below? My grandfather used to say it all of the time and I would like to read it at his funeral. It's very silly and goes something like this: ...
Lindsay Day's user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
97 views

Why does Tahir Hamut Izgil speak "the names of ants" he's known?

Reading Tahir Hamut Izgil's "Somewhere Else"*, I was confused by why "ants" specifically were brought up here: night after night one after another I spoke the names of ants I’ve ...
bobble's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
198 views

Was Fontane's Tay Bridge poem compared to McGonagall's at the time?

The Tay Bridge Disaster is one of the most famous bridge collapses. It inspired a universally reviled (yet nevertheless wildly (in)famous) poem from William McGonagall, "The Tay Bridge Disaster&...
bobble's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
1k views

Is the comparison in "The Clod and the Pebble" between different types of love?

The poem "The Clod and the Pebble" from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (which you can read online) is just three verses long and compares two different descriptions of love, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
155 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 ...
Tom Hosker's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
169 views

Reference to Novalis in Ghérasim Luca's poem "La Poésie Pratique"

Ghérasim Luca's poem "La Poésie Pratique" / "Practical Poetry" contains the following lines: En pratiquant le bouche à bouche de mot à mot de « feu » le mort à « feu » vif d' « ...
Le Petit Nicolas's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
86 views

What did Yeats in his late period think of his early work?

The poetry of W.B. Yeats is commonly seen as belonging to three rough phases. The first is a Romantic and pre-Raphaelite style of flowery verse which commonly invokes figures of Irish mythology. The ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
530 views

What's the first "reverse" poem?

I recently discovered an interesting type of poetry. When read one way, it says one thing and when read a different way, the opposite, all with the same words. A sub-type of these is known as the ...
Laurel's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
255 views

Is my controlling idea for my poem analysis accurate?

This is my current controlling idea of my essay on the poem "On Pleasure": "The speaker challenges the idea of pleasure in the minds of the audience, and argues that pleasure is an ...
Tom Zhang's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
99 views

What does Tiriel's blindness symbolize?

In Tiriel, it's mentioned several times that Tiriel is blind, first in Chapter I, line 27: Look at my eyes, blind as the orbless skull among the stones! And later again in Chapter II, lines 61-65: ...
Torisuda's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
76 views

Why are the non-fellow-students not referred to as guns in Clint Smith's "The Gun"?

This is sort of the reverse of my previous question on Clint Smith's poem "The Gun". While it's blatant about referring to all of the kids as "guns", I find it interesting that the ...
bobble's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
24 views

What is an "intermezzo from the dusky elm's trunk"?

Phone Call by Tahir Hamut (full text on Words Without Borders) contains the following line: An intermezzo from the dusky elm’s trunk fans the spirit lamp into a bonfire I'm somewhat confused by the ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
112 views

What does the ellipsis in Machado's poem 'Pegasos, lindos pegasos' mean?

What does the ellipsis in Machado's poem 'Pegasos, lindos pegasos' mean? I don't know what all those dots represent. Maybe it is something specific I'm not aware of. Here is the poem. Pegasos, lindos ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
181 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
100 views

Are there different formats of haikus?

This is similar to this question but not exactly the same. I have seen haikus in the following formats: The traditional / which is in five-seven-five / and is most common But I have also read that ...
Joe Kerr's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
63 views

Why does isolating "there" on its own line sound less emphatic in Korean than English?

I was reading Translator’s Note: Three Poems by Ko Un from the Poetry Foundation and came across this excerpt: We translated “명사도 동사도 다” (“all nouns and verbs”) as “all words,” which sounds less ...
bobble's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
55 views

Why does Petrarch's sequence of poems to Laura have three different titles?

Petrarch's celebrated sequence of 366 poems to Laura goes by three different titles. As far as I can tell, they're used interchangeably: Il Canzoniere, The Songbook Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, ...
verbose's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
486 views

Who is the 'one who had lifted it' in Shelley's sonnet about 'the painted veil'?

In Shelley's famous sonnet, which begins 'Lift not the painted veil', the "turn" is placed - unusually - in the seventh line. Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life: ...
Tom Hosker's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
488 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 ...
G. Ward's user avatar
  • 73
5 votes
0 answers
100 views

'meter' vs. 'rhythm': How do their meanings in poetry differ from those in music?

'meter' and 'rhythm' are termed in poetry and music. So what are their parallels? Their differences? Source: Listening to Music (2013 7 ed, but ∃ 8 ed) by Yale Prof. Craig Wright: [p. 463] meter: ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
1k views

What metaphor(s) are represented by the mysterious figure in Charles Causley's "Innocent's Song"?

