Showing 221 - 230 of 729 Poetry annotations

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The spirit of St. Francis of Assisi presides over the garden in spring. Hyacinths bloom, and abandoned bird nests are tucked away in the nooks and crannies. Young couples embrace: "St. Francis forgive them / and all lovers / whoever they may be." The scene then fast forwards to summer, when the lovers find themselves bewildered and "incredulous / of their own cure / and half minded / to escape . . . "

The idyllic garden has turned menacing, yet St. Francis continues to have compassion for the lovers who "resemble children / roused from a long sleep." One lover stands up unafraid in the sunlight "as her heart / beats wildly / and her mind / drinks up / the full meaning / of it." [139 lines]

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

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

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem describes, satirically and in graphic detail, the sorry state of a man who, during an "emancipated evening" has fallen into a drunken stupor, been robbed, and left by the roadside, ignored by all who pass. Only at the end does the tone change as the narrator becomes the sole rescuer, "stagger[ing] . . . with terror through a million billion trillion stars."

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The Mastectomy Poems

Ostriker, Alicia Suskin

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

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poems (Sequence)

Summary:

This series of 12 related poems constitutes the final section of Ostriker’s collection, The Crack in Everything. In the first poem, the mammogram positive and her surgery scheduled, the poet crosses "The Bridge" to the hospital. In "The Gurney" she goes under. "Riddle: Post Op" begins: "A-tisket a-tasket / I’m out of my casket . . . . " The poet teases us by asking what the secret is "underneath my squares of gauze." The answer: "Guess what it is / It’s nothing."

Subsequent poems include a lament over "What Was Lost," "Wintering," "Healing," and an "Epilogue: Nevertheless." In the wonderful "Years of Girlhood (for My Students)," Ostriker begins: "All the years of girlhood we wait for them. / Impatient to catch up, to have the power / Inside our sweaters to replace our mother." But in the end, a year later, the poet is well again and tells her friends, "I’m fine, I say, I’m great, I’m clean. / The bookbag on my back, I have to run." ("Epilogue: Nevertheless").

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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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