AN ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS
Dedicated to hope. The force that leads the world from darkness to light.
The reason to keep on going.
The reason to live.
The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be. -Oprah Winfrey
Table of Contents Page # ! !
A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow A Psalm of Life - Analysis
Not in Vain by Emily Dickinson Not in Vain - Analysis
A Musical Instrument by Elizabeth Barrett Browning A Musical Instrument - Analysis
Later Life 17 by Christina Rossetti Later Life 17 - Analysis
Nobility by Alice Cary Nobility - Analysis
Locked by Julia C. Quote from Buddha
FALLing by Julia C. Quote from Giuseppe di Lampedusa
Wonderland by Julia C. Wonderland - Analysis
Write Written Wrote by Julia C. Write Written Wrote - Analysis
Before by Julia C. Before - Analysis
My Name - A Vignette by Julia C. My Name - Continued
Inquiring into My Identity My Identity - Continued
Works Cited Works Cited - Continued
Poems by Various Poets
Longfellow has created a poem that can entertain. But more importantly, he has created a poem that can teach, influence, and leave a lasting impact. Very much like those he spoke of in the poem, footprints are left, and they have the power to guide our own. That was just one of many examples of figurative language that Longfellow took advantage of to provide deeper understanding to his poem. Personification and symbolism could be seen almost hand in hand, as he used inanimate objects/concrete ideas to showcase qualities of the abstract ideas that he shared with us. Similarly, many of his concepts were brought to life by similes and metaphors that allowed the reader to visualize and relate to his message. In the fourth stanza, Longfellow explores the idea of our hearts being muffled drums, leading lives to their end. Further on in the poem, Longfellow expands upon this concept and guides the reader in thinking about what a meaningful life consists of. All in all, a theme of seizing the day is shared. Even more specifically, and even more powerfully, I think Longfellow intends to share the theme of seizing YOUR day. Line after line brought new evidence to this concept, and it was all tied together with the rhyming (ABAB, CDCD, etc.), which allowed thoughts to flow together. For me, it was like floating down a river, with a sure direction, but many perspectives and discoveries.
Not in Vain by Emily Dickinson
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain: If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.
According to the dictionary, “in vain” means “without success or a result”. Dickinson takes this idea, the hollow prospect of living
such a life, and symbolizes it with concrete concepts. The line “Or cool one pain” (line four) allows the reader to both visually and
physically relate, as it is a simple concept with a clear message.
Simplicity in this line provides a more comprehendible view of the overall theme. Next, Dickinson paints us the picture of helping a fainting robin get back to his nest. At least in my opinion, this
image resonates very well with the theme, as it highlights the
action of giving assistance to those in need, since the fainting
robin comes across as quite a fragile creature. To end the poem,
Dickinson reinstates the idea of living in vain, and now we are able to bring the prior lines together and know what she must achieve to avoid this life in vain.
Along with the message itself, there are other elements that carry this poem. Rhyme is present, and provides a flow that allows the
reader to develop the thought, therefore leaving a lasting impact. In terms of line length, the poem is written in short lines, and I
believe this gives a sense of movement and action, rather than
rambling thought. That action reflects the intent of the poem, and reinforces it in an almost invisible way. Overall, Dickinson shares with us a poem provoking thought and action. Since the theme
seems to be helping others to help yourself (to “not live in vain”), action is exactly the right spirit to be enforcing.
A Musical Instrument by Elizabeth Barrett Browning What was he doing, the great god Pan, Down in the reeds by the river? Spreading ruin and scattering ban, Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat, And breaking the golden lilies afloat With the dragon-fly on the river.
'This is the way,' laughed the great god Pan (Laughed while he sat by the river), 'The only way, since gods began To make sweet music, they could succeed.' Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed, He blew in power by the river.
He tore out a reed, the great god Pan, From the deep cool bed of the river: The limpid water turbidly ran, And the broken lilies a-dying lay, And the dragon-fly had fled away, Ere he brought it out of the river.
Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan! Piercing sweet by the river! Blinding sweet, O great god Pan! The sun on the hill forgot to die, And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly Came back to dream on the river.
High on the shore sat the great god Pan While turbidly flowed the river; And hacked and hewed as a great god can, With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed, Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed To prove it fresh from the river.
Yet half a beast is the great god Pan, To laugh as he sits by the river, Making a poet out of a man: The true gods sigh for the cost and pain,â€” For the reed which grows nevermore again As a reed with the reeds in the river.
He cut it short, did the great god Pan, (How tall it stood in the river!) Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man, Steadily from the outside ring, And notched the poor dry empty thing In holes, as he sat by the river.
Even before examining what is contained within the poem, the reader experiences the tone. Through rhyme and rich verbs, a sense of energy and movement pulls the reader along, creating an explorative, energetic tone. In a broad sense, one could say there is symbolism, as the event that is described in the poem is a reflection of the views of Pan, laid out in concrete examples. A figure of Greek mythology, Pan personifies nature, the wild, and rusticity (including rustic music). Throughout the poem, we hear of nature (reeds, dragonflies, rivers, golden lilies, etc.), wild (in one sense, fleeing creatures. In another sense, intensity and life), and rustic music (the bringing of beauty, the return of the creatures, the sun stopping in awe, all through music).
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Another aspect of this beauty is highlighted by the repetition that starts off the sixth stanza (Sweet, sweet, sweet), which allows the reader to view the word â€œsweetâ€? from many different perspectives. Therefore, the word resonates deeper and is able to connect with all that the reader has already read. Overall, that is what I loved about this poem: the idea of the vitality of beauty (nature, music) is repeated and explored from all angles, resonating with unlimited depth.
L ater Life 17 by Christina Rossetti
Something this foggy day, a something which Is neither of this fog nor of today, Has set me dreaming of the winds that play Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach, And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray: Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away, So out of reach while quite within my reach, As out of reach as India or Cathay! I am sick of where I am and where I am not. I am sick of foresight and of memory, I am sick of all I have and all I see, I am sick of self, and there is nothing new; Oh weary impatient patience of my lot! â€“ Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you?
I am sick of poems where the mind comes across clear. I am sick of normality, universal understanding, and relation. I am sick of words that paint a consistent picture. And Rossetti defies this all. To introduce the reader to the message of her poem, Rossetti starts off with symbolism, which she then builds upon. A foggy day, as well as similar climatic aspects, are used to convey the abstract idea of an unclear, undecided mind. One that is seeking more but unsure where to find it. Which, I believe, could quite possibly be the theme she was going for. The idea of seeking more is strengthened in the section of the poem where Rossetti uses parallelism of the phrase “I am sick of…”. These grave cries support the idea of seeking purpose, more than mere survival. To truly live, not just possess a life. Throughout the poem, these complex ideas are embedded into the reader’s memory by Rossetti’s use of a perplexed, scatter-brained, sometimes unclear tone. To further enforce this, her language gives these ideas meaning with concrete words and phrases, as well as a couple cases of personification, such as “winds that play”, which brings life to the concrete aspects of this poem, mirroring the hunger for life in the deeper message.
Nobility by Alice Cary
True worth is in being, not seeming, In doing, each day that goes by, Some little good-not in dreaming Of great things to do by and by. For whatever men say in their blindness, And spite of the fancies of youth, There’s nothing so kingly as kindness, And nothing so royal as truth.
We cannot make bargains for blisses, Nor catch them like fishes in nets; And sometimes the things our life misses Helps more than the thing which it gets. For good lieth not in pursuing, Nor gaining of great nor of small, But just in the doing, and doing As we would be done by, is all.
We get back our mete as we measureWe cannot do wrong and feel right, Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure, For justice avenges each slight. The air for the wing of the sparrow, The bush for the robin and wren, But always the path that is narrow And straight, for the children of men.
