Showing 3371 - 3380 of 3399 annotations
Summary:The poet expresses his love for his own coffin. In fact, he is already in the coffin. He urges the reader to see his coffin as a bench for his friends to sit on, or as a coffee table. Though it would be “so much simpler, less gruesome / to use an actual coffee table . . . or a real bench,” that would show us to be rigid: “We must make one thing / do for another.” He urges the reader to use his “pine box,” to take it home, to make it a “conversation piece.”
Summary:A big, splashy wake. The corpse is decked out in lipstick and fancy dress. In life, however, she "Was scarcely looked at, much less / Wanted or talked about . . . . " She lived her life unwanted and in isolation, but in death she achieves "a place of honor," in which everyone looks at her, at least until the casket closes and "the obscene red folds / of satin" embrace her.
Summary:At the bomb testing site, a lizard waits. It is expecting something, awaiting "something farther off / than people could see . . . . " The lizard grips the earth, "its elbows tense . . . ready for a change."
Summary:This is a powerful poem about the "ugly, grunting . . . disgusting creatures" the poet sees through his microscope. We know the creatures are dead, we know the creatures are sliced, we know they’re splayed on the pathologist’s slides. Are they microbes? Are they "bits of animals"? Are they cancer cells? No one asks "whether these creatures wouldn’t have preferred" to live "their disgusting life / in bogs / and canals" or to eat one another. No one asks any questions, "because it’s all quite useless . . . like everything else in this world," a world in which the poet meets "a lonely girl," a general, a rat, even "my own self at every step."
Summary:The narrator descends from the hospital room where his father lies dying. As he leaves the hospital and crosses the street, he scans the tiers of hospital windows. He imagines "dozens of pale hands . . . waving," but he knows that his father is behind one pane, which is "the bright, erased blankness of nothing." He suddenly has a revelation that he and his father truly recognize one another, that neither is afraid for the other. He carries this vision away in "amazement."
Summary:In this essay on the spirit and the sacred, Rushdie examines the importance of language and literature in a secular, rationalist, materialist culture. He makes a case for literature as a privileged arena so that we can, "within the secrecy of our own heads . . . hear voices talking about everything in every possible way."
Summary:In the future envisioned in the novel, many children are born with severe physical handicaps, the result of toxic environmental conditions. Their brains, however, are perfectly healthy. Scientists place the infants' stunted bodies in mechanical shells, then train them to perform complex technical tasks. At adolescence, their brains are removed from their bodies and placed in machines. Their machines are their bodies, over which they have complete control. The Ship Who Sang is the story of one of these children who is placed inside the hull of a space ship. She falls in love with one of the fleshly men who board her. The resulting trauma is resolved when it is decided that they will be partnered forever.
Summary:A man lies dying in his hospital bed, "amazed how hard it is to die" and how long it takes. A nurse looks in, he tries to sleep, he smells "the cheap / perfume Death wears." He wants to die, but "Something's stuck." He almost asked a counsellor to "Give me a shove." He is afraid that when the sun rises again, he will still be there, alive, in "that shrinking bed . . . another day."
Summary:Snodgrass writes about an old veteran who took seven months to die. The voice in the poem is that of a hospital attendant who provided some of the tedious, technical care that kept Old Fritz alive all that time. Though Old Fritz's "animal" may have "grown / sick of the world," his "mind ground on its separate / way, merciless and blind." He endured, he kept on living. Old Fritz raged against death, although he also "whimpered" and cried "like a whipped child . . . . "
Summary:I have never written against the dead, says the narrator, but in this instance, the death of her grandfather, she must. Why? Because, ominously, "he taught my father/ how to do what he did to me." The poem moves from a startlingly literal image of nursing the nameless dead, to the pocketwatch which was sent as a memento after this particular death, to specific personal memories of mistreatment at the hands of the grandfather. The narrator cannot regret this death.