Anxiety.

I’ve been floating in this ocean.

I thought I was doing alright.

But without notice I began slipping under the surface.

I kicked, and kicked, and kicked, and slowly,

I begin to lose my breath.

Panicking, kicking, even screaming,

Why  can’t any of you hear me

My lungs are burning from a lack of oxygen

Each innocent grasp towards sunlight,

just brings me an additional ten feet under.

Without air, without my precious breath,

I blacked out.

Waves are reoccurring, yet somehow,

you still let me drown each time.

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“Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.
Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.
Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.
Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.
Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place—
be glad your nose is on your face!
Perhaps it is the child in me that I refuse to let go of, but this poem was one of my favorites of the year. This poem follows an ABAB rhyme scheme and seems to be quite elementary. However, this humorous poem which seems to be aimed at children actually has an inspiring and uplifting underlying message. Using the nose as a metaphor for something that we have in our lives, Preluntsky delivers the message to the reader to be grateful for what you have, and be aware that changing these things could bring about disastrous consequences. By being grateful that our nose is on our face the poet is telling us to be grateful for the little things in life and learning to appreciate everything we have such as where we live, our family, or friends, and even just being grateful for being able to wake up in the morning. This poem really makes me think about everything I’ve been blessed with and all the opportunities I have had in my life.
The flow of the poem is natural and uncomplicated which propels the poem forward. Both of the effects the rhyme scheme has on the readability of the poem are crucial to gaining the attention of the target audience. Additionally, the rhyme scheme works well with the topical nature of the poem  and gives the poem a feeling of playfulness. However, the structure also provides focus as it allows the reader to center attention on the two rhyming lines at hand. As result, readers of the poem truly engage with it and end up grasping the underlying meaning.
The poet refers to the nose as precious and important and humorously places it in the most peculiar places around the body; the feet, the head and the ear. When the poet describes the nose as being ‘sandwiched in between your toes’, he evokes both an image of comedy and also discomfort at the thought of being ‘forced to smell your feet.’ This state of discomfort ultimately delivers the message that changing the position of something that is important in your life could hold very irreversible consequences, so we should be grateful for the things we have and try not to change aspects of our life to perfect them because sometimes things are the way they are for a reason. A lot of the time in life, we all easily overlook we have been blessed with as well all the positive aspect aspects of our life and focus on the negatives. We spend so much time trying to fix things that we feel are negative when in reality those things have happened for a reason and we should not dwell on it. Our desire to try and fix change everything can often be overwhelming, but the poet describes many consequences of change in  a playful manner throughout this poem.
He does this when he says nose would be a source of dread  were it attached atop your head, it soon would drive you to despair,  forever tickled by your hair. Then he does it again when he says Within your ear, your nose would be an absolute catastrophe, for when you were obliged to sneeze, your brain would rattle from the breeze.  What the poet is doing here is demonstrating that it can be dangerous to attempt to change something that was perfectly fine/ or meant to be the way it is to begin with.
The reason why I love this poem so much is because it can be read or related to by many age groups. This poem can teach young children the importance of appreciating everything that you have. For younger children, this may be having their favorite toys, friends, and parents.As for an older age group, this poem could allow them how grateful they should be for having a good job or career, a nice house, or a nice car. The overarching them of gratefulness, reminds us that through appreciating what we have, rather than focusing on what we do not or what we wish to change, we can truly be content and happy  in life.
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“This living hand now warm and capable” By John Keats

After reading this poem through once, I felt that it was unfinished, or perhaps there was more to be said. After doing some research on John Keats, I discovered, fittingly,  that the poet wrote this poem on a manuscript page of one of his unfinished poems. Regardless, this poem has so much meaning behind it that it is important to dissect it, line by line, to discover and elucidate its meaning.

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed – see here it is –
I hold it towards you.

