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The Bight Analysis

Author: poem of Elizabeth Bishop Type: poem Views: 5

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                [On my birthday]



At low tide like this how sheer the water is.

White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare

and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches.

Absorbing, rather than being absorbed,

the water in the bight doesn't wet anything,

the color of the gas flame turned as low as possible.

One can smell it turning to gas; if one were Baudelaire

one could probably hear it turning to marimba music.

The little ocher dredge at work off the end of the dock

already plays the dry perfectly off-beat claves.

The birds are outsize. Pelicans crash

into this peculiar gas unnecessarily hard,

it seems to me, like pickaxes,

rarely coming up with anything to show for it,

and going off with humorous elbowings.

Black-and-white man-of-war birds soar

on impalpable drafts

and open their tails like scissors on the curves

or tense them like wishbones, till they tremble.

The frowsy sponge boats keep coming in

with the obliging air of retrievers,

bristling with jackstraw gaffs and hooks

and decorated with bobbles of sponges.

There is a fence of chicken wire along the dock

where, glinting like little plowshares,

the blue-gray shark tails are hung up to dry

for the Chinese-restaurant trade.

Some of the little white boats are still piled up

against each other, or lie on their sides, stove in,

and not yet salvaged, if they ever will be, from the last bad storm,

like torn-open, unanswered letters.

The bight is littered with old correspondences.

Click. Click. Goes the dredge,

and brings up a dripping jawful of marl.

All the untidy activity continues,

awful but cheerful.


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

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I was at the Hawksley show as well. You forget how bfatuieul human beings can be sometimes and then you see him live and the world makes sense again. (Not a bad venue either)

| Posted on 2013-11-16 | by a guest

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Please tell me where I can get those shoes? funny or not I want them and its an older post so the answer is prabboly "no where" but but... I am going to hold out hope that MAYBE I can find a three year old pair of funny shoes somewhere in the world that are now at a price I can afford.

| Posted on 2013-11-14 | by a guest

.: :.

That's what I despise so much about the term anahcro-capitalism . It's not based on anarchy it's a privatized form of government, where individuals choose their judges, their police, and even their laws. Inasmuch that capitalism means rule by those who own capital , it isn't really that, either: it's more of rule by individualism.In any case, to the degree that Somalia actually preserves individual rights, it's capitalism , and to the degree that they don't have a formal government, it's anarchism . And to the degree that individual rights are violated, it's tyranny .And, finally, I would add, if that Somalia represents so-called anahcro-capitalism , it may be too early to pronounce it a success or failure . It's a system that started with the collapse of a communist state; thus, they have a lot of baggage to overcome.And considering that they've improved their lives, they've at least proved that no government is better than communism! x x

| Posted on 2013-11-14 | by a guest

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Margie, if you are going for extra natural, you might also want to try their Just Bitten Lip Stain AND Balm. It looks rellay natural, not like a lipstick at all. The best part: it doesn't come off when you eat and when it does fade after a couple of hours, it looks rellay natural. The balm that comes with it is not that great, but you can always use your chapstick/lip balm of choice with it.

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

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Due to technical dieficultifs, I cannot see the video. But besides the point Linoge made (about libertarianism vs. anarcho-capitalism which, even though I consider myself a so-called anarcho-capitalist , I nonetheless consider an important distinction to make!), there's another factor about (my best guess) about this argument that is often ignored: those pesky little things mathematicians like to call deltas , or changes over time .Yes, life is rough in Somalia. There's no government as we'd like to call it. Yet the standard of living has increased since the collapse of Communism in Somalia. While we can argue about whether or not government is necessary to preserve freedom and justice, we can observe, at least, that whatever Somalia has right now is better than Communism!To further complicate matters, I recently read a BBC report (linked to from that pointed out that Somalia has complete cell phone coverage. How weird is that? In a country where the major source of income is livestock that needs to be protected by hired hands, and in which is the source of major problems with literal high-seas piracy, you'll have no problem using a cell phone. Certainly, something odd is happening there, and it will be interesting to see what the decades bring!This pet peeve of mine doesn't just apply to Somalia, though. I once saw someone try to use China as an example of a country that can be prosperous despite having no liberty. But isn't that the same country that's been loosening its iron grip in order to foster prosperity? Indeed, it has at least two capitalist zones Hong Kong and Shainghai and my memory is telling me that Beijing is one too, but I'l likely wrong about that.In any case, even if some government is necessary for freedom, if you give me two countries, and ask me which will be more prosperous in a few decades? I would ask which one is more free, and likely to stay more free? before I give my answer.

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

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I think that this poem illustrates Bishops loneliness in life. Firstly, she is alone on her birthday but she is completely excepting of this. I believe that she is so entirely familiar with loneliness that it has become her normality.
Also, I think Bishop is so familiar of this unconventional bight because can relate to it\'s imperfections. The Bight is far from stereotypical with its \'crumbling ribs of marl that protrude and glare\', \'the frowsy sponge boats\' and the \'blue-gray shark tails hung up to dry for the Chinese restaurant trade.\' The scene conveyed is unconventional, unattractive even. That is why Bishop is so comfortable surrounded by the \'untidy activity.\' Her life is \'untidy\'. At this point in her life she was rejected by society for being a female alcoholic and for being openly involved in lesbian relationships. This was far from the norm at that time. So she is so familiar with the \'awful\' that it has become \'cheerful\'. Bishop felt such a strong sense of this throughout her life that she even chose her epitaph to be \'all the untidy activity continues, awful but cheerful.\'
So basically Bishop had a pretty difficult life but she learned to live with that. She conveys that although her life was a mess she had learned to be cheerful in her own company and in the company of other glaringly imperfect things such as the unconventional bight.

| Posted on 2011-10-19 | by a guest

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