Showing 1 - 4 of 4 annotations associated with Matthews, William
Matthews, WilliamLast Updated: Sep-06-2006
- Coulehan, Jack
This is a long (110 lines) narrative poem about the poet’s wife’s cancer, "large, rare and so anomalous / in its behavior that at first they mis- / diagnosed it." At first the poet personifies the cancer, then he demonizes the chemotherapy. He describes Tumor Hell and Tumor Hell Clinic, which "is, it turns out, a teaching hospital. / Every century or so, the way / we’d measure it, a chief doc brings a pack / of students round." Back on earth, his wife’s cancer is gone.
"This must be hell for you," some of his friends said. He reflects on the meaning of Sartre’s hell (created in Sartre’s own image) and Dante’s hell (created in his city’s image), and he considers the tumor’s name. He concludes that his wife should "think of its name and never / say it, as if it were the name of God."
Matthews, WilliamLast Updated: Mar-28-2001
- Aull, Felice
Summary:A wonderfully descriptive three-stanza poem about the icy perils of a winter walk, especially for "the claudicators, the lace- / boned, the seven-months-pregnant, and the lame." The poet juxtaposes the ludicrous (teetering, wobbling, toppling), with the serious, the "spry" with the infirm. One comfort in this situation is that it threatens everyone who ventures outdoors and there is a camaraderie and mutual empathy among those who are struggling to remain upright. [18 lines]
Matthews, WilliamLast Updated: Mar-27-2001
- Aull, Felice
This long (11 stanzas of ten lines each) poem takes us through the--at first faulty--cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery endured by the speaker's wife, and witnessed by the speaker. The poet personifies the tumor because to do otherwise would mean that he would "have to think of it as what, / in fact, it was: part of my lovely wife." The poison of chemotherapy that renders his wife "averse to it all" is contrasted with "perky visitors" and the flowers that they bring.
The poet imagines that the tumor of which his wife has been cured now resides in "Tumor Hell" where it lies "bleak and nubbled like a poorly / ironed truffle." The doctors who practice in teaching hospitals show the students how to deal with tumors: "batter it . . . strafe it . . . sprinkle it with rock salt and move on."
Now that his wife is better, the poet and his friends consider how he has fared. At first he was unable to concentrate, made lists, "wept, paced, / berated myself, drove to the hospital" and was "rancid with anger." Yes, it was awful, but he rejects pity--even self-pity. Only his wife has the right to give a name to the experience: "let her think of its name and never / say it, as if it were the name of God."
Matthews, WilliamLast Updated: Mar-18-1996
- Nixon, Lois LaCivita
Summary:The speaker in this poem provides a vivid portrayal of the recovery room experience from the perspective of an articulate patient. Where he had been warned about the room's brightness, he was unprepared for the keening woman in the adjacent bed and the "false and stark balm delivered to her crumpled ear" by the nurse. He and other "freshly filleted" and "drug-docile" visitors to this room wait in the anesthetized setting of otherness or in-between for release. The patient feels like a "diver serving time against the bends" or like one of eight piano keys parallely parked. While waiting for the return of sensation in his lower body, he imagines that he is like a "truculent champagne" loosening off "petulant bubbles," a few at a time.