Showing posts with label elegy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elegy. Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

About the Poet

We seem elated to be analyzing another elegy_ a mild elegy for that matter. What could be more delighting than meeting poets in their genius dens.

The poem "In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me" proved Elizabeth Jennings' creativity was inelastic during her lifetime.

Elizabeth Jennings was an English poet born 18th July, 1926 in Boston, United Kingdom but died 26th October , 2001 in Bampton, United Kingdom.

About the Poem

The poem is about death. She wrote the poem solely because she admired the dead_ they are humans just as herself. Structurally, "In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me" by Elizabeth Jennings is a three stanza poem of six lines each stanza with the end rhyme pattern of ABBACC DEEDFF GHHGII.

[You Can Even Listen to the Poem In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me]

In the poem, Elizabeth Jennings treated mourning like a philanthropic act. Even when none of the poet's friends or relatives died, she still found it in her heart to practice a mournful ritual to those that are dead anywhere in the world at such time. 

Besides mourning, she also emphasized life's achievements or earthly accomplishments as seen in the second stanza of the poem below:
"How they lived, or died, is quite unknown,
And, by that fact gives my grief purity--
An important person quite apart from me
Or one obscure who drifted down alone.
Both or all I remember, have a place.
For these I never encountered face to face".

The reason she didn't mourn any status under the grip of bias was because the famous which she referred to as "An important person quite apart from me" and the commoner which she referred to as " obscure who drifted down alone" are both victims of death which she was yet to witness though indebted to it.

She did imagine whatever burial rites could be going on at that particular time_ digging of grave or cremation. 

And being an abstract mourner also took away any form of sentiment in as much as she wouldn't have to worry about their epitaph, or taking roses to their graves or wondering whether they were good persons who deserved not to die or bad persons who truly deserved the cold stings of death.

Enunwa Chukwudinma S. aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thomas Gray was an English poet and among other things, a professor at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was born 1716 but departed the earth 1771.

A book cannot be judged by its cover but according to the notion of the poem speaker, status of a dead person can be judged by the nature of his or her grave.

By looking at the graves in a certain country churchyard, the poem speaker concluded that they were poor alive which led to the sympathetic feeling towards them.

The journey of life comes to halt with death and such is buttressed in the poem. The poem speaker reminds the readers that death is inevitable and comes to everyone irrespective of class, age or status.

The poet through imagery sets the mood of finality that depicts an end to an ongoing activity. This state of finality is reflected in the significance of the images of the "curfew", the "lowing herd" and the "plowman" who, in their various activities, indicate an end of action, a span of life as it were. Thus in "tolls and knell of parting day", "wind
slowly o'er the Lea" and "homeward plods his weary way", the impression of a halt to a state of existence is conveyed.

This state of loss is reflected in a natural environment and it takes on the feature of the pathetic fallacy. There is a sense of impending darkness looming over the environment and this is seen in the "fading glimmer of the landscape". Solemn stillness of the air", the absence of the "twittering swallows" and the "cock's shrill clarion or the echoing horn".

The diction amplifies this state of sadness and grief in the poet's use of contrast and repetition. There is the repetition of "no more" to emphasize finality of action as in: "no more shall rouse them from then lowly bed", and "for them no more the blazing hearth shall burn".

Contrast is seen in the lack of action that characterizes death and the bustling activities of life. In death, "no more the blazing hearth shall burn" or busy house wife ply her evening care no children run to lisp their sires' return. While in life "off did the harvest to their sickle yield. How jocund did they drive their team afield!. How cowed the woods beneath their sturdy strike!. This contrast between activity and inactivity highlights the poet's misery and grief.


Samuel C Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Monday, 21 November 2016

Structurally, this twenty four line poem is divided into three equal stanza of eight lines per stanza. For the record, Walt Whitman is known for his unpredictable rhythm and rhyme scheme. 

Though the poem has some evidence of end rhyme scheme,  word arrangement looks wobbling and irregular like the current of the ocean. It is no surprise that the poem took such arrangement since the poem has a sea setting with the use of words such as "shore" "ship" "Captain" "vessel" "voyage" "deck".

This poem falls under the category of war poem but the fact that it is an elegy cannot be denied. The poem speakers indirectly mourns the death of his captain who has fallen in battle. 

Speaking with ignorance, the poet calls on his dead captain as he was sleeping, asking him to rise up; after which he tells the readers through his contrasting refrain that " Captain lies/ Fallen cold and dead".

In stanza 1, the speaker notifies his captain that the battle is over and won. Stanza 2 tells the captain of the crowd at shore happily ready to celebrate with him. Stanza 3 is where the speaker of the poem hit the nail in the head by coming into reality:
"My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with
object won;
Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells!
But I, with silent tread,
Walk the spot my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead."

The refrain in the poem makes the poem lyrical even though the message is mournful with exclamatory phrases. Imageries are "fearful trip" "the people all exulting" "For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths" "his lips are pale and still". 
alliterations are "weathered every wrack" "flag is flung" "dream that on the deck". Assonance in line 3 "near the bells I hear" "fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won". Anaphora in stanza one with the use of "The ship" "the prize" "The port" "the people" then in stanza two with the use of "for you the flag" "for you the bugle" "For you bouquet" "for you the shore" "For you they call".

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman is a poem about a captain who lost his life as a result of a war. The poem shows that there are two sides to the outcome of battle; where some people soberly mourn and cry, others gladly sing and celebrate victory. Even amidst the winners of a certain battle, those alive rejoice with their loved ones while family of those dead mourn.

In searching for the motive of the poem, Wikipedia reveals that Whitman composed the poem after the death of Abraham Lincoln. It became one of the most recognized elegy among American and poetry lovers in general.

Who is Walt Whitman? Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, United States of America but died on March 26, 1892, in Camden, USA.


Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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