Showing 211 - 220 of 717 Poetry annotations

Malade

Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert)

Last Updated: Aug-31-2006
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The speaker looks around his sick room. "The tassel of a blind swings constantly." He identifies the room with "the hollow rind of a fruit," where a spider with its legs folded "lies on the dust." In fact, he is the spider.

And what is there outside the window? Only a gray cave "with great spider-cloths hanging / low from the roof." The people he can see are nothing but "spiders with white faces" scuttling around the cave. "Ah, but I am ill, and it is still raining, coldly raining!" [13 lines]

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Medicine Stone

Coulehan, Jack

Last Updated: Aug-31-2006
Annotated by:
Davis, Cortney

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Collection (Poems)

Summary:

Jack Coulehan’s fourth poetry collection brings together new and previously published poems in a well-organized and handsome volume. As a reader who has long followed this author’s career, I found some of my favorite poems here (Irene, "Lima Beans," "For Oysters Only," "Six Prescriptions," "Sir William Osler Remembers His Call on Walt Whitman," "Cholera," and Medicine Stone) as well as compelling newer work: "The Shoe," "Work Rounds: On Lines by Tomas Transtromer," "Definitions," and "Decatur in Winter."

The collection is divided into three sections: the first presents poems about "doctoring" and, a Coulehan trademark, poems from a patient’s point of view; the second is a remarkable assembly of Coulehan’s poetic commentaries on Chekhov’s life and writing; the third features poems about a variety of personal relationships.

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Letter to a Wound

Auden, W.

Last Updated: Aug-30-2006
Annotated by:
Stanford, Ann Folwell

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Although the title suggests a letter, this prose poem is written more as a dramatic monologue. The speaker speaks to his wound ("my dear") as though it were a jealous lover. Written some 18 months after a diagnosis (which is left unclear), the poem allows the speaker to think back over the time, reflecting on "what a great change has come over us recently", meaning a new kind of maturity, of empathy, brought about by the speaker’s suffering. The "letter" ends with the speaker’s remark to his wound: "The surgeon was dead right. Nothing will ever part us. Good-night and God bless you, my dear. / Better burn this."

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem captures the last thoughts and sensations of a person on her death bed. Surrounded by mourners who are bracing themselves for her death, the narrator’s focus as she dies is on the most mundane of living creatures: a buzzing fly. The final ebb of consciousness is depicted as a loss of light and sight: "And then the Windows failed--and then / I could not see to see--."

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Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator describes the disorientation felt as she attempted unsuccessfully to organize her thoughts. The "sequence [of thoughts] ravelled out of reach / Like balls upon a floor."

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Just lost when I was saved

Dickinson, Emily

Last Updated: Aug-29-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator, who has narrowly escaped death, feels as if there were "odd secrets . . . to tell" to the world of the living. She speculates about her next (and last) encounter with death, anticipating it with curiosity, and resigning herself to the "slow tramp [of] the centuries."

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In the Microscope

Holub, Miroslav

Last Updated: Aug-29-2006
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In this short poem (11 lines) the writer sees a whole world in the microscope: among the cells, a world of dreams and suffering, of courage and death.

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Isolation Ward

Foerster, Richard

Last Updated: Aug-29-2006
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator carries hothouse orchids as a gift to a friend in the hospital. When he gets there, he feels out of place, not having expected "barricades / against infection, the doors’ / pneumatic psshh . . . . " He regrets that his gift flowers are tame, when "the room / cried out for wildness." The place is sleek, efficient, and antiseptic. His friend--who is not described in the poem--"would never rise / from the motored bed." Who could blame the narrator for looking away? Or for wishing that he could have brought a gift of wilder, more glorious flowers? (40 lines).

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Annotated by:
Woodcock, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An epigraph preceding this 28-line poem, apparently from notes by the physician-writer’s physician-father, sets the action of the poem in Wales in 1938. In the operating room, the surgeon attempts to locate the brain tumor of a patient who was under only local anesthesia because of his blood pressure. In those days in that place, finding the tumor was a "somewhat hit and miss" procedure that seems to have involved looking for it with one’s fingers.

A grotesque image, but all goes well until the patient, in a "gramophone" or "ventriloquist" voice not his own, cries out, "Leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone!" The doctor withdraws from the brain, but the patient then dies, after which the mood in the operating room is shocked and speechless, as "silence matched the silence under snow."

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Into the No Zone

Metcalf, Tim

Last Updated: Aug-29-2006
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Collection (Poems)

Summary:

Metcalf explores relationships between the worlds of science and experience in the three parts of this collection: devolve, involute, and evolutional. He makes it clear at the beginning: "the radiant truth is not alive / it is a sin to call consciousness dead" (10). At the same time, though, "Nobody needs YOU. Complete this form" (14). If consciousness devolves on matter, then the soul--where presumably consciousness used to live before it devolved--may be permitted to involute without consequence. "Yes, yes, / the dawn," our Bard writes, "it is beautiful. I try to miss it" (25). "Never mind who my parents were. / They dropped me off down here / on their way to somewhere else." ("Stork’s Kid," 41)

The final section, "Evolutional," suggests the direction in which our species might be moving: "Maybe I can live to one hundred and eight . . . by transplantation." ("Last to Go," 49) Perhaps the poet has already found his niche in this process, "It took me many years to find a market--niche / in speculative contemporary Australian social evolution . . . " (67) And yet, beneath all this (or above it), the poet comments, "I promised myself to speak in love only . . . You push me / for that poem I have not written yet." ("Our Poem," 43)

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