Tuesday, January 20, 2009

External Structure

[Buffalo Bill 's] by E.E. Cummings

Once again I really enjoy poems that take a different shape. I think that Frost and Cummings are my favorite poets at this point. The build up and breakdown in length of the poem makes me think that it represents life. In the beginning, there is just a name, and in the end there is death. After being given a name, a person builds up who they are through their actions and lifestyle. This is reflected in the poem when it talks about his riding a stallion and shooting pigeons. As life goes on it slowly deteriorates back into the abyss in which it started. In the poem the end has exactly as many words as the opening, two. Very existentialist poem in my opinion.

External Structure

[l(a] by E.E. Cummings

I love it when poets mix up their style from the norm. It really adds another dimension to the meaning of the poem. In this instance, at first glance, I notice that the poem is in the shape of a 1. So going in I expect the poem to have something to do with the "1" theme. I then read "leaf falls one", in my interpretation. One leaf falling makes me think of autumn, as the last leaves are falling off of the trees in dreary weather, just before winter. The "1" seems to indicate loneliness. Something about a single leaf falling seems dreary and alone to me, as if all the other leaves left together and only one was left behind. The shape indeed indicates the meaning of the poem before it is even read.

Monday, January 12, 2009

External Structure

"When our two souls stand up erect and strong..."by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,Until the lengthening wings break into fire At either curvèd point,---what bitter wrong Can the earth do to us, that we should not long Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher, The angels would press on us and aspire To drop some golden orb of perfect song Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay Rather on earth, Belovèd,---where the unfit Contrarious moods of men recoil away And isolate pure spirits, and permit A place to stand and love in for a day, With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

In this poem the rhyme scheme is used to signal the changing of purpose. In the first half of the poem there is an ABC AABCA patter. In the second half of the poem the rhymes shift to an DEDFDE pattern. This helps the reader shift from one thought to another. At first the reader is presented with the conditions of passion on earth. It is explained that the soul is free on Earth, but in the second section it is proclaimed that under Heaven's expectations of perfection, this is not the case. On Earth, "the unfit contrarious moods of men...permit a place to stand and love in for a day". These ideas are more clearly presented through the use of alternate rhyming patterns.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

External Structure

"Nuns Fret Not"

In "Nuns Fret Not" by William Wordsworth the external structure most visible in the poem is the rhyme scheme. In Italian Sonnet style, the poem is divided into two main thought patterns. One explains how people can be happy to where the are bound, ex. the nuns. The other ties that thought to the author's purpose, which he states is to convey his finding solace in the sonnet. The rhyme scheme divides these two thought patterns so that they can be understood separately and then put together to deliver the message of the poem.