The other day, I came across this rather sinister poem by Charles Causley, set to music. Innocent's Song Who's that knocking on the window, Who's that standing at the door, What are ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
333 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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
122 views

Poem from a teacher: "There is a tree I love // And she loves me // Sentient beings call her home"

There is a tree I love And she loves me Sentient beings call her home, She is their world Their womb of God Knowing only here. She sings out the perfection The rightness, the holy stillness of all ...
Lucy's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
90 views

What's the role of "a, a" at the end of every stanza in Jaufré Rudel "No sap chantar qui so non di"?

At page 165 of the book Los trovadores. Historia literaria y textos by Martín de Riquer one finds the text of the cansó No sap chantar qui so non di (262, 3) by the troubadour Jaufré Rudel: No sap ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,635
4 votes
0 answers
94 views

What does “it” refer to in this line from “The Mental Hospital Garden”?

What is “it” in the following lines from "The Mental Hospital Garden" by William Carlos Williams? It is a bounty                       from last year’s nest. Williams, William Carlos. "...
user392289's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
85 views

Symbolism in the final lines of Yeats' Song of Wandering Aengus

Yeats' early poem The Song of Wandering Aengus is a poetic retelling of a famous Irish myth as I explored in this question. It's also a metaphor in which Aengus' quest for his fae lover is compared to ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
58 views

How does one count syllables in medieval Galician-Portuguese poetry?

I'm trying to figure out how to count syllables in medieval Galician-Portuguese cantigas. I've tried to find it in the book A poesía lírica galego-portuguesa by Giuseppe Tavani, which I found in my ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,635
4 votes
0 answers
95 views

Understanding comparisons in Crowcolour by Ted Hughes

In the poem "Crowcolour", the shortest of Ted Hughes' Crow poems, there's a series of comparisons of Crow's blackness with other black images. Here's the full poem: Crow was so much ...
HeyJude's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
39 views

What does this mean about the interpretation of Lauretta's song at the end of Day 3?

At the end of Day 3 of the Decameron, Lauretta sings the following song after dinner, at the request of the new "king" Filostrato: What dame disconsolate May so lament as I, That vainly ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
58 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
129 views

What inspired the “lava-lymph” in Elizabeth Browning’s “Aurora Leigh”?

In book V of Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the narrator asks herself what she expects to achieve in her poetry:                                           Shall I hope To speak my ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
273 views

What is the relationship between Tagore's poems and his song lyrics?

Rabindranath Tagore composed and wrote the lyrics for approximately 2,200 songs, collectively known as Rabindra Sangeet, "Rabindra music". These songs remain immensely popular in India and ...
verbose's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
74 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’...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 58.3k
4 votes
0 answers
624 views

The motif of Tom O' Bedlam

The 17th-century motif of Tom O' Bedlam has always been one that I hold much affection and wonder for (as can be assumed by the choice of username on my part.) The motif most famously makes an ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
40 views

Is there a name for poems where each verse is a time period?

I'm having a hard time finding examples of this, but I found one by a man named Darryl Davis, called Almanac of a man, that goes like this: When I was five, I was supreme ruler of a boundless ...
itsadok's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
0 answers
130 views

Who wrote the poem that begins, "The Yeti, experts will attest . . ."

The Yeti, experts will attest, is physically unkempt at best. And due to this may go for weeks, alone amidst the snowy steeps. (Goes on to tell how he is looking for his "yet unmet counterpart".)
Bill Seaman's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
305 views

How is the connection between the picture on page 59 and the last line of "Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels" shown in other publications of the poem?

"Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels" is a poem in Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. It describes how Allison uses 24 eels -- as shoelaces, earrings, ladle, etc. The 25th, however, is different. The poem ends ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 25.1k
3 votes
0 answers
69 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. ...
spira03's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
0 answers
46 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 ...
verbose's user avatar
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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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
48 views

Are there standard guidelines on apostrophising to denote swallowed syllables for scansion?

There are various words in English which can be pronounced in different ways with different numbers of syllables. Poetry often requires them to be read in a particular way for appropriate scansion, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
165 views

The use of "thou" etc. in Romantic poetry

A lot of Romantic poetry (for e.g. Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" and Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn") uses words like thou, thee and thy even though these had fallen out of use in ...
user392289's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

What's the symbolism of the Cid's beard?

The book El "Cantar de Mio Cid" y la épica medieval española by Alan Deyermond, at page 37, mentions el simbolismo de la barba del Cid that is, "the symbolism of the Cid's beard",...
Charo's user avatar
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