This poem can be referred to as a memento mori. This is a latin theory that serves as a warning or reminder of death. Upon reading this poem, I felt that was actually one of the main messages that the poet was trying to deliver to the reader; that we are all mortal and are all destined to die. This message can even be interpreted from the first line of the poem alone. “This living hand, now warm and capable” tells the reader this hand that is now warm with the blood running through it and capable of touch, will one day be lifeless and cold, meaning that it will be dead. This mystery hand that we are introduced to is also capable “of earnest grasping” perhaps suggesting clinging to a loved one or even clinging/hanging on to his own life. After doing some research I believe that both suggestions are plausible. It seems as though the poet was sensing his impending death since he suffered with tuberculosis at the time and it seems as though John Keats was desperate to impart the urgency of action. However, it also seems as though the poet was yearning for someone to take advantage of his touch or else they be “haunted” with regret by not doing so after he had passed. The person he may have been yearning for to take his hand may have been Fanny Brawne, his lover at the time. This haunting hand seems to be the central image of this creepy poem.

The initial symbolism of the poem demonstrates to the reader that at the time, the poet has yet to go outside his comfort zone but soon he grasps out with this creepy hand of his, seemingly towards a lover, he immediately begins to fret over the “cold” or rejection. There are reoccurring references to warmth and cold throughout the poem. For example,  Keats discusses the icy silence of a tomb, which could possibly represent an awkward silence following a rejection while giving the reader the impression that he would die if his lover does not accept his hand, possibly a symbol of his love.

“So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights.” This line could be interpreted in several different ways. Focusing on the hand as a symbol of love, this line may suggest that John Keats, who according to history may have been dying at the time, is telling his lover that he will still watch over her and will visit her in her dreams. However, the words used in this line are quite eerie rather than comforting. This dreary image is overridden by the next line which states “That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood” This vivid imagery of red life portrayed by blood streaming again ironically brings life to the poem back to the poem.

Keats uses incredible imagery throughout the poem that gives the poem its haunting power: “icy silence” seems to give off a cold chill through its delicate sibilance and assonance while the return of the unreal and abstract “dreaming” and bodily “stream” of “blood”  seen in the line “So in my veins red life might stream again,” gives off a feeling of warmth, This extended hand serves as a figure for both warm life and cold death, but above all for the understanding that the two are inextricable. To reach out and take that hand is not to embrace life or death, but to acknowledge both. Perhaps Keats is suggesting that if his lover accepts his love it will be a good or warm feeling, but if she rejects it, it will be cold and only continue to haunt her.

And thou be conscience-calmed – see here it is –I hold it towards you. These last two lines are very important to the overall message of the poem. Although there may be several interpretations to this poem, these last two lines reassure me of what the poet is trying to say. It seems that he is submitting his hand for either acceptance or rejection, offering his hand, possibly in marriage.

Another important aspect to note is that the last word in the poem “you” is not used throughout the rest of the poem. The poet continuously uses phrases such as “thy days,” “thy dreaming nights,” “thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood”, but never mentions the word you. His use of you  in the last line also reassures the fact that he is talking to his lover and asking her whether or not she will accept his hand.

The images of the poem convey the deeper meaning of a lover’s inner battle through simply the warmth, or coldness, of a hand. Without such imagery the poem would offer no deeper meaning and would not be thought provoking in the mildest sense. Although this is just my own opinion regarding the analysis of this poem, there could be several other interpretations, which demonstrates the beauty of poetry. No one really knows the true meaning behind the poem unless we ask Keats himself.  Who knows? Maybe his hands were just cold and he just wanted someone else to come help warm them up!

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“Those Winter Sundays” By Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden’s poem Those Winter Sundays is a very touching poem that many can find very relatable. This poem seems to be written as a tribute to his father, in which the speaker seems to recall certain memories from his childhood which remind him of all the sacrifices his father had made for him.One important thing to note is that the poem is written in past tense which exemplifies a regretful realization of blind ingratitude that seems to have dawned on the speaker. However, as he recalls these memories, his outlook on his father is belatedly warm and appreciative.This poem is very powerful with this double perspective – one of a young boy who took for granted all the self-sacrificing duties his  hard-working and undemonstrative father did for him and one of an older man, perhaps a father himself now, who now realizes that sacrifices his father made for him, out of love and compassion. Mingled with respectful memories of a father figure is the message of a certain ingratitude that commonly accompanies youth.

