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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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4 votes
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The “Sea of Faith” in Matthew Arnold’s poem ‘Dover Beach’

Does the “Sea of Faith” in Matthew Arnold’s poem ‘Dover Beach’ have biblical significance? Here is the third stanza of the poem, where the phrase appears: The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, ...
user392289's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
410 views

Formatting poetry books [closed]

In a book of poetry, should there be uniformity throughout the book in its format? Should every poem be formatted the same way? Can a few poems have hanging indents while others a regular margin? For ...
Ammu's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
527 views

“O Where Are You Going” / “The Three Companions” by W. H. Auden

Below is a poem by W. H. Auden called “O Where Are You Going” or “The Three Companions”: "O where are you going?" said reader to rider, "That valley is fatal where furnaces burn, ...
user392289's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
255 views

Difference between "conte" and "nouvelle" at the time of La Fontaine

One of the works of the French poet Jean de La Fontaine is a collection of stories that's usually known as Contes et nouvelles en vers. It seems to me that this title implies that there was a ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,749
1 vote
1 answer
47 views

Why did Maksim Tank's sun dial use his own shadow?

Maksim Tank's poem The Sun-Clock describes his sun clock as "remarkably accurate". However, he further states that When someone asks me "What o'clock is it?" I stop, Like my ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
20 views

Did Maksim Tank go to prison?

The poem I am glad to be a man by Maksim Tank includes these lines: Only I, having lived through a past Of prison, hard frost, loss of freedom, Villages ruined to ash... Is Maksim Tank talking about ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Meaning of "Father to Son" by Elizabeth Jennings

Here are the first two stanzas of the poem “Father to Son” by Elizabeth Jennings. I do not understand this child Though we have lived together now In the same house for years. I know Nothing of him, ...
gabrupro's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
245 views

What is the term for the last word of each line in rhyme/poem? The word that is actually the rhyming one

If we take this ABAB stanza, for example: The people along the sand All turn and look one way. They turn their back on the land. They look at the sea all day. It's very easy to spot the words that ...
Sarke's user avatar
  • 133
4 votes
0 answers
90 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
61 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
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8 votes
1 answer
907 views

Meaning of "Your pin wad help to mend a mill" in "Address to a Haggis"

From "Address to a Haggis" by Robert Burns: The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your pin wad help to mend a mill In time o'need, While thro' your pores ...
Pete's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
737 views

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published with the same numbering system?

Can I trust that Shakespeare's sonnets will always be published using the same numbering system? Will Sonnet 30 always be published as Sonnet 30; sonnet 29 always as 29? Was the current order and ...
user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
9k views

In Ozymandias, who is the "ye" in the line "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" meant to be addressing?

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias is a well-known and oft-referenced English-language poem from the early 19th century, and purports to quote — presumably in translation from Egyptian hieroglyphs — a ...
Mark S's user avatar
  • 345
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
  • 2,749
3 votes
2 answers
249 views

What is meant by "rain drinks the leaves drinking rain" in "Kauai"?

The poem "Kauai" by Rachel Jamison Webster has this verse: Their cups fill with rain, rain drinks the leaves drinking rain. I can sort of puzzle out the metaphors/imagery in the rest of ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,864
4 votes
1 answer
228 views

Name of poem: dangers of nuclear war/energy, referencing music of philharmonic orchestra/trio/cricket

In the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, I read a poem warning of the dangers nuclear war or perhaps the dangers of nuclear energy. I’m trying to find/remember that poem. It had lines something like … ...
AJNeufeld's user avatar
  • 223
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does Eli Mandel's poem about Auschwitz contain a rare word, or a typo?

I read in The New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in English (1982) Eli Mandel's poem On the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz: Memorial Services, Toronto, January 25th, 1970 YMHA Bloor ...
Barnaby's user avatar
  • 1,015
1 vote
1 answer
69 views

What is the effect of suddenly slipping into rhyme at the end of "Ode to Not Watching the World Cup"?

