Poetry Anthology With Commentaries Essay

“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickenson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers-

That perches in the soul-

And sings the tune without the words-

And never stops-at all-

And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard-

And sore must be the storm-

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm-

I’ve heard it in the chillest land-

And on the strangest Sea-

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb-of Me.

Commentary:

The poem is well written and gives such a good description on what hope really is. In the poem she is saying that hope is a bird (i think a dove since that also symbolizes peace). “Perches” and “sings the tune without the words” both talk about what birds do. In the second and last stanza it talks about the song. The poem follows the rhyme scheme abab. It is also very dramatic because, for example, in the last stanza it uses the word “Extremity” and capitalized in the middle of a sentence which adds extra emphasis on an already dramatic sounding word. She may also be referring to that hope is just like a bird in the fact that just like a bird, hope can fly around the world freely. She also states that hope is everywhere by saying “I’ve heard it in the chillest land and on the strangest sea.”

Emily Dickenson (19th century) was an American poet. She lived a introverted and reclusive life. She was thought of as an eccentric by the locals of her town. She became know for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Fewer than a dozen poems were published during her lifetime but here sister found a collection of nearly 1800 poems and Dickinson’s first volume was published four years after her death.

A Winter Ship by Sylvia Plath

At this wharf there are no grand landings to speak of.

Red and orange barges list and blister

Shackled to the dock, outmoded, gaudy,

And apparently indestructible.

The sea pulses under a skin of oil.

A gull holds his pose on a shanty ridgepole,

Riding the tide of the wind, steady

As wood and formal, in a jacket of ashes,

The whole flat harbor anchored in

The round of his yellow eye-button.

A blimp swims up like a day-moon or tin

Cigar over his rink of fishes.

The prospect is dull as an old etching.

They are unloading three barrels of little crabs.

The pier pilings seem about to collapse

And with them that rickety edifice

Of warehouses, derricks, smokestacks and bridges

In the distance. All around us the water slips

And gossips in its loose vernacular,

Ferrying the smells of cod and tar.

Farther out, the waves will be mouthing icecakes —

A poor month for park-sleepers and lovers.

Even our shadows are blue with cold.

We wanted to see the sun come up

And are met, instead, by this iceribbed ship,

Bearded and blown, an albatross of frost,

Relic of tough weather, every winch and stay

Encased in a glassy pellicle.

The sun will diminish it soon enough:

Each wave-tip glitters like a knife.

Commentary:

There is no rhyme in this poem, at least no rhyme that I saw. It has good adjectives which gives good imagery. When I read this I felt like i was standing in the cold on this “Winter Ship”. Vocabulary is interesting and it is clear that she only used words that pertain to winter, especially winter in the far north like Alaska. “Albatross of frost” gives me an image of big gusts of wind keep hitting the boat over and over again. Her descriptions of the weather on the open sea during winter gives the impression that she has been on a ship in such weather. She also gives the impression that everything you experience out there could possibly kill you. For example, she says “each wave-tip glitters like a knife,” and that feels like she is saying that if you fall into the ocean the waves will tear you apart and the chance of survival is miniscule.

The Surgeon at 2 a.m. by Sylvia Plath

The white light is artificial, and hygienic as heaven.

The microbes cannot survive it.

They are departing in their transparent garments, turned aside

From the scalpels and the rubber hands.

The scalded sheet is a snowfield, frozen and peaceful.

The body under it is in my hands.

As usual there is no face. A lump of Chinese white

With seven holes thumbed in. The soul is another light.

I have not seen it; it does not fly up.

Tonight it has receded like a ship’s light.

It is a garden I have to do with — tubers and fruit

Oozing their jammy substances,

A mat of roots. My assistants hook them back.

Stenches and colors assail me.

This is the lung-tree.

These orchids are splendid. They spot and coil like snakes.

The heart is a red bell-bloom, in distress.

I am so small

In comparison to these organs!

I worm and hack in a purple wilderness.

The blood is a sunset. I admire it.

I am up to my elbows in it, red and squeaking.

Still is seeps me up, it is not exhausted.

So magical! A hot spring

I must seal off and let fill

The intricate, blue piping under this pale marble.

How I admire the Romans —

Aqeducts, the Baths of Caracella, the eagle nose!

The body is a Roman thing.

It has shut its mouth on the stone pill of repose.

It is a statue the orderlies are wheeling off.

I have perfected it.

I am left with and arm or a leg,

A set of teeth, or stones

To rattle in a bottle and take home,

And tissues in slices–a pathological salami.

