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Next Day Analysis



Author: poem of Randall Jarrell Type: poem Views: 16

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Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,

I take a box

And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.

The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical

Food-gathering flocks

Are selves I overlook.  Wisdom, said William James,



Is learning what to overlook.  And I am wise

If that is wisdom.

Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves

And the boy takes it to my station wagon,

What I've become

Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.



When I was young and miserable and pretty

And poor, I'd wish

What all girls wish: to have a husband,

A house and children.  Now that I'm old, my wish

Is womanish:

That the boy putting groceries in my car



See me.  It bewilders me he doesn't see me.

For so many years

I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me

And its mouth watered.  How often they have undressed me,

The eyes of strangers!

And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile



Imaginings within my imagining,

I too have taken

The chance of life.  Now the boy pats my dog

And we start home.  Now I am good.

The last mistaken,

Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind



Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm

Some soap and water--

It was so long ago, back in some Gay

Twenties, Nineties, I don't know . . . Today I miss

My lovely daughter

Away at school, my sons away at school,



My husband away at work--I wish for them.

The dog, the maid,

And I go through the sure unvarying days

At home in them.  As I look at my life,

I am afraid

Only that it will change, as I am changing:



I am afraid, this morning, of my face.

It looks at me

From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate,

The smile I hate.  Its plain, lined look

Of gray discovery

Repeats to me: "You're old."  That's all, I'm old.



And yet I'm afraid, as I was at the funeral

I went to yesterday.

My friend's cold made-up face, granite among its flowers,

Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body

Were my face and body.

As I think of her and I hear her telling me



How young I seem; I am exceptional;

I think of all I have.

But really no one is exceptional,

No one has anything, I'm anybody,

I stand beside my grave

Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: Analysis :.

Randall Jarrell writes this third person poem about the female persona in a psychological manner. It is immediately evident that some woman is in the detergent aisle at the supermarket. Suddenly she begins to day dream or perhaps suffers from a mental illness; (thus the reference to William James the Psychologist). She notices the other women shopping; foodgathering flocks. She grows depressed realizing that she is getting old. Ironically the detergents listed are happy sounding Cheer a

| Posted on 2008-01-09 | by a guest


.: Analysis :.

Randall Jarrell writes this third person poem about the female persona in a psychological manner. It is immediately evident that some woman is in the detergent aisle at the supermarket. Suddenly she begins to day dream or perhaps suffers from a mental illness; (thus the reference to William James the Psychologist). She notices the other women shopping; foodgathering flocks. She grows depressed realizing that she is getting old. Ironically the detergents listed are happy sounding Cheer a

| Posted on 2008-01-09 | by a guest




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