At the start of James Parker's "Ode to Not Watching the World Cup", no rhyme is present, just free verse, e.g.: I don’t want to overstate this. I don’t want to say that by watching World ...
bobble's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
213 views

Who wrote the eighteenth century song "The Topers"?

'The Topers' is a limerick-like "song" appearing on pages 236–237 of The British Minstrel, and National Melodist: A Collection of the Most Esteemed and Popular English, Scottish, and Irish ...
Stephen Waterhouse's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
810 views

What do these two lines in Lewis Carroll's "All in the golden afternoon..." mean?

The poem, a preface to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, begins as follows: All in the golden afternoon Full leisurely we glide; For both our oars, with little skill, By little arms are plied, ...
Vasting's user avatar
  • 223
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

In "Love Among the Ruins", what is 'a carpet'?

The poem "Love Among the Ruins" by Robert Browning starts like this in its third verse: And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass Never was! Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'er-...
chikinn's user avatar
  • 93
4 votes
1 answer
268 views

Historical background of Dickinson's 'The Sun and Fog contested-'

The Sun and Fog contested The Government of Day— The Sun took down his Yellow Whip And drove the Fog away— I assume 'Yellow Whip' refers to the Whig Party, as yellow was one of the colours of the ...
A. Goodier's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
133 views

Why does this poem seem to indicate that Belarus is a large coal producer?

According to Britannica, Belarus has relatively few natural resources: Belarus is generally poorly endowed with mineral resources. The government is attempting to accelerate the development of its ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
92 views

Understanding the nature of the footsteps imagery in Henry Longfellow's "Footsteps of Angels"

I'm trying to understand the sense of the image of divine footsteps used in Henry Longfellow's religious poem "Footsteps of Angels": With a slow and noiseless footstep Comes that messenger ...
user2450223's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
361 views

What is "epic caesura" in French "chansons de geste"?

I'm reading the book La chanson de geste by Jean Rychner. In a certain passage, the expression "epic caesura" ("césure épique" in the French original) appears, which I don't ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,749
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Limerick involves a pregnant Scottish woman and anagrams

Somewhere in the 1993-2000 time period, I had a hardback book of various linguistic oddities, I think with a red slip cover with white lettering. One of the items included was a limerick along the ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
478 views

Can someone explain to me these verses from The Faerie Queene?

The wals were round about apparelled With costly clothes of Arras and of Toure, In which with cunning hand was pourtrahed The love of Venus and her Paramoure The faire Adonis, turned to a flower, A ...
Tayyab's user avatar
  • 83
2 votes
1 answer
60 views

What is the purpose of the ping-pong scene in "Floaters"?

Some verses from "Floaters" by Arthur Sze, which was in October 2022's The Atlantic: we smell rain before it begins to rain; in the open garage, we exude an aroma of juniper bark, roll a ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,864
5 votes
1 answer
398 views

What does Walt Whitman mean by the last two lines in his poem, "The Voice of the Rain"?

Here's Walt Whitman's poem "The Voice of the Rain" And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower, Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated: I am the Poem of Earth,...
Shane's user avatar
  • 153
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
  • 1,594
0 votes
0 answers
103 views

Did any poets or authors say that youth came after age before Bob Dylan?

In the song "My Back Pages" Bob Dylan famously inverted the usual chronological assumption of aging by poetically saying I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. This concept ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 832
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why did T.S. Eliot compare “waiting for death” with “a feather on the back of the hand"?

A Song for Simeon Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and The winter sun creeps by the snow hills; The stubborn season has made stand. My life is light, waiting for the death wind, Like a ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
65 views

Why does the river refer to itself in the plural?

The Golden Hum by Pavlo Tychyna includes the following: :we'll grow tall! said the poplars. :we'll burst into song! said the flowers. :we'll overflow: said Old Man Dnipro. The poplars, flowers, and ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
676 views

What's the meaning of the following lines from "Tristan and Isolde: The Love Sin"?

