Showing 2811 - 2820 of 2826 Literature annotations
A powerful lament over a father’s wasted life, and the "purgatory" of living in a household dominated by alcoholism and marital discord. Strong and graphic language weaves a complex web of conflicting emotions: hatred and self-hatred, scorn and pity, condemnation and forgiveness.
The poet tells of having suffered two great losses--losses so monumental that they are comparable to death. She wonders if another such devastating event awaits her in the future.
In the first stanza the speaker describes his experiences cleaning the autopsy room at night. Sometimes they left corpses or parts of corpses out on the table. Once they even left a woman's leg (he'd "seen them before").
At home, though, the speaker was so distracted by these experiences that he'd sit with his eyes closed, or stare at the ceiling, rather than interacting with his wife. He was distant and cold; she tried to warm him. His "fingers strayed to her leg. / Which was warm and shapely . . . . " But what about the woman's leg on the autopsy table? He ends with the paradox, "Nothing / was happening. Everything was happening." Life and death, beginning and end, warmth and coldness, closeness and distance, feeling and the denial of feeling: all are part of the whole.
Summary:In this avuncular poem the "recently alive" do their thing--lie "spread and silent / on the dented sink"--while the "aproned doctors" do their thing--"cut and weigh, / measuring / the diagnosis." The poem models the distance that sometimes develops between doctors and their feelings; the doctors insulate themselves from feelings. Contrast this with the protagonist of Carver's poem, The Autopsy Room (see this database; also annotated by Felice Aull).
Summary:The author will not open Gray's Anatomy again. Why? Because he sees in its plates of various organs mundane images, rather than the personal knowledge he imagined. He had "hoped someday to own" himself, but he finds that his "geography" is composed of others' names and others' history. The author is not there. You can't discover who you are by learning the parts you're made of. Or can you?
Summary:An elderly, demented Dr. Cahn ("his mind had slipped its moorings years ago") is taken by his son to the hospital to visit Dr. Cahn's wife who is dying of cancer. They hold hands. She is touched and pleased that he has come, but sad at his inattention as his mind wanders. In the taxi on the way home, Dr. Cahn asks, "Are we home?"
Summary:The narrator describes the stages undergone by a person who has experienced great pain and suffering: numbness, loss of the sense of time, the great weight of depression, and finally a poetic comparison to the experience of freezing to death: "First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--."
Summary:A biologist stays up late into the night studying specimens under a microscope. As he studies, he imagines in the cells' beauty, wondrous mechanisms, and even compares cell division to the agony of birth. When he finishes his work, he encounters his wife and baby "waiting up for [him]" and expresses the same scientific appreciation for these human relationships.
Summary:The narrator is a physician who has just saved an elderly woman from a "natural death" only to lead her to an "ungraceful one" as her life is maintained and monitored by machines. Images of a distant farm are conjured as the doctor wishes instead for his patient's spirit to rest peacefully at home.
Summary:A physician caring for a failing patient feels that he can do no more for him than "check / Your tubes, feel your pulse, listen / to your heartbeat." He wishes a swift deliverance for this patient, and would like lovingly to transform him into a compilation of facts within a medical chart: "Let me lift you in my arms / And lay you down / In the cradle of a clean manila folder."