Showing 1 - 4 of 4 annotations associated with Van Duyn, Mona
- Aull, Felice
Summary:A witty and wildly imaginative evocation of a female patient’s encounter with a male physician. The poem is full of the counterplay of eroticism and sterile technology, of the body as love object and object of diagnosis, of the doctor’s cool clinicality and the patient’s desperate neediness. To her, the doctor is an "abstracted lover" for whom she willingly lies down "while he unfolds / her disease . . . ." Orgasmically, "he warms / to his consummation" which is for him "a most enjoyable diagnosis." He is finished with her but she feels cheated--he hasn’t grasped her essence. "Don’t leave me! Learn me!" " . . . taste my living texture. / Sweat to hunt me with love, and burn with me."
- Coulehan, Jack
This poem consists of six "letters" in verse from an aged, chronically ill father to his daughter. In the first he presents in excruciating detail the sorry state of his body, and also Mother, "who falls and forgets her salve / and her tranquilizers, her ankles swell so and her bowels / are so bad . . . " Things are so bad that he has "made my peace because am just plain done for . . . " At the end he mentions the fact that, though the daughter enjoys her bird feeder, he doesn't see the point; "I'd buy / poison and get rid of their diseases and turds."
In the second letter, written after the daughter visited and gave them a bird feeder, he says that Mother likes to sit and watch the birds. In the next one, he talks about how much the birds eat and fight. As the letters progress, they include less and less about the parents' pain and disability, and more and more convey curiosity and, eventually, enthusiasm for bird watching.
By letter #5 the father ticks off the names of numerous species he has observed, and at the end casually mentions, "I pulled my own tooth, it didn't bleed at all." Finally, "It's sure a surprise how well mother is doing, / she forgets her laxative but bowels move fine." He ends by describing his plans for buying birdseed for the next winter. [112 lines]
Summary:A patient suffers a mysterious eye ailment that baffles the doctors. Yet suddenly, the affliction resolves, and the patient describes the simple joys of tears and what they symbolize. The mood is shattered as the patient discovers that despite all the "mercy' that tears bring, they can also be deadly, as an "AIDS-related virus" is discovered in tears.
Summary:The poem begins by describing how the "uncaring earth" can destroy millions of organisms "en masse" (i.e., grasses, bacilli). The author applies this analogy to humans: how easy it is to perceive that "the more lost, the less each is worth." The author then argues the value of each individual, and how irreplaceable one is, ending with another analogy: as minute details in nature are appreciated, so should individual lives be valued.