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Passions in Poetry

Need help with a line from poem

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Salooma
Senior Member
since 01-28-2000
Posts 803


0 posted 05-31-2000 02:43 PM       View Profile for Salooma   Email Salooma   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Salooma

I'm having trouble understanding a line in Ralph Waldo Emmerson's The Past. The line is "Flies- to the admanatine door." Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Salma
jenni
Senior Member
since 09-11-99
Posts 511
Washington D.C.


1 posted 05-31-2000 08:02 PM       View Profile for jenni   Email jenni   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jenni

salma--

i took a look at the poem, i think all emerson is saying there is that the adamantine door of the Past "flies to" or shuts, closes in a rather abrupt manner (to be "bolted down forevermore" in the next line).  adamantine, of course, means hard or impenetrable.  "flies-to" is kind of an awkward construction, a hyphenated verb, but he does a similar thing later in the poem with "new-face" as a verb as well.  it's an awkward line, too, because the normal subject/verb order is reversed.  if you substitute "closes" or "closes now" for "flies-to" in that line, it'll make more sense (but won't be nearly as good as emerson's way, lol).  if you look at this progression --

The adamantine door closes
Bolted down forevermore.

Closes now, the adamantine door,
Bolted down forevermore.

Flies-to the adamantine door
Bolted down forevermore.  

-- you can see that emerson's use of "flies-to" gives the closing of the door of the Past an abrupt or sudden quality while perfectly keeping his rythym, which is actually a pretty neat trick once you "see" it (it took me several reads, though, lol).  

hope this helps.

are you reading the poem for a class, or just for fun?

jenni

p.s.: i had a hard time finding the poem.  here's the whole thing, for anyone who cares:

"The Past" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The debt is paid,
The verdict said,
The Furies laid,
The plague is stayed.
All fortunes made;
Turn the key and bolt the door,
Sweet is death forevermore.
Nor haughty hope, nor swart chagrin,
Nor murdering hate, can enter in.

All is now secure and fast;
Not the gods can shake the Past;
Flies-to the adamantine door
Bolted down forevermore.
None can reŽnter there,--
No thief so politic,
No Satan with a royal trick
Steal in by window, chink, or hole,
To bind or unbind, add what lacked,
Insert a leaf, or forge a name,
New-face or finish what is packed,
Alter or mend eternal Fact.
Salooma
Senior Member
since 01-28-2000
Posts 803


2 posted 06-01-2000 07:54 PM       View Profile for Salooma   Email Salooma   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Salooma

Thanks sooo much...sorry it gave you a hard time though, I could have given you the whole thing. I'm reading it kinda for a class and for fun. I am writing a play based on that poem for a creative writing class and that line always gave me a hard time. I always thought that's what it should mean, but wanted to double-check...thanks again!

Salma

 "Not all the answers lie within your realm or mine, they lie within the borders."
 
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