Showing 201 - 210 of 483 annotations in the genre "Poem"

The Bean Eaters

Brooks, Gwendolyn

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem recounts how an elderly couple maintain their existence. Although they "eat beans mostly" and "dinner is a casual affair," dining is accompanied by rich and flavorful memories of the past.

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What the Doctor Said

Carver, Raymond

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry — Secondary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Words rushing forth in a punctuationless stream, a patient describes how his doctor gives him the bad news of advanced lung cancer, and his reaction to it. There is an almost comical aspect as the doctor struggles to be both factual and sympathetic, and the patient struggles to absorb what he is being told. The doctor asks if the patient is able to find comfort and "understanding" from religion (since, apparently, he is unable to provide them). This triggers a brief poetic flight of fancy in the patient, but then he departs in a state of dazed politeness.

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What the Doctor Said

Carver, Raymond

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Terry, James

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry — Secondary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator recounts the interview with his physician during which he learned the bad news about his lung cancer--although the word "cancer" is never mentioned. But the interview is marked throughout by signs of imperfect communication. At several points, the physician's grave remarks are matched by diffident, sometimes humorous responses.

For example, when asked if he is a religious man or a communer with nature, the narrator responds "I said not yet but I intend to start today." The culminating account of miscommunication is near the end: "he said something else / I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do / and not wanting him to have to repeat it / and me to have to fully digest it / I just looked at him." The final line clinches the oddly blurred nature of the whole exchange: "I may even have thanked him habit being so strong."

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The Cancer Match

Dickey, James

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator is a patient with advanced cancer who has come home from the hospital after being told that "medicine has no hope." Yet, for one night, he strives to overcome his cancer with drink, his "Basic Life Force," and hope.

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Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a description of the last moments of the narrator's ailing grandmother. She is "wrinkled and nearly blind," and protests cantankerously as the ambulance speeds her towards the hospital. However, in a sudden change of character, her last words express how tired she is of looking at the passing trees; her loss of interest in the view parallels her loss of interest in life.

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Talking to Grief

Levertov, Denise

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Grief is addressed as a dog who makes the transition from homelessness to acceptance as an integral part of the household. Told in the first person, the poem expresses the narrator's recognition that grief should not be slighted from "the back door," but must be trusted, "coax[ed] . . . into the house," and fully integrated with the self "before winter comes."

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What Hell Is

McHugh, Heather

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A man suffers from a disease that "came / from love, or some / such place" (AIDS?). He has come home to his father's house to die. He grows thin, his sores will not heal, family and friends grow distant. While in the kitchen family members discuss how much the illness affects them, the sick man himself is already in hell, "which is / the living room . . . . "

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One More Time

Goedicke, Patricia

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A short poem in which the speaker enters the X-ray room, braces herself against the cold, lies "suspended in icy silence." She looks at herself from a distance, feeling free, "Even though I'm not, now / Or ever . . . . " She feels the "metal teeth of death bite" but they reject her "One more time" and she returns to the everyday reality of being a sick person lying in a cold X-ray room.

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My Death

Carver, Raymond

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This splendid poem describes the writer's image of his own death in a very matter-of-fact and conversational style. If he's lucky, he tells us, he'll die in the hospital, surrounded by machines and loved ones. His friends will be there to give him support; he'll be able to tell them how much he loves them. If he's unlucky, however, "as I deserve," he'll just drop dead and not have a chance to say farewell properly. But, whatever happens, he just wants to say "I was happy when I was here . . . . "

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Washing Your Feet

Ciardi, John

Last Updated: Mar-05-2002
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

From the mundane to the profound, from the body as physical preoccupation to the body as sacred, the poet explores in 21 highly personalized lines the significance and symbolism of the human body. Washing your feet without giving it a thought means you are in good health; struggling to do it because of overweight is a reminder of mortality. This (any) physical act "should be ritual . . . memorial, meditative, immortal." It conjures up an image of the Degas ballet dancers washing their feet, and then, remarkably, that " . . . they also seemed to be washing God’s feet."

But the creative power of Degas is yet another reminder of the author’s limitations. He is vulnerable, mortal and not creative enough to gain immortality by producing a masterpiece: "It is sad to be naked and to lack talent."

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