Showing 1241 - 1250 of 1260 annotations tagged with the keyword "Death and Dying"

To Mary Shelley

Shelley, Percy Bysshe

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

There are two short poems by this name. Both are about Mary Shelley's reaction to the death of her son, William (see also To William Shelley in this database). Mary Shelley's depression is so intense that her husband feels as if she too has died. Her body is still there, but her real self has "gone down the dreary road / That leads to Sorrow's most obscure abode." Shelley knows he cannot follow her into depression for her own sake; he must be strong to pull her back.

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Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Summary:

Shelley angrily asks why some people chase after death or knowledge of it. To analyze the source of life or the conditions of its end is "vain" curiosity. Such knowledge has no benefit; it merely is a case of man trying to usurp the role of God.

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Up-Hill

Rossetti, Christina

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is up-hill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has a room for everyone.

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Father and Son

Kunitz, Stanley

Last Updated: Jul-11-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Through “suburbs and the falling light,” the poet follows his father, mile after mile, trying to reach “the secret master of my blood.” He tries to speak with his father, to tell him how things turned out--they lost the house, his daughter married, the poet “lived on a hill that had too many rooms . . . . ” Finally, at the water's edge, the poet cries out for his father to return; he implores him not to jump into the water. The father turns his head and reveals “The white ignorant hollow of his face.”

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First Coffin Poem

Ignatow, David

Last Updated: Jul-11-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poet expresses his love for his own coffin. In fact, he is already in the coffin. He urges the reader to see his coffin as a bench for his friends to sit on, or as a coffee table. Though it would be “so much simpler, less gruesome / to use an actual coffee table . . . or a real bench,” that would show us to be rigid: “We must make one thing / do for another.” He urges the reader to use his “pine box,” to take it home, to make it a “conversation piece.”

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Viewing the Body

Snodgrass, W.

Last Updated: Jul-11-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A big, splashy wake. The corpse is decked out in lipstick and fancy dress. In life, however, she "Was scarcely looked at, much less / Wanted or talked about . . . . " She lived her life unwanted and in isolation, but in death she achieves "a place of honor," in which everyone looks at her, at least until the casket closes and "the obscene red folds / of satin" embrace her.

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The Hospital Window

Dickey, James

Last Updated: Jun-24-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator descends from the hospital room where his father lies dying. As he leaves the hospital and crosses the street, he scans the tiers of hospital windows. He imagines "dozens of pale hands . . . waving," but he knows that his father is behind one pane, which is "the bright, erased blankness of nothing." He suddenly has a revelation that he and his father truly recognize one another, that neither is afraid for the other. He carries this vision away in "amazement."

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A Day in the Death

Williams, Miller

Last Updated: Feb-22-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A man lies dying in his hospital bed, "amazed how hard it is to die" and how long it takes. A nurse looks in, he tries to sleep, he smells "the cheap / perfume Death wears." He wants to die, but "Something's stuck." He almost asked a counsellor to "Give me a shove." He is afraid that when the sun rises again, he will still be there, alive, in "that shrinking bed . . . another day."

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A Flat One

Snodgrass, W.

Last Updated: Feb-22-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Snodgrass writes about an old veteran who took seven months to die. The voice in the poem is that of a hospital attendant who provided some of the tedious, technical care that kept Old Fritz alive all that time. Though Old Fritz's "animal" may have "grown / sick of the world," his "mind ground on its separate / way, merciless and blind." He endured, he kept on living. Old Fritz raged against death, although he also "whimpered" and cried "like a whipped child . . . . "

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

I have never written against the dead, says the narrator, but in this instance, the death of her grandfather, she must. Why? Because, ominously, "he taught my father/ how to do what he did to me." The poem moves from a startlingly literal image of nursing the nameless dead, to the pocketwatch which was sent as a memento after this particular death, to specific personal memories of mistreatment at the hands of the grandfather. The narrator cannot regret this death.

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