Mary Oliver’s work turns towards nature as a source of inspiration it has been and describes her sense of wonder that it instills on her. She writes in “when the death comes” as follows: "I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms." Her outlook in life was more focused on the strict role nature played in people’s lives which can be seen in her poems; “the horse”, “the sun”, and “the summer day”- "Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me what is it that you plan to do with your one
In the two poems, “Two Trees” by Don Paterson and “The Trees” by Phillip Larkin, the poems explore life and death through their seemingly black and white poems. In “Two Trees”, Paterson explores the themes of creativity and perception while Larkin ponders the illusions of life and how things are perceived. The messages in their poems can be seen in their contrasting uses of symbolism, imagery, rhyme and metre, and structural form.
Most poetry authors give their poems abstract titles with deeper meanings within them, but Oliver did not choose to do that method. As soon as a reader sees the title of her poem, they will have an idea in their head of what the poem will be about. Doing this makes it more simple and easier to read, but at the same time relay an important message that Oliver wants readers to know. The poem revolves around the idea of oxygen and the life it brings to everything, and Oliver’s way of directly giving that hint to readers is in the
Anne Bradstreet’s and Phillis Wheatley’s poems both share the themes of death and religion, but Bradstreet explores these themes by tying them to nature and her personal struggles with simplicity and a religious lens, while Wheatley incorporates race using a sophisticated, Christianity-saturated perspective often bordering on impersonal.
As a forerunner to the free-love movement, late eighteenth century poet, engraver, and artist, William Blake (1757-1827), has clear sexual overtones in many of his poems, and he layers his work with sexual double entendres and symbolism. Within the discussion of sexuality in his work Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Blake seems to take a complicated view of women. His speakers use constructs of contraries, specifically innocence/ experience and male/female. Of the latter sex, he experiments with the passive (dependent, docile, virtuous) and active (independent, evil, a threat to the masculine) female subjects. Blake’s use of personification specifically of nature and botany suggest the use of nature to discuss human society. In Songs
Life can feel like lounging on the sand, staring into the cities of roses, however, with such happiness comes a deep, cruel truth called death. In this passage, Oliver’s style conveys the complexity of her response to nature by the double-meaning between the owl, the lie behind the “immobilizing happiness”, and the cold truth of these roses. Oliver’s style strives to show how nature is all but an illusion of life and death.
The seasons in the poem also can be seen as symbols of time passing in her life. Saying that in the height of her life she was much in love and knew what love was she says this all with four words “summer sang in me.” And as her life is in decline her lovers left her, this can be told by using “winter” as a symbol because it is the season of death and decline from life and the birds left the tree in winter. The “birds” can be seen as a literal symbol of the lovers that have left her or flown away or it can have the deeper meaning that in the last stages of our life all of our memories leave us tittering to our selves.
Overflowing her poem with the details of her vision, Oliver effectively transports the reader into the story being told. “My bones knock together at the pale joints, trying for a foothold, finger hold,” (line 13). The speaker in this story is struggling for what seems like endlessly, describing to the reader the exact torture that his/her body is experiencing.
Following her discussion of her positive experience with roses towards the end of the passage, Oliver shifts focus by contemplating about whether despite her fond appreciation of the beautiful rose fields which surround her environment, they are actually potentially overwhelming: “And is this not also terrible? Is this not also frightening? Are the roses not also–even as the owl is– excessive? Each flower is small and lovely, but in their sheer and silent abundance the roses become an immutable force...” Oliver’s dubious tone is most clearly exemplified through this series of questions, which she has struggled to discern.
“A Song in the Front Yard” is my favorite out of all the ones due to the meaning behind it and how the emotions the narrator is experiencing are relatable. This poem tells a story of young girl who has two different sides. She was raised to be a prime and proper lady, yet she wants to be bad and wild. The first stanza that shows her longing for a change and to be like others is “I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life. I want a peek at the back, where it’s rough and untended and hungry weeds grows.
The world of poetry is often thought of as a world of Shakespearian sonnets and sappy proclamations of love and longing. However, if you dig deeper you will discover poets such as Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, etc., who have all discussed suffering, sadness, and mortality in beautiful ways. Michael Dickman, a contemporary poet, is no stranger to suffering, and much of his works contain stories of the pains we must face in today’s society. Dickman’s poems discuss “spiritual longing, the improbable expectations fathers have for their sons, drug abuse, gritty neighborhoods, and unfailingly complicated human relationships (coppercanyonpress).” However, although his poems are bursting with loss and disappointment, they still allow the reader to know that “still/there is a lot to pray to/on earth” and that with suffering comes hope.
The second poem is “Home Burial”, by Robert Frost. The poem is about a couple, Amy and her husband, losing their son causing Amy to go through emotional turmoil. Amy is trying to avoid the situation by trying to leave, but her husband is trying to pull her back, so he can figure out what’s wrong with her and as the poem continues the drama increases. The topic of the poem is sadness, which ties into the theme of Amy and her husband’s relationship is on the rock. The theme in this poem is that everyone goes through sadness, but bottling it up doesn’t help the situation. This is due to the death of their son and as the story continues the husband is trying to understand, why Amy is acting the way she is but she receives the message as rude and offensive. Most of the tension is coming from the graveyard, which resigns on their lot that contains their relatives and son. In lines 1-2, it expresses my theme because it has both
In the words of Anne Bradstreet, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” As writers of the modern era expressed their hardships through poetry, one can only hope that they kept such advice in mind. Through captivating works, poets such as Langston Hughes, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, and E.E. Cummings expressed the struggles of life during the modern era. By examining what these poets have to say about dissatisfaction with life, feelings of inadequacy, and loneliness, it becomes clear that life during the modern era was full of hardships.
In Walt Whitman’s collection of Leaves of Grass, he includes many poems that are a compilation of his musings and thoughts. One thing that he does throughout his collection is that he creates goals through each poem to get different messages across. Some of his common messages, or underlying themes, are the Self, democracy, and the individual, but an interesting common theme found scattered throughout Leaves of Grass is the cycle of life and death, especially in comparison to the United States, the Civil War, and life itself. In “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” does such thing. Published in 1865, the pastoral elegy was written after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. This is the best way that Walt Whitman mourns a beloved public figure in his own modern world, and also the way he copes with the natural world. “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” best captures Whitman’s notion what it means to be human: the common understanding of the never-ending cycle of life and death through the form of the elegy, the symbol of the lilac, and the personification of death.