Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Poem by Hannah Abelein

Thanksgiving is a time of joy
Filled with laughter, love, and food.
So much time spent in the kitchen,
So many things to do
For one massive meal
Spent with loved ones and family.
Alas! I arrive late once again,
Thank goodness my family loves me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy

I was actually surprised by how easily I understood, and related to, this poem. Probably because of how explicit Ms. Piercy was about the whole suppression theme. Basically her whole poem boils down to this: the little bonsai tree would have had enormous potential to become a strong and thriving organism, but the gardener, thinking he was making it into what it was naturally meant to be, prunes it and keeps it small in an attractive little pot, telling it how lucky it should feel to be given so many good advantages. The poem finishes, very cleverly and accurately, saying that “with living creatures one must begin very early to dwarf their growth.” Otherwise, they would just get too powerful and out of hand, right? But my favorite part of this poem was the title, “A Work of Artifice.” It fit so perfectly as a description of the gardener’s efforts: a work of deception using cleverness or subtlety. Perfect.

Now obviously Piercy did not get this upset about a literal bonsai tree, although it is a very good analogy. It was describing women’s rights, which, until very recently, were treated exactly like that little bonsai tree. Women were expected to be “domestic and weak.” They were meant to fit into the perfect, loyal housewife stereotype, and shame on any woman who tried to become more than that. I don’t blame Piercy for creating such a sarcastic and pointed statement, though. I think it is clever and a good indication of the strong-willed woman’s side of the old story.

I have to say that even I get a little upset when I have to think about the misogynistic beliefs some people used to, and still, have. Actually, I get really upset. I hate it when people discount a woman just for being a woman, especially when there are plenty of men out there who are not useful in any way and are less than intelligent. I also hate when there are women that are classified as feminist for ANY defenses or pro-women statements they make, but men are never classified as masculinist (and it IS a word, even if Word tells me it’s not) even when some of them are brave enough to say EVERY DAY that they are better than women. I live to prove those kinds of people wrong. Sorry for being born with the wrong set of chromosomes! Not. Anyways, I am done with my rant. This poem just brought the whole idea up for me again. And Piercy pretty much said it in the perfect words, so I am glad I chose to read this poem…and get my diatribe out there, even if it’s not going anywhere.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Possibility by James Fenton

Everything about Fenton's poem seemed downhearted and hopeless. Everything he described, everything that should have been good, was somehow sapped of its' beauty and worth to Fenton. I felt sorry for him: how would it feel to go through life unable to appreciate the beauty surrounding you, even in the tiniest things or instances? How depressing would it be to know that something should look beautiful or make you happy, but to never have the ability to feel good about it? Everything would be meaningless: if nothing could make you happy, if there was no "possibility of good," what would motivate you to keep going every single day?

"And solitude was beautiful when I was sure that I was strong. I thought it was a medium in which to grow, but I was wrong." Fenton seems to think that, at a time when he was stronger, solitude was a good thing that would help him to "grow" and become a better person. However, it appears that the solitude merely sucked the goodness out of everything he saw. That the way he saw the world was tainted, that when he should see something beautiful, he saw only the bad in it.

"The jays are swearing in the wood. The lizard moves with ugly speed. The flower closes like a fist. The possibility recedes." In the last stanza, Fenton describes things that used to be good but have turned bad in his eyes, thus ruining any chance for him to regain any "possibility of good." And I have to say, I kind of disliked this extreme, disheartening tone. I was also pretty disappointed with the unfinished end to Fenton's idea: he says that because of his solitude, "the possibility recedes," and then he kind of leaves us hanging there. It left me with a hopeless and empty feeling, like whatever had happened to Fenton in his solitude to cause this depressing state would never be remedied, which seems rather contrary to what i thought the title initially suggested. In retrospect, I just wish that Fenton could have kept this all to himself so that I wouldn't have to try and analyze his depressing and futile thought processes, or at least that he would not have tried to mislead me with a hopeful sounding title.