Through envy, through malice, through hating, Against the world, early and late, No jot of our courage abatingOur part is to work and to wait. And slight is the sting of his trouble Whose winnings are less than his worth; For he who is honest is noble, Whatever his fortunes or birth.
‘Tis not in the pages of story The heart of its ills to beguile, Though he who makes courtship to glory Gives all that he hath for her smile. For when from her heights he has worn her, Alas! it is only to prove That nothing’s so sacred as honor, And nothing so loyal as love!
To start, I absolutely adore the movement in this piece of poetry. Cary pulled rhyme out of her toolbox, and used it to keep the reader’s thoughts building alongside the words she put on the paper. A similar aspect of the poem is how Cary used two similar phrasings at the end of the first and third stanzas. By repeating these similar qualities the same way, she lets the tone be sustained, therefore further highlighting the message she is aiming to convey. In the end, I believe Cary tried to share with us a theme around the lines of “inner wealth is richer than outer wealth”. Although there are probably other meanings, this one hits home for me, and the language Cary used supported this. With words like “kingly”, we are given a deeper view into this grand life that is nobility. However, as we know because of her figurative language, nobility doesn’t mean money and power. The fourth stanza sums this up quite clearly by giving concrete examples. First Cary tells us that you can’t bargain for bliss, and then that you can’t catch it with a net. By the end of the poem, her phrases piece together and it all makes sense, yet is open for interpretation and application. Poetic perfection.
Poems by Julia C.
In the art form of concrete poems, the shape and visual presentation lays the foundation for the piece. Therefore, the keyhole design of my poem should be considered the foundation. That statement is accurate because the image symbolizes the message I was writing about. Although the keyhole is the most obvious aspect that makes this a concrete poem, the exterior shaping of the poem is very blob-ish and free-formed, and I see it as reflecting the idea of a cloud/a clouded mind. ! For the observant readers, I have hidden a second “poem” inside my poem. Along the right edge of the keyhole are bolded words/word segments, and when read in sequence, they provide a vital addition to the poem. That is, they answer the statement that ends the main poem. The phrase gives hope and an optimistic outlook. ! Another literary element that I used in forming this piece was parallelism. For most of the lines that form the keyhole, I used the sentence starter “Must you/we”. By doing so, I asked the reader questions, and allowed them to examine the theme in their own way, through multiple pairs of eyes. The theme of finding one’s true self and finding strength in that self, ties together the writing and the visual aspects in hopes of creating one powerful message.
The mind is everything; what you think, you become. ~Buddha .
FALLing Like Â leaves, Â like Â hopes, Â fall; Given Â a Â slate, Â black Â and Â blank Yet Â weary Â of Â change
The form of poetry known as the haiku originated in Japan a looooong time ago. Today, we often perceive it as simply a form with the syllable count 5/7/5. Yes, my haiku follows this structure, and therefore has that short, fleeting voice. But rather than fleeting, my message is enforced by the elements that truly make a haiku a haiku. In the first line, the word â€œleavesâ€? is the kigo, a.k.a. the â€œseason wordâ€?. This gives the setting for the piece, and in the case of my poem, allows for a deeper meaning if you apply the season to the message. As well, a kireji is present (a â€œcutting wordâ€?). Located at the end of the first line, this word paired with punctuation (;) separates the two ideas in the poem. Because of this, the reader can pause, and the two thoughts are separated very much like when you go from one sentence to a new one. Beyond the fundamental elements of the haiku art form, I used figurative language. â€œLike leaves, like hopes, fallâ€? provides similes to start off the poem. Although the thing being compared is not stated, that is okay, because it is an abstract idea, and through these comparisons the reader is able to interpret what it might be to them. A discrete element I snuck into my poem was in the second line, where I describe the slate. When connected with the kigo and the fact that the poem is set in fall, it is hoped that an observant reader would catch that this is speaking about school. And change. And falling.