What does Lady Jane Wilde mean when she says the following in her poem "Tristan and Isolde: The Love Sin" (lines 64-65): Like pale shadows from the tomb, When an open death of doom and ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
86 views

Why is "The choir of bell-flowers" referred to as "a fragment of a long poem" in the subtitle?

The Choir of Bell-Flowers by Pavlo Tychyna in The Complete Early Poetry Collection has the subtitle "A fragment of a long poem". What does this mean? Was that added by the translator or by ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
76 views

Why do some lines in Stanza 2 of "Pastel" start with a colon?

from Pastel by Pavlo Tychyna: II The iron day Drank up some good wine Blossom, meadows! - :I've been walking-for a day- Graze, herds!- :to see my love- for a day- Ears of grain like cradles sway!- :...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
27 views

Why do willows go to the Cathedral?

Cathedral by Pavlo Tychyna starts as follows: Willows to one side, Beggars to the other. the willows bend and bend and bend. The beggars stoop over. Why is the Cathedral attended by those two groups ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
123 views

What is swamp milk?

Pavlo Tychyna's poem Enharmonies starts as follows: Above the swamp milk is spun... A black raven lost in thought A grey raven is musing It pecked out eyes. God knows whose. I'm confused by this, ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
98 views

Why did Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man" refer to itself as a "false mirror"?

Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man concludes with these lines: That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sound to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up nature's light;...
Betterthan Kwora's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
204 views

What did Alexander Pope mean by "That reason, passion, answer one great aim"?

Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man concludes with these lines: That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sound to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up nature's light;...
Betterthan Kwora's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

Why did the sacrifice make the trees free?

The poem The poplars in the fallow fields are free starts as follows: The poplars in the fallow fields are free (Someone had brought a sacrifice at Sundown) What is this referring to? Who was the ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
53 views

Why was the rye angry about being called "golden"?

From the poem "Somewhere Spring Approached" by Pavlo Tychnya: The rye ripened. I told her: "You're Golden!" Angrily her eyebrows splintered. She turned away. And left. And just ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
35 views

Why does "Like Harps, Like Harps" end with "Lament..."?

The poem Like Harps, Like Harps (from Pavlo Tychyna: The Complete Early Poetry Collection) by Pavlo Tychnya is as follows: Like harps, like harps - the golden groves resounded Selfstrumming: spring ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
76 views

In Crane's "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen", does Helen turn into a neon sign?

In Yannella, Philip R. “‘Inventive Dust’: The Metamorphoses of ‘For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen.’” Contemporary Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1974, pp. 102–22. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/...
bobsmith76's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
357 views

Poem about a gross but beautiful urban garden, possibly by Millay

I have a dim but vivid memory of a poem, 95% sure it was by Edna St. Vincent Millay, about an urban garden alive with beauty despite everything that’s gross about it. Toads, fungus, etc. are the vibe. ...
Philomena's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Poet from the 50s / 60s who said being a poet was like standing out in a storm trying to be hit by lightning

as per subject, I remember a quote like being a poet meant standing out in thunderstorms trying to be struck by lighting and if you were lucky you might get struck maybe 4 times in your life. I ...
user254694's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
195 views

What is the name of a poem about relativity?

I am looking for a specific poem I read years ago. It was a poem on relativity and theories on the universe. I do not remember the author but I know she was female and either Spanish or Portuguese. ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
173 views

Scanning Langston Hughes' "The South"

Here's the poem "The South" by Langston Hughes scanned by me (a non-native English speaker): The lazy, laughing South With blood on its mouth. The sunny-faced South, Beast-strong, Idiot-...
user392289's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
224 views

Name for device in "Possessions" by Hart Crane?

The poem 'Possessions' by Hart Crane contains a lot of what I call 'false units', that is, sentences which appear to have predicates describing subjects, but in reality the predicates do not modify ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
400 views

Meaning of "enabled of the eye" in a poem by Dickinson

A little road not made of man, Enabled of the eye, Accessible to thill of bee, Or cart of butterfly. If town it have, beyond itself, 'T is that I cannot say; I only sigh, — no vehicle Bears me along ...
CopperKettle's user avatar
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