Showing 3311 - 3320 of 3362 annotations
Summary:The physician narrator is trying to elicit information from a female patient. The reader isn't sure what is wrong. The physician seems to suspect that she is having sexual/marital difficulties: she denies it. Wondering whether "I could slowly pan, with ophthalmoscope" the physician envisions uncovering the evidence of separate bedrooms in the patient's eyes. But all he has to go by is the body language of the woman, who sighs and twists her wedding ring "anti-clockwise"--as if her life were heading in the wrong direction.
Summary:This 16 line poem describes a nearly-blind woman sitting at a table at a party: "she seemed to hold her cup / a little differently . . . . " Afterward, she gets up slowly and follows the others "through many rooms (they talked and laughed)," but she moves far behind the others, "absorbed, like someone who will soon / have to sing before a large assembly . . . . "
Summary:Two persons are washing the body of a dead man. It becomes dark and they light the kitchen lamp. Because they don't know the man, they invent his story: "since they knew nothing about his life / they lied till they produced another one . . . . " When the body is finally washed, it "lay clean and naked there, and gave commands."
Summary:An old man speaks his anger, bitterness, and rage: "The tiger in the tiger pit / Is not more irritable than I." His "hissing over the arched tongue" is an experience "inaccessible by the young."
Summary:Three months after his son's death, the author is driving by "the storefront where we found his blue Toyota." He is simply doing errands, nothing special, but suddenly "the tears pour down / as I think how much he wanted to be a man . . . . "After the death, the author found his son's books, including "one stamped in gold but with all the pages blank."
Summary:This poem is narrated by a physician (probably a young resident) trying to keep Alabama alive ("my stern professor . . . frowns at my attempts to stoke the boiler in her chest.") But Alabama wants to die and whispers to him "Let me go." The physician-narrator, however, is completely committed to keeping her alive, slapping her and saying, "Dammit, Live!"
Summary:An adult tells a very simple story about her elderly grandparents. In the morning the speaker wakes the sleeping couple observing that Grandpa, who is ill and in pain, gains comfort from the old woman in bed beside him. In fact the grandmother IS medicine that "stops the pain" during the night, a medicine contained "in her unbraided hair." Grandma's act of crawling into bed with loosened hair sustains him; it is an act of compassion, of love and an oblique reference to conjugal union.
For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.
Summary:In this poem, a young woman with cerebral palsy must withstand the rude stares of children and the withdrawal of adults as they watch her walk to the beach. The narrator has never had a normal appearing body. She likens herself to objects in nature: mantises, crabs, coquinas. While these comparisons are not exactly flattering, they allow her to feel that she belongs in the world of nature. Only in the natural world are her jerky movements considered normal. Sitting on the beach she feels "inconsequential." Yet, the way her body is able to "stay the waves" and "more than stay-Resist," suggests that she is not inconsequential.
This is the story of a woodman who hates the sound of the nightingale. The song unites all the other creatures of the forest. The bird’s music "shook forth the dull oblivion / Out of their dreams; harmony became love / In every soul but one." Every soul except the woodman’s is united by the emotion evoked by the nightingale. The woodman spends his days chopping down trees, each of which contains the soul of a wood nymph and provides beauty and shelter to the world. The world is full, says Shelley, of people like the Woodman who "expel / Love’s gentle Dryads from the haunts of life, / And vex the nightingales in every dell."