If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change. ~ Â Giuseppe Â di Â Lampedusa
Wonderland In fairytales and fantasies There’s little girls falling down rabbit holes Landing in lands of wonder and weird I’ve seen this land, I’ve been there, I am there But I never needed the fall down the rabbit hole
In the prospect of the world, it seems I drank that bottle The one that makes me small, worthless, nothing Nothing in size is merely everything in emotion, My tears feel meaningless, yet they whisk me away From droplets, to rivers, to a sea with no shores It’s a crisis of me Who, why, am I thy? Road one, route two, path three, turn left Every crossroad seems to lead to the tea party Not a festival nor a celebration But a muddled, mad meeting Where nothing is quite what they say Rose after rose I paint from white to red Making up for the doings of others Erasing the slips of life Yet even still, I’m accused of theft Of tarts from the Queen of Heart’s Yet never did I ever For I wouldn’t in forever.
By the end of this poem, it is hopefully quite obvious that the piece was meant to carry a conceit reflecting Alice in Wonderland. Exploring different elements of the plot, I reflect upon my life and how it relates or doesn’t relate. Repeatedly, I use metaphors that compare my life to the adventures of Alice, and since that is carried throughout the entire piece, a conceit is formed! This sets the tone of the poem, letting the reader reflect upon that of Alice in Wonderland, and apply it to this piece. Because of these scatter-brained, lost, searching tones and messages, I really didn’t intend for there to be a concrete theme. In a way, the theme is to be up for interpretation. Just as I related my life to Alice in Wonderland, I challenge the reader to do the same, or at least compare there’s to mine and mine to hers. Though less obvious than these bigger concepts, I also snuck alliteration into the poem “muddled, mad meeting” (line 16). In this alliteration’s context, I intended for it to further enhance that “muddled, mad” tone by creating a tongue-twister of words to go along with the twisted thoughts and ideas. Of course, there was also allusion, which is what formed the basis to the poem. Both the 1951 Disney movie and the novel by Lewis Carol inspired the crazy ideas, comparisons, and language that drove this poem. We’re all a little crazy, aren’t we?
Write Written Wrote Write one word, write two words, three words, write four; My thoughts trail off aimlessly, on and on Behind what I say hides so, so much more With no one to share, my hopes; dreams; feel gone Flightless are the hopes that I once held dear Wandering dreams, that used to be my wings Shadowed by their clouds, hidden by the fear Yet if you dive deeper, something still sings The last string has long ago been broken But my hand stretches far and holds on tight My mind is lost, now just a mere token The worldâ€™s the arcade, and life is the fight Words can be seen, yet thoughts can not be heard Like it or not, holding back is absurd
Word after word, this poem plays around with thoughts, dreams, hopes, and how these things are shared. Through personification (flightless/winged hopes, stanza 2; hopes trailing off aimlessly, stanza 1), these ideas are viewed from different perspectives to be formed into some sort of mismatched sculpture. A picture that changes from each angle, and can be interpreted line by line, person by person, voice by voice. The intention of this poem is to explore these thoughts, not necessarily state their meanings, in hopes of letting the reader find their own meaning. Furthermore, both symbolism and metaphors are used in the third stanza, giving these feelings and concepts concrete shapes and a more tangible existence. First, the wavering life is metaphorically seen as a broken string. Following that, symbolism gives the view that the world is an arcade, and life is the battle we each must fight. What is the theme? The tone? More importantly: what is the purpose? I hoped for this poem to share the struggles of letting thoughts free and opening up to life and what it has to offer. Hope. Maybe.
Free Curious Motivated Quirky Imaginative
How I used to be. Spirited Witty Intense Honest Whimsical
Who I used to be. Blonde Skinny Alive Young Strong
What I used to be. Ready Innocent Eager Present Safe
Where I used to be. Why I used to live. Now. Empty. lost
“Before” is definitely not a traditional poem. Rather than the usual flowing piece of figurative language, this poem was intended to highlight the word it ends with: lost. An event, an emotion, a thing, a lifestyle. Different to everyone, but the same general feeling deep down. Parallelism brings it all together, as the poem is in sections that each go along with a line ending with “I used to be”. Hopefully, the reader is able to gain further insight into the meaning of “Before” through this. The main portion of the poem is followed by the line “Why I used to live”. As a variation on the “____ I used to be” line, this element was meant to hit the reader with a new light. To some, it might have focusing powers, to pinpoint where this idea of “lost” is coming from. To others, the idea of “lost” might be broadened, or maybe intensified. Lost. In the tone, the word choice, and everything within this poem, “lost” is the intention, and each line serves as another handhold for the reader to further immerse themselves into this fathomless idea.
