30 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
    1. Memory and desire

      Memory and desire seem sort of juxtaposed in this sequence. Everything else in this stanza is pretty abstract and or a very concise image, but these two generalizations might be hints into how to interpret the abstract language and images of the poem. These could represent a glimmer of the speaker giving a clue to the reader in sort of a telling rather than showing way, to ground rest of lines around these generalizations. Memory and desire also may be related in terms of syntax because they’re both very general words placed very closely to each other and this might also show these being somehow intertwined within the conflict or as possible themes of the poem. Also these two words come directly after the verb mixing which could be interpreted as desire arising out of memories or vice versa.

    2. limp leaves

    3. The sea was calm

    4. Prison and palace and reverberation Of thunder of spring over distant mountains

      These two lines seem to be equating the theme of weather and seasons with another theme of isolation or of being trapped in those seasons. The lines right after this also would seem to infer some type of cycle of life that also speaks to the word “reverberation” in this line. These cycles return throughout the piece shedding light on how to interpret the seasons possibly.

    5. Gentile or Jew

      this line could be referencing these two groups to give a unifying or universal sense of community. Perhaps a sort of collective or mutual bond between the two because of the drastic “whirlpool” referenced just before this line relating or joining people across boundaries.

    6. Departed, have left no addresses.

      The term departed here along with no addresses could hint at a theme of isolation or displacement. These themes also would tie into the title being some type of wasteland or societal outcasts tying into there being no addresses listed. This lost or displaced feeling mirrors the poems amount “access” or maximalist diction. This poem evokes a sort of jumbled and dramatic tone; the beginning of this stanza also references a “rivers tent is broken” showing images and ideas of a sort of native or natural home being broken or associated with a fleeting sense of protection or shelter.


      This phrase is obviously repeated a lot throughout this section, and it has different kind of connotations each time it’s said. Using this phrase in all caps also draws visual attention to it and really grabs the reader, which could make it somewhat of a theme or motif throughout this section. The phrase gives this sense of desperation and heightens the stakes making it a very dramatic association in the readers head, especially being repeated this many times and then once again one right after the other. It also serves to give a rhythm to the piece and this anticipation or building by repeating the phrase. At the end it could be repeated so closely to show a type of dense desperation or more tense.

  2. Sep 2016
    1. That

      This poem is obviously very abstract and jumpy. The term “that is a word” seems to comment on meaning itself or the associations that the reader has as being trivial and leans the line toward an essential tone. Does this reflect the abstractness of the poem: somewhat critiquing trying to make sense of the poem?

    2. Begging

      The word begging repeated in this line gives a very heavy feeling of desperation, similar to the tone of the poem as a whole being somewhat elusive. This poem seems to be very rapid, is the word “begging,” referring to wanting to be able to state something or struggling to deal with or put something into words?

    3. Next

      All of these choppy lines are very scattered and jump from place to place, but here the anaphora starting with “next to” weaves back and forth. This associates all these lines that something is next to sort of seem like the speaker is dodging the actual object they’re talking about. Is this to mirror the way the poem dodges to be straight forward?

    1. armed.

      The term “armed” here is interesting because it has the double meaning of both holding the brick with savage like arms and also armed has an association with weapons and guns, i.e. the right to bear arms in the constitution. This connotation reveals a sort of tension between the speaker and the neighbor and their miscommunications and the neighbor only uttering his father’s saying about fences making good neighbors, invokes a sort of complex and negative dynamic between them. ‘Armed’ immediately following the word ‘savage’ show the packed tension in the speakers head and shed light on their relationship that throughout needs mending. ‘Armed’ here can refer to this sort of savage neighbor holding a brick creating a violent and or tense feeling.

    2. deep.

      The word deep here is sort of a surprising turn specifically because its referring to the woods, which seem to act as sort of a green world where the speaker escapes to. This escape seems to hint at death and the word deep seems to cause an ambiguous tone of curiousness or desire. Deep sort of characterizes the woods and adds a layer of roundness and connection with nature.

    3. diverged

      The word “diverged” here at the beginning of the poem set up a clear theme in this poem of picking between two different paths in the road, or obviously metaphorically in life. This word establishes a clear sense of these two different paths and directions that the speaker of this poem is presented with. Diverged also seems to hint at the tension in the speakers sort of conflicted situation where they assess each path and compare the two, seemingly summing up in the last stanza that of the two diverged paths, they chose the road less traveled. He also refers to not returning to this alternate path again and the word diverged sort of pushes the conflict and the sort of definitiveness of this decision.

    1. dry

      The word dry here is a very vivid detail and adjective for the noun pod that seems to evoke an image of being trapped or encompassed by a dry pod maybe as a symbol for modern poets and this sort of emergence away from dull forms that he later mentions such as rondeaus or ballads. This image made me think of the modernist movement because it was in the time period this poem was written and a lot of modern poets write about the process or history of poetry or sort of the guidelines or goals of modern poets.