Tonight the parts are entombed in an icebox.

Tomorrow they will swim

In vinegar like saints’ relics.

Tomorrow the patient will have a clean, pink plastic limb.

Over one bed in the ward, a small blue light

Announces a new soul. The bed is blue.

Tonight, for this person, blue is a beautiful color.

The angels of morphia have borne him up.

He floats an inch from the ceiling,

Smelling the dawn drafts.

I walk among sleepers in gauze sarcophagi.

The red night lights are flat moons. They are dull with blood.

I am the sun, in my white coat,

Grey faces, shuttered by drugs, follow me like flowers.

Commentary:

The poem is very descriptive and it is comparing an OR with nature and the woods. It might be looking through a surgeons eyes and showing how he thinks when in surgery. “The blood is a sunset. I admire it. I am up to my elbows in it, red and squeaking.” which gives the reader the sense that the surgeon really loves being a surgeon an cutting people open to fix whatever is wrong and it shows that he loves blood. The poem is elaborate and is very complex in the fact that every little detail of surgery is transferred into nature. In the end she talks about the patients be drugged up follow the surgeon “like flowers” which could mean that they create orders for themselves so they are brainless, just like flowers.

Sylvia Plath (20th century) was a poet, novelist, and a short story writer. Plath had a long struggle with depression and material separation which lead to her suicide in 1963. Sylvia is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry. Her Best know publications in her lifetime were “The Colossus and Othe Poems” and “Ariel.”

One Inch Tall by Shel Silverstein

If you were only one inch tall, you’d ride a worm to school.

The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.

A crumb of cake would be a feast

And last you seven days at least,

A flea would be a frightening beast

If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you’d walk beneath the door,

And it would take about a month to get down to the store.

A bit of fluff would be your bed,

You’d swing upon a spider’s thread,

And wear a thimble on your head

If you were one inch tall.

You’d surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.

You couldn’t hug your mama, you’d just have to hug her thumb.

You’d run from people’s feet in fright,

To move a pen would take all night,

(This poem took fourteen years to write–

‘Cause I’m just one inch tall).

Commentary:

I liked the poem a lot because it got me to thinking what it would actually be like being one inch tall. This is also one of the first poems that I read when I was younger that I actually liked. The rhyme scheme is aabbb and then each stanza finishes off with, “if you were one inch tall.” Shel goes through many scenarios that could possibly happen if you were one inch tall and it plays with your imagination because you start to think up ideas for creating new scenarios. It reminds me slightly of The Cat in the Hat poem, “Green Eggs and Ham.” It is also a funny and original touch to include at the end that it took 14 years to write because he is only one inch tall

Shel Silverstein (20th century) was a poet and author of children’s books and much, much more. His biggest selling children’s book was the Giving tree and is considered one of the most successful children’s book in years. Another well know book of his is Where the Sidewalk Ends. He died of a heart attack in 1999.

Ghost House by Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know

That vanished many a summer ago,

And left no trace but the cellar walls,

And a cellar in which the daylight falls,

And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield

The woods come back to the mowing field;

The orchard tree has grown one copse

Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;

The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart

In that vanished abode there far apart

On that disused and forgotten road

That has no dust-bath now for the toad.

Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout

And hush and cluck and flutter about:

I hear him begin far enough away

Full many a time to say his say

Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.

I know not who these mute folk are

Who share the unlit place with me–

Those stones out under the low-limbed tree

Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,

Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,–

With none among them that ever sings,

And yet, in view of how many things,

As sweet companions as might be had.

Commentary:

I like the poem and it gives a good description of the classic scary and possibly haunted house and the fear that comes with approaching it. The poem has the rhyme scheme aabba. The narrator could be a ghost because in the beginning he says, I dwell in a lonely house I know that vanished,” which gives the impression that he is a spirit that stays where the house once once. It has many adjectives giving a good mental image and making you fell like you are actually looking and going towards a creepy haunted house.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow-

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand-

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep- while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

Commentary:

To be honest I first picked out this poem because I though of inception, the movie. But once I read it I found out that it is a very good poem and nothing less could be expected of Poe. The rhyme scheme is aaabbccddee. It finishes off with the same two last lines in both stanzas. It was kind of a hard poem to grasp the first time I read but once I read it again it got more understandable and had a deeper meaning which I understand but for some unknown reason I am unable to convey through. It is a very dark poem, like Poe was known for. In it he talks about losing grip giving the impression of him falling. And also he says, “while I weep,” which is quite dramatic.