My Name A Vignette by Julia C.
Potatoes are similar to my name in many ways. At first taste, the simplicity is
satisfying, and even after that, potatoes continue to be perfectly fine. But it ends there. Fine. Nothing more. No glory, no delicacy, no adventure, no discovery. Julia is like a
filler word, a label with no depth, a scholarly word on a flat, paper map, as lackluster as a wave would be if an underwater world did not flourish below. No; Julia does not have depth. Julia does not mean creative. Julia does not mean quirky, imaginative, bold,
determined, or adventurous. Julia does not mean moonlight, glory, rebirth, exploration,
or discovery. Julia means youthful. Youthful is superficial. I am not superficial. Julia is a chance cut short. An opportunity with limits. A world with borders. Or is it the borders to my world? The limits to the opportunity? The blade that whittles the chances?
When walking down the sidewalk, I do not journey on the right side. Nor do I
walk on the left. I straddle the radiance of the yellow line down the middle, tight-roping this usually ignored streak of paint. Opportunities are doors, and I like to open them.
Choices are diverging paths, and I like the hidden ones. Eccentricity and creativity both must be sparked in the same way: through not only actions but attitude too. When you describe something with a metaphoric action, is that what creates the attitude? When
my words tell you that I like to open doors, am I my attitude with you? For I know that in reality, I do not twist cold doorknobs at an abnormally high frequency. Maybe what
I’m trying to share with you is that I’m a thinker. “Julia” doesn’t make your mind think, or think about thinking about being a thinker. On almost anyone, Julia would be a sufficient name. On me, it falls short.
Elvira and Elvina both mean foreign and true. But I do not like those names.
One can be eccentric, one can be real, one can be radiant, but there are an infinite number of different ways to do so and be so. Elvira and Elvina are not my way.
Foreign is also captured in meaning by the name Eleanor, in addition to compassion, sun ray, and shining light. Carve this a bit into another name and you get Ella, which
shares those meanings. Maybe Ella doesn’t fit me, but maybe that’s just because my name isn’t Ella. And Ella shares something with Julia. There is no song, no tune, no
melodic notes attached to those mediocre letters. Just a word. A label. Luella also partly means foreign, and the flow of that word on the tip of my tongue is like a dance, but
the dance just isn’t my dance. And then I wonder... Is it better to be stuck in a dance, or is the brighter path truly the one where you must create your own dance?
Names are words. Words are letters. Names are letters that have been pinned to
a clothesline and hung up, right on top of our faces. Mine says Julia. Yours might say Lauren, Abigail, Ivy, or Stephen. I want to come along and be wind, blowing those
letters around, showing them that I am the one with power. I can control who I am. I want to be Julia. Not the name, the person. Me. Julia. 5 letters, odd in number, but together much too even.
