Original Poem - de Puerto Trakl
My Translation Work
Meta Cognitive Piece
Sunday, December 19, 2010
AP English Lit
December 20, 2010
I The People – Explication
When people feel like being cryptic and pretentious, they write poetry. When people feel like writing in a way where nearly no rules or limits apply, they write poetry. When people feel like creating a mash-up of words and letters and attempt to pass it off as literature, they write poetry. When people want to write something that frustrates others, and only gains merit through its bewildering ability to dumbfound people into states of awe, they write poetry. Alice Notley writes poetry. Her poem “I The People” is an incoherent mess of nonsense and the confusion it bestows apparently tries to pass on some apparition of a message concerning human behavioral patterns. [
yes I’m mad]
Her first line is the same as the title. It begins, “I the people”. What
the hell does that mean? In a literal sense it appears she, or the narrator, is trying to bind the conscience of the entire human race into her own being, essentially saying that she is the sole representative of human thought. The narrator is the sole representative of human thought and existence. Okay. The next line makes some kind of reference to the future, stating “to the things that are were and come to be”. It is likely that she is implying that the human conscience or state of mind will continue to be as it is for a long period of time to come. Her next line concerning becoming what we once knew through making love seems to imply that humans return to their natural instincts when consummating their love. But this is the only time when humans return to instincts. It seems the narrator believes that human behavior at all other times aside from this defy instinct and go on another, more artificial path. The fact that she indents nearly every other line may allude to the intangible gap between ancient instinct and modern behavior.
After a bunch of gibberish concerning flow gold, silver, and various other liquids, she repeats the line about “things that are were and come to be”. But now she emphasizes the human discovery of numbers, and how this discovery led us to become “masters” of hearing and saying. Perhaps she is alluding to the fact that the human discovery of knowledge, and our subsequent intellectual evolution, threw a major dent into the instinctual engine of humanity. Rather than relying on instinct all the time, we gained the means to think independently and solve problems using out of the box solutions with science. The narrator continues to emphasize the contrast between instinct and today’s behavior by bringing up mention of a cold and lifeless wedding. She alludes to how only in love do the instincts return, and even then only for the biological purpose of reproduction and the continuation of our species. She ends saying that “I the people am still parted in two and would cry”, referring to how the human psyche is divided between instinct and modern logical and scientific patterns – an event she apparently interprets to be tragic.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
AP English Lit
December 13, 2010
Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow – Explication
As one sleeps, the human conscience guides the mind into another dimension entirely. The realm of dreams is a playground for the brain and a portal into the turmoil of one’s inner self. In Robert Duncan’s poem “Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow”, the narrator unveils his ideal of happiness through the symbolic apparitions of an idyllic dream.
To begin, the narrator clarifies that the poem’s setting is indeed a dream – or at the very least it is not set in reality. It is a “made-up scene by the mind” and “so near to the heart”. The narrator brings up a contradiction when he mentions in one line when he mentions that the scene is “not [his]”, yet immediately turns around to overthrow that statement and say the “place” is [his]. Therefore the author recognizes that the dream is merely an illusion of the mind, but the illusion is so reminiscent of a real place that he can barely tell reality and illusion apart. Such is the strength of the mind of man, the strength capable of bestowing a glimpse of happiness in the off hours of one’s time of sleep. The narrator solidifies the setting of the poem with the statement that the place is “created by light, wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall”. Implied here is that the place in the dream is one of holiness, where bright clouds reign above to form soft shadows below – a heaven and paradise.
With setting established, the narrator proceeds to highlight the true reason as to why the place in his dream is the ideal of happiness. A paradise on its own is wholly capable of making one happy. A paradise represents comfort, stability, and security. But for many men, and evidently the author, that is not enough. The other half of happiness is represented in the dream by the “Queen Under the Hill”. She represents happiness in the form of companionship, a vital component of human life. The driving force that compels humans to communicate with one another is loneliness. A person alone cannot reasonably be happy. But with at least one other individual in one’s life, to share all matters of life ranging from problems, solutions, and even each other’s happiness, one can be perfectly happy. For just one other person to exist in the narrator’s paradise implies she is the one with whom he achieves, and shares, happiness.
And yet, dreams are not limited to displaying a mirror of one’s image of happiness. For the narrator, his paradise is not completely heavenly. It is also an image of the monotony of marriage. It is a place of “first permission, everlasting omen of what is.” And so, the dream is the narrator reliving the first days of his marriage, when happiness was at its peak. But in reality, as the years settled in, so did a life of monotony and restraint, a “secret we see in a children’s game of ring a round of roses told.” The game of ring a around the roses is played in a circular motion, representative of the life of a married man. With only one woman, and only one life to live, life is naught but a circle of repeated motions. The cementing of this harsh reality compels the narrator to escape the circle at nights by dreaming of a time when the circle just first began – the time where he was most happy.