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Prosody 101 Analysis

Author: poem of Linda Pastan Type: poem Views: 8

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When they taught me that what mattered most

was not the strict iambic line goose-stepping

over the page but the variations

in that line and the tension produced

on the ear by the surprise of difference,

I understood yet didn't understand

exactly, until just now, years later

in spring, with the trees already lacy

and camellias blowsy with middle age,

I looked out and saw what a cold front had done

to the garden, sweeping in like common language,

unexpected in the sensuous

extravagance of a Maryland spring.

There was a dark edge around each flower

as if it had been outlined in ink

instead of frost, and the tension I felt

between the expected and actual

was like that time I came to you, ready

to say goodbye for good, for you had been

a cold front yourself lately, and as I walked in

you laughed and lifted me up in your arms

as if I too were lacy with spring

instead of middle aged like the camellias,

and I thought: so this is Poetry!


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

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Felix Christen asked me to post this comment for him:This is a wrufeodnl poem by Frost. And your essay is, as always with your work,skillfully crafted.The nature/culture distinction is a brain-teaser. The belief that thedistinction may precede language, or be independent of it, as one comment onyour essay suggests, does not make any sense to me. "Nature" is a comparablyrecent notion, which--according to Heidegger, who I follow in this point--firstoccurred along with the translation of the Greek word "physis" by Latin"natura". The scope of "physis" was much wider. The distinction is, in short, adistinction within (philosophical) language. If we want to answer the questionwhat "nature in itself" is--if indeed this question makes any sense--we maysimply lack the adequate means of expression. I always speak within a certaincultural context, so my concept of nature will be expressed from the perspectiveof that cultural context. "Landscape" is an even newer concept, only fullydeveloped by Renaissance landscape painting.The poem is about a mountain, yet the description of the object faces a numberof problems, which relate to the otherness of the mountain and the fact thatneither the speaker of the poem nor the farmer has been on top of the mountain."There is no proper path," (v. 41) and, thus, the way from an agriculturallandscape to pure nature seems barred. The story about the spring on the summit(vv. 66-67) has an almost mythical ring to it. No one has really seen it, noteven "the fellow climbing it" (v. 78) who simply reverts to another story abouta mountain in Ireland. Not even the name of the mountain is known for certain:"We call it Hor: I don't know if that's right" (v. 97). "Hor" is a very curiousname. Horus is one the ancient Egyptian gods, whose name means "the distantone," called "Horos" in Greek which, if I'm not mistaken, is related to"horizon". The word "distance" occurs once in the poem (v. 76), which, long asthe distance to the summit may be, appears to be smaller when one is on the wayback down.The discussion, on a thematic level, of the evasiveness of the mountain, leadsvia naming directly to the question of language and, thus, to the poem as adescription of the mountain. Therefore, I think that your trias of nature,culture, and language makes a lot of sense. What are we doing when we name athing? What are we doing when we write a poem? These are, to be sure, questionone cannot answer. They merely point at the double structure of poetry(content, form) and the interwoven relationship of quidditas and modus. Thetask of poetic writing is not only that of an adequate description of an object(the mountain), which poetry shares with other modes of expression, but lies inthe specific way language is used, the linguistic structure of the poem.--I hope you don't mind that I reply via e-mail. I guess I'm not much of ablogger, even though I enjoy reading your blog.Best,Felix

| Posted on 2013-11-13 | by a guest

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I love this work Judy and your sweet heartful poem and words here. May is a lolvey month to celebrate all these wonderful things. We have many birthdays in May in our family and celebrating Mother's Day just makes it that much more special. I am happy you had a beautiful month with your family. There really isn't anything more special than family. xo

| Posted on 2013-11-12 | by a guest

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This is the worst poem ever, bad control of language and very stupid

| Posted on 2013-04-14 | by a guest

.: :.

This is the worst poem ever, bad control of language and very stupid

| Posted on 2013-04-14 | by a guest

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