Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Cat by Miroslav Holub

I actually really enjoyed this poem when we discussed it in class. The ideas we talked about were great, but I feel like I want to elaborate on some of the creative techniques that were used.

There were a few key things that I noticed the author used in the poem. The first was his vivid and creative imagery. For example, "Outside it was night like a book without letters." This simile in the first stanza is not only imaginative in creating a picture in the reader's mind, but it also has a hidden meaning. Holub did not just say the pages of the book were blank, something that would, incidentaly, imply a blankness or brightness. He said that there were no letters, which could mean that the book could contain symbols or pictures. This provides a much different connection to night than a blank page, perhaps saying that there are still things in the night, even though they are different than we would expect. Holub follows this simile with a metaphor, "...the eternal dark dripped to the stars through the sieve of the city." Normally we would imagine something dripping towards the earth because of gravity, which makes the image even stranger than it might have been. The way I saw it, it was an interesting way of painting a picture of the darkness slipping through the sieve of a city and dripping up towards the heavens, creating the stars.

I also noticed some of the more structural techniques that he used. Repitition was a big factor. The repitition of the phrases, "I said to her...," and , "a black cat...the black night," were the basis of three of the later stanzas which describe the disappearance of the cat into the night, and the cautions of the speaker to the cat. Also, Holub visually singled out a section of one specific phrase on its own, separating two parts of the poem: "But a window was opened and she went." This seems to be the turning point of the story, the moment when the cat leaves, against the speaker's wishes, leaving on impulse through a random, open window, never to be seen again. The author also begins the last stanza with , "But..." creating a connection to the singled out phrase. I have to admit that I did not completely understand the relevance of the self-reflection and reference to "northerly wind" in this last stanza, although I might be able to gain a better understanding of it if I really tried. Other than that, though, this poem was very interesting and fun to piece together.

1 comment:

  1. I think we just barely skimmed the surface in class. Thanks for elaborating! :)