Inquiring into my
For most people, ,inding ,ive poems that re,lect them isn't too hard of a task. The thing is, I defy the stereotypical "most people". Most poems in this world are for "most people", and I really just don't fall under that label. Writing ,ive poems that re,lect myself? Somewhat easier, yet at the same time, how can words ever fully represent a living thing? They might match up here and there, but in reality, sentences and languages are empty compared to what lies within us. As re,lected in the poem “Write Written Wrote” (pg. 17, J.C.), I constantly ,ight the battle of opening myself up to the world and sharing what I am “Words can be seen, yet thoughts can not be heard. Like it or not, holding back is absurd” (line 13 & 14, J.C.). Being lost doesn’t end there. In “Locked” (pg. 11, J.C.), the internal struggle is highlighted metaphorically through lines including “Inside my mind, it’s like a cloud, blurry, lost;” (line 3, J.C.) and “I feel like I’ve lost my key.” (line 16, J.C.). Another aspect of this hopeless uncertainty is shared in “Before” (pg. 19, J.C.), where the transitional line “Why I used to live” (line 25, J.C.) reveals how change and time play a role in it all. One thing that makes me different from “most people”, is that I refuse to let this “lost” stuff destroy me. Inside, I may be destroyed and I may feel empty, but what makes me keep going is the world. Day after day, I am driven by the thought that, maybe, I can help the world to avoid what I face, have faced, and will face. Alice Cary sums my perspective up nicely in the poem “Nobility” (pg. 9, A.C.) by stating, “We can not do wrong and feel right” (line 10, A.C.), which essentially means to feel right we must do right. The “do”-‐ing is something I always strive for. Cary also sums up this part of my morals, too, with “True worth is in being, not seeming” (line 1, A.C.). To me, true worth comes from taking a stand and deciding to be someone, or as “A Psalm of Life” (pg. 1, H.W.L.) puts it, I want to leave “Footprints on the sand of time” (line 28, H.W.L.) and “Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!” (line 19-‐20, H.W.L.). I want to be someone. More speci,ically, I want to be me.
Want, want, want. In reality, I’m de,initely not a “want-‐y” person. Desire and passion are better terms if you must put words under my name. I desire to seize the day and make the most out of life, and to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today: “to act, that each tomorrow, ,ind us farther than today” (line 11-‐12, H.W.L.). Along with that comes the passion of enriching this world, and to me, that means beauty. Not the super,icial product of make-‐up and plastic. I’m talking about when “The sun on the hill forgot to die” (line 34, E.B.B.), captivated by the magic of both music and nature. How “Art is long, and Time is ,leeting” (line 13, H.W.L.), and how those little moments create those big feelings. In the poem “A Musical Instrument” (pg. 5, E.B.B.), the god Pan is described with the phrase “Making a poet out of a man” (line 39, E.B.B.), and I have the dream to bring that same enlightenment to life. Dreams are powerful things, but in a mind like the one I own, they are still not free from limits and loss. Like Christina Rossetti says in her poem “Later Life 17” (pg. 7), the ability to ful,ill life can be “So out of reach while quite within my reach” (line 7, C.R.). This brings me back to the struggle of being lost. But I don’t want to be all about struggles. I think there’s a key, but the key to that key is locked with a key. Novels could be 3000 pages if the author so desired, but most readers don’t like that. And so like an author, I must conform to the preferences of society and limit what lies on this page, but hopefully not limit what lays within. Not just what lays within me, but maybe, if you’ve been inspired, what lays within you, too. “Born to be me; that is the key” (Locked, J.C.)
Works Cited POEMS: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. "A Musical Instrument." Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2013. <http:// www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19864> Cary, Alice. “Nobility.” 101 Famous Poems. Ed. Roy J. Cook. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997. Pg. 111-112. Print. Dickinson, Emily. “Not in Vain.” 101 Famous Poems. Ed. Roy J. Cook. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997. Pg. 30. Print. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “A Psalm of Life.” 101 Famous Poems. Ed. Roy J. Cook. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997. Pg. 123. Print. Rossetti, Christina. "Later Life 17." All the Days of My Life. Ed. Philip Davis. Great Britain: The Orion Publishing Group Ltd, 1999. Pg. 284. Print.
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QUOTES: Buddha, Gautama. “Gautama Buddha > Quotes.” Goodreads. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <https:// www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2167493.Gautama_Buddha?page=6> Tomasi di Lampedusa, Giuseppe. “Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa > Quotes.” Goodreads. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/44703.Giuseppe_Tomasi_di_Lampedusa>
An anthology of poems exploring identity. Compiled by Julia C.