Edgar Allen Poe (19th century) was and author, poet, and literary critic and was also considered a part of the American Romantic Movement. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1827. At Poe’s early attempt at poetry, he turned his attention to prose.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Commentary:

I liked this poem because in a nutshell it is talking about not following the group but following what you really want to do. He does not choose to go the way most people go even though that might be an easier way to success but you might not be happy. But if you follow the path that makes you happy you might not make it to success. The poem follows the rhyme scheme abaab. As the reader reads the poem he finds that as you go on in the poem, more information is given. In the first stanza the reader might be slightly confused but once he enters and finishes the fourth stanza it is completely clear what the poem is about. The road to happiness isn’t often the road to success is a fitting summarization.

Stars by Robert Frost

How countlessly they congregate

O’er our tumultuous snow,

Which flows in shapes as tall as trees

When wintry winds do blow!–

As if with keenness for our fate,

Our faltering few steps on

To white rest, and a place of rest

Invisible at dawn,–

And yet with neither love nor hate,

Those stars like some snow-white

Minerva’s snow-white marble eyes

Without the gift of sight.

Commentary:

It has an interesting rhyme because the last word in the first line of each stanza rhymes and then in each stanza, lines two and 4 rhyme. “O’er” is shortened which creates more of the illusion that the narrator is communicating to us through talking to us rather than writing to us. It gives it more of a personal feel.

Robert Frost (20th century) was an American poet who was highly regarded for his depictions of rural life. He is also and often quoted poet and was frequently honored during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. His first poem was “My Butterfly: An Elegy,” in 1894. He moved to Great Britain and lived in Glasgow and later to Beaconsfield outside of London. His first book of poetry was called “A Boy’s Will,” was published in 1913. He moved to New Hampshire in 1915 when World War I was beginning.

Haiku excerpt from For All My Walking by Taneda Santoka

there

where the fire was

something blooming

Commentary:

First I would like to point out that this is translated from japanese and therefore is not in haiku form in english. This is a beautiful haiku and one of the most descriptive haikus I have ever read because just by reading those five words you can easily picture what Taneda wanted to convey. I just imagine a pink, or some other bright color, coming through the ruble of the fire. I can just imagine seeing this and begin to ponder how such beauty can dwell among such chaos.

Taneda Santoka (20th century) was a japanese author and haiku poet who was born in Honshu, Japan’s main island, to a wealthy family. When he was 11 his mother committed suicide and after that he was raised by his grandmother. Taneda went to school but soon drooped out because of alcohol and drug use. One of his books is calledGrass and Tree Cairn.

Haiku after Arakida Moritake

A fallen blossom

returning to the bough, I thought

But no, a butterfly

Commentary:

Again, I would like to point out that this is translated from japanese so it is not in haiku form in english. It speaks of simple deception where at first one sees an object but a second glance confirms that it is actually something else. Also it show how fragile and delicate life can be. When something as complex as a butterfly is mixed up with something as simple as a fallen blossom it show that seeing can be deceiving. And is shows that something so extremely delicate and fragile can be a living organism.

Arakida Moritake was a japanese poet in the 16th century. He excelled in the fields of waka, renga andin particular haikai. His parents were Negi Morihide and a Shintoist. Later, at the age of 69, he became head priest of the Inner Ise Shrine. The above poem is his most famous work.

Little Life by Ari Gardarsson

Little lazy larva

lying luxuriously,

labefactation.

Commentary:

I chose to write a haiku because in short, they are my favorite type of poem. I then decided to alliterate the whole poem just to make it more challenging after getting the idea from Caelin and his alliterative haikus. I’m not quite sure why I chose larva as the subject of my haiku but it was the first thing that popped to mind. I also decided to create a world of luxury around them which contradicts what they’re normal living habits which is filled with mud. I chose the last word labefactation because it means the process of coming apart or decaying and I thought this would be an appropriate end to a short and lazy life of a larva. I also wanted to have a single word for my last line.

Transformation by Ari Gardarsson

Caterpillars camp

claudent, cramped, confined,

Butterfly berceuse.

Commentary:

For this haiku I didn’t have any inspiration, it just came to me. I knew that I wanted to have it be alliterative just like the one before so I started out with caterpillars. After that I wanted to create the effect of them changing into a butterfly. For the last line I couldn’t keep going with the alliteration so i decided to switch letters and alliterate with b. I also chose the word berceuse, meaning lullaby, because it fit so well with butterflies being snuggled up in their cuccoons. This is my favorite of the two haikus.