    1. Old

      The word old being the very first word very purposefully sets up an important theme early that is mentioned throughout the rest of the poem dealing with the passage of time. This very quickly sets a tone for the poem and associates the protagonist as an older individual who later in the line we learn is very lonely. This loneliness old eben is having seems to be a direct reference to time because he seems to have outlived his time, which we learn later in this stanza by reference to no “natives near.” These to central themes seem to call up the passage of time as a possible cause of isolation.

    2. clerks

      The word clerks placed here as a metaphor for what poets and kings are in association to time This surprising line reveals a sort of repetition of recording or redundancy of life for both poets and kings and is an interesting turn especially when Robinson is often considered one of the first great American poets. The speaker of this poem seems to be returning somewhere “again” sort of implying this motif of time and its movement.

    1. There comes John, and I must put this away,—he hates to have me write a word.

      Reveals this piece as being a journal entry and also is a break in the action that works somewhat like the parentheses earlier on in the piece to directly converse with the reader.

    2. John is a physician, and PERHAPS—(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)—PERHAPS that is one reason I do not get well faster.

      This seems to be setting somewhat of a confessional tone early on in the piece. Especially the repetition of the name John as an anaphora to state his beliefs and practices, seeming very intimate. Also the parentheses where the speaker is directly talking to the reader and revealing their hidden secrets establishes a very close and personal voice like something in a diary would.

    1. Men call the shadow prejudice, and learnedly explain it as the natural defence of culture against barbarism, learning against ignorance, purity against crime, the “higher” against the “lower” races.

      This sections language really points to and confronts the ignorance from so long ago that is still present with us to this day. The reference to “higher and lower races” as well as “barbaric” really reminds me of European and Spanish colonization of the new world, which they deemed legal and noble because they had to “civilize” all non-Christians. Also the term leaning against ignorance shows the nature of this sort of twisted logic.

    2. forty years of renewal and development, and yet the swarthy spectre sits in its accustomed seat at the Nation’s feast. In vain do we cry to this our vastest social problem:—

      The language in this section really stuck out to me, for example “swarthy spectre” showing people with dark skin as a sort of ghostly or haunting entity by being placed into a racist society. As well as “the seat they were accustomed to,” I feel really transparently showed the conflict Du Bois feels being exposed and accustomed to racism and the powerlessness that accompanies being stranded in the margins of society. Also, “nations feast,” gave me an image of consumerism and gluttony of American society capitalizing on the oppression of the “other.”

    1. but he insisted on a relation of sequence, and if he could not reach it by one method, he would try as many methods as science knew

      Interesting idea of people’s relationship to science as somewhat submitted to science or reliant upon it to push life forward. This can be a dynamic of improvement and prosperity while also pushing too far into a manipulative or controlling force. This idea also connects a theme from earlier in the piece when it talks about life being “less impressive in its old-fashioned annual and daily revolution.”

    2. one began to pray to it; inherited instinct taught the natural expression of man before silent and infinite force

      Seems critical of religion or the process of it. Maybe a social critique of the tendency to conform to a certain to a religion or maybe, tying it back to They Feed They Lion, he is critiquing the logistics of labor systems and industry that become so heavily vested in.

    3. ingenious channel for conveying somewhere the heat latent in a few tons of poor coal hidden in a dirty engine-house carefully kept out of sight; but to Adams the dynamo became a symbol of infinity

      This seems reminiscent to They Feed They Lion in that it sort of mirrors images of industrialized labor, such as referencing coal and engines. Also the dynamo being referred to as a symbol of infinity also speaks to Levine's poem somewhat in its cycle of industry and what or how things change alongside technological advancement.

  3. Aug 2016
    1. From my five arms and all my hands,

      This is a great image that connects to other themes of labor and of being overworked.

    2. From “Bow Down” come “Rise Up,”

      Given the time period this revolt appearing could be referencing the civil rights movement and other social movements at the time.

    3. Earth is eating trees, fence posts, Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones

      This deepens and connects to other images of extraction.

    4. “Come home, Come home!” From pig balls, From the ferocity of pig driven to holiness

      This seems like an image of greed perhaps spurred by industrialization?

    5. Of industrial barns, out of rain, out of bus ride,

      The repetition of the phrase "Out of" blurs the terms meaning between what is being produced "out of" the various things he mentions and also seeing that term repeatedly brings up a sense of running out of something such as, methods of production pr transportation. This double meaning means both itself (what the anaphora brings up in that specific line) and the symbol of a society running out of something.

    6. From all my white sins forgiven, they feed,

      This reference at the end of the poem of "white sins" followed by "they feed" really create strong vivid focus really reinforcing other themes and images of greed and oppression throughout the poem.

    7. The repetition of the phrase "Out of" blurs the terms meaning between what is being produced "out of" the various things he mentions and also seeing that term repeatedly brings up a sense of running out of something such as, methods of production. This double meaning means both itself (what the anaphora brings up in that specific line) and the symbol it brings up of how a society at large stays a float through various forms of oppression and economic control.