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Poetry and the Self

A Personal Account on the Importance and Relationship of Poetry to Oneself Introduction Poetry is a beautiful way of letting the soul’s song come into the open. For centuries, both men and women have written poems that touch the soul, hearts, and minds of the people. However, poetry is not all about being pretty—there are also poems which have also sparked the intellect and provoked the minds of many. As such, poetry is able to rise above and is an irony, for it can be glorious in its simple innocence of stringed words. It can generate hate in the hearts of the people while at the same time make them fall in love.

It can also be a cause of such light-hearted happiness while at the same time causing a torrent of tears from the sadness of the mind’s eyes. Thus, it is not surprising why people from all walks of life have been able to love and hate different forms of poetry, for in many cases, it does two things in people—make them realize that the stringed words on paper are what they are feeling in the depths of their hearts and souls, and then, once they see the truth within themselves, they have to come to grips with the fact that they do not really like what they are seeing.

It is because of this that people keep reading them—torn between discovering a passage that casts some light into the soul and a passage which forces the truth into the soul. This paper will hopefully cast some light on how I interpret the poems contained herein and how I relate them to my experiences and to my life; or rather, how the poems have cast some light on my life and make me realize that I need interpretations about myself on my own. The Three Poems

The three poems discussed in this paper is very different from each other, and ironically, each poem is related to the different aspects of my life—myself as part of myself, myself as a part of a half, and myself as part of a whole. This may sound confusing, but hopefully, it can be cleared when I discuss the three poems—The Foot by Alice Jones (myself as part of myself), The Magic of Love by Helen Farries (myself as a part of a half) and finally, All-American Sestina by Florence Cassen Mayers (myself as part of a whole).

The first poem describes the foot of a person in a very scientific way; at the same time, it uses a poetic and flowery language. This is pretty unusual for a poem since a poem usually uses a flowy and flowery language full of metaphors and adjectives. Nevertheless, the Alice Jones’ work translates into a beautiful poem as it points out the “a plethora of hinges / all strung together by gliding / tendons, covered by the pearly / plantar fascia” (lines 5-8). The excessive use of complicated and unfamiliar terms that pertain to anatomy may look like it will hinder the reader from further understanding the poem.

Amazingly however, it does the opposite and instead uses a wonderful display of imagination and word-play while making the mind of the readers run with the image and feel of the foot. Even if the poem is in free-verse form, it still has a certain rhythm and music to it as one can imagine the gliding of the eyes from one area to the other as the words are played into the mind: “Here’s the body’s broadest tendon / anchors the heel’s fleshy base / the finely wrinkled skin stretches / forward across the capillaried arch / to the ball, a balance point” (11-15).

The second poem, The Magic of Love by Helen Farries, is more of the conventional love poems that touch the romantic, the giddy and the exhilarated. One of the usual subjects of poems is love, and the poem by Farries falls into this categorization. The poem, in a gist, is about the magical feeling of love and the things that love can do when one is feeling it.

Obviously, Farries is either delusional with the romanticism or has experienced the emotion firsthand for her to be able to describe such feeling in the most flowery use of words possible: “When love lights the way, there is joy in the day / And all troubles are lighter to bear” (lines 9-10). One of the apparent things in the poem is the sing-song rhythm which is usual in many traditional romantic poems and the rhyming scheme used in all the stanzas with each end of the line complementing the other line before it.

However, there was indeed a use of the mimicking of sounds even sacrificing the grammaticalness of the words: “May it never departs from your two loving hearts” (13). However, there is a sense of enthusiasm and optimism behind the poem even if the vocabulary extent of the poem was very limited and shallow. The third and last poem is the most fun to read. It even reminds of little children chanting while playing a game of some sort. All-American Sestina by Florence Cassen Mayers uses numbers from one to six in the poem and seems to contain a childish (or child-like) innocence on the rhythm of the poem.

However, the content itself is not so innocent as it alludes to the things which are common in the shores of America and even satirizes the things which Americans are using or considers normal: “three-star restaurant sixty / four-dollar question / one-night stand / two-pound lobster / five-star general” (lines 13-18). For the glamorous restaurant and the five-star general to be grouped in the same stanza as the one-night stand is an irony and a satire of the American society.

The poem just flows on with the relentless drilling of the numbers with no coherence and consistency at all. Poetry and the Self In many ways, the three poems made me think about my own life and the experiences that I have had on each aspect—my running, love, and the country. Running has been always important to me—it sort of liberates my soul and gives me a sense of freedom. Jones’ poem makes me realize the wonderful intricate details of the human’s foot. The most touching line in the poem is from lines 9-10: “humble surface / of our contact with earth.

” These lines have made me realize how we take our feet for granted when in reality, they are the only thing which connects us to the earth—to the physical dimension of this world—a contact point of one single solitary individual to the rest of the majestic world. The second poem on the magical feeling of love has made me think that there are still moments of optimism which a person feels with regard to this emotion. Because of love, everything is beautiful and good.

The third and last poem has made me contemplate on the country. There is a certain touch of innocence in all of us which has been glazed over by more complicated and complex things which we think are the most important—not even thinking about the “One nation, indivisible” (Mayers line 1). As an ending statement, poetry has indeed brightened the lives of people in so many ways. In my case, it has illuminated my thinking in many ways, but it has also made me contemplate on many things and caused a certain gloom to be cast on me.

Works Cited Farries, Helen. “The Magic of Love. ” Tara’s Fun Pages. n. d. 13 May 2009. <http://tarasfunpages. com/magic. html>. Jones, Alice. “The Foot. ” Georgetown University. 13 May 2009. <http://www9. georgetown. edu/faculty/wellberc /imh/unit2/unit2Sec1e. htm>. Mayers, Florence Cassen. “All-American Sestina. ” The Atlantic Monthly 278. 1 (1996): n. p. 13 May 2009. <http://www. theatlantic. com/unbound/poetry/antholog/mayers/sestina. htm>.

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