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with his cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking,
When the rooms were warm, he’d call
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

In line one, one three letter word, too, is full of meaning. When the author says that his father gets up on Sundays too, he implies that this man really never caught a break. Sundays are typically a day of rest and worship and yet, his father still got up early to  set about the tasks for the day and warm the house, making the rest of his family less uncomfortable than it had been for himself. This is the first example we say of the father putting his loved ones before himself.

In line two, the poet says that his father would put his clothes on in the blueblack cold. This allows the reader to feel a sense of pain for the father as blue and black are colors that symbolize bruises.However, in my opinion, this feeling of coldness that the poet seems to portray goes beyond the temperature in the room. I believe that this chill or coldness represents the ungrateful and oblivious attitude of the family members living in  the household who do not appreciate and realize all that their father is doing for them. As the father uses his “cracked hands” to make “banked fires blaze” the poet suggests that the father is trying to ameliorate, making a cold, gloomy house one that is warm and loving again even though “No one ever thanked him.”

In the second stanza, the words “cold, splintering, breaking” describes how the house is reacting to the fire set by the father. These words reinforce the image of the “blueblack cold” mentioned earlier as these play on words help poetry a climatic and compelling situation

As the poem continues, we see that the father calls out to the child to wake. But now not only is the child ungrateful for his father who only woke him up when the house warm, but he is also scared?  The  child feared the “chronic angers” of the house which imply the unhappiness and discomfort of the domestic situation in the house, and an emotional heat or chill that brings uneasiness. These “chronic angers” allow the reader to explore a new emotion in the poem. The word chronic means continuing and persistent which suggest that anger has been an on-going problem in the household. The poet even uses “that house” rather than saying my house/home. This possibly suggests that the child at the time may have chosen to dissociate himself from the house that may have held wrath and resentment, causing him endless pain. What this “fear” ultimately suggests is that there may be violence or abuse that may occur within this household. This vibe is also given by the author’s previous word choices such as “blueback” symbolizing bruising, and other violent words including cracked, blaze, splintering, breaking, and chronic.

The third stanza shows the child showing no emotion towards his father as he spoke “indifferently towards him” even though his father “had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.” The poet obviously now knows that his father loved him but at the time he may have been blinded by the violence and abuse in the household to ever realize his father’s unrequited love for him.

The last few lines of the poem are what truly show the author’s regret for not realizing all his father had done for him. The rhetorical question of “What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?” suggests that the poet did not truly realize the love his father had showed him. These last few lines give off an “if only” tone, which allows the reader to assume that the author may have lost his father, or he himself is a father now who may be feeling unappreciated. “What did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices” conveys mature realization of duties one performs willingly for their loved ones. The word “offices” sees to be used as an expression of functions dutifully performed without expectation of appreciation or thanks, like an adult in the workplace. As for “love’s austere,” this phrase describes the speaker’s mature realization that his father did not perform his loving duties with expectation of receiving gratitude.

This poem is a description of a father’s selfless love for his son who is young, oblivious, and apparently ungrateful to his way of showing love. This poem also depicts different ways that love can be expressed. The father in this poem may not have physically told his son he loved him but he showed him through his actions.  It is only after the son grows older that he is able to look back and realize how unappreciative he was of his father’s love. One amazing message that this poem sends it that love can be expressed in various ways and emphasizes the importance of showing appreciation for love received before its too late.FE4553FA-EB76-4324-904D-1EBCA65C906C

Robert Hayden reads Those Winter Sundays:

 

Pluviophile

Let your kindness be like the rain, that cares not about whom it falls upon.

Let your passion be like lightning, that shines brightly and strikes your inner fire.

Let your courage be like thunder, that roars even on your darkest days.

Let your soul step out into the spiritual weather.

Let it downpour on you in the short amount of time you have left in the storm.

Discover yourself, discover life, and don’t be afraid to get your feet wet.

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(Feel free to play this is the background!)

Fade Away.

How many scars did we justify because we loved the person holding the knife?

scars on your soul, scars on your skin

scars all over, mostly within.

How many scars did we justify because we loved the person holding the knife?

sadly, his knife could not kill me and it did not win.

but his goodbye is what ended me, and with it, all that I have ever been.

How many scars did we justify because we loved the person holding the knife?

Scars on your soul, scars on your skin.

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