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Passions in Poetry

Death

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Brad
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0 posted 04-03-2008 07:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Because I could not stop for Death

--Emily Dickinson

quote:
Because I could not stop for Death--
He kindly stopped for me--
The Carriage held but just Ourselves--
and Immortality.

We slowly drove--He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility--

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess--in the Ring--
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain--
We passed the Setting Sun--

Or rather--He passed Us--
The Dews drew quivering and chill--
For only Gossamer, my Gown--
My Tippet--only Tulle--

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground--
The Roof was scarcely visible--
The Cornice--in the Ground--

Since then--'Tis Centuries--and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses Heads
Were toward Eternity--


I don't know if I'll have the time to get into this, but I can, I think, summarize my points easily enough:

1. Death comes. We have no power over death.

2. Coming to terms with Death is extremely difficult. It is impossible to imagine one's own death.

3. There are three figures in the above marriage: the Poet, Death, and Immortality

4. To marry Death is not to die, to die is to be Death's food.

5. Read the last stanza again. It is now over a century since E.D.'s death.

She still speaks to us.  

serenity blaze
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1 posted 04-03-2008 08:02 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

She's just my muse, is all...

Death.

I really do believe, that I said once before, that we lost something when we started trying to "tidy" it up.

Tending to your dead loved ones was once a sacramental rite.

After a little experience with it and a lot of thought, I think that's so.

And I can't go without saying something about that Six Feet Under series. Because when Nate dies, and his brother washes his body, it's a beautiful scene, and I was very moved at how tenderly Anthony Michael Hall played that...

I love this poem because Death is not the boogeyman.
Seoulair
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2 posted 04-03-2008 08:15 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

Brad, I made sure that this was the forum of Philosophy 101, not CA.
The Carriage somehow gave me the image of Large Bomb.
Falling rain
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3 posted 04-03-2008 10:51 PM       View Profile for Falling rain   Email Falling rain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Falling rain's Home Page   View IP for Falling rain

hmm the last stanza is just prolly a councidence. But yes ther are some truth in this poem.

XxZachXx

"What did you think I ment?"

haha yes im sort of crazy deep down inside. lol!!


Stephanos
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4 posted 04-03-2008 11:13 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I tend to agree with Peter Kreeft's statement that unless one sees death as enemy, there is no entitlement to see death as friend or lover.  It would be premature.  That's because it is not death that is on trial, but ourselves.  And death is just a veiled form of someone else anyway.  The rider on a pale horse is just the broken image of a rider on a white horse.

Stephen
Bob K
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5 posted 04-08-2008 01:10 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Circa 1850 a piece of land became available between the cities of Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts.

      The entire culture of England and The United States was preoccupied with thoughts of death, and had been for much of the past hundred years.  One of the Giant bestsellers of the era, going through hundreds of printings and re-printings was a book of several hundred pages length most people today have never heard of.  It was called Night Thoughts, by Edward Young, and it was a poem. But "Elegy in A Country Churchyard" touches on some of the same concerns in a more highly condensed and less morbid fashion.  William Cullen Bryant is an American contributor to the same literature.  

     Given the nature of the cultural climate, a quarrel broke out between partisans in either city for how to use  the land.  One group wanted to turn the area into a park;
the other group wanted to turn the area into a graveyard.
In the end, a compromise was reached, and Mount Auburn Cemetery was designed and landscaped.  Even now, 150 years later, it's a place of haunting, extraordinary beauty in a clearly Victorian style.  The Belle of Amherst, very much a creature of her time, would likely have images such as those in Mount Auburn Cemetery in her head, the
round bellied horses, the well appointed carriage, and the rows of crypts set into the edge of a well proportioned oval mound, the edges of the cornices just visible from the evenly trimmed grass lawn that covered the top.

     Boston has buried Longfellow here.  Mary Baker Eddy is in her own tomb.  Boston being a town of apocryphal stories, it delights in confiding that Ms Eddy's tomb is connected by telegraph to the offices of the editor of The Christian Science Monitor.  Some say telephone, and that he is to be the first to know the good news when she wakens.  The story is of course untrue.  The  Cemetery is worth a visit, though, if you're in the area and you know something about the history.  

     And in many ways it's a living reminder, such as is today more and more difficult to come by, of the working consciousness of a period in American literary life.  It's a peek into the collective unconscious of the American psyche of the time.  It reminds you that even the notion of death changes over a reasonably short period of time from one thing to another.  That death to Emily Dickinson may have been a bit of a different thing than it was to Wilfred Owen, even fifty years later, when machine guns and mustard gas were making death an almost industrial process.

     It seems more and more difficult to separate out the actual fact of death itself from the thoughts and feelings we seem to have built up around it.  I say this because I notice I've been responding to a thread about The Right to Die, and Death and Emily seem to be such a perfect pairing.  Ham and eggs, strawberries and cream, Death and Emily.      
serenity blaze
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6 posted 04-08-2008 01:56 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I've made my plans.

I'm gonna be a tree.

A Serenetree or a Poetree?

It doesn't much matter to me.

I just don't want anyone to be able to say I was a waste of oxygen.
Brad
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7 posted 04-10-2008 08:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
It seems more and more difficult to separate out the actual fact of death itself from the thoughts and feelings we seem to have built up around it.  I say this because I notice I've been responding to a thread about The Right to Die, and Death and Emily seem to be such a perfect pairing.  Ham and eggs, strawberries and cream, Death and Emily.


Bob,

I wonder if we're reading the same article.  It's in "Radiant Lyre" edited by David Baker.

The other poem that is used to present, in my opinion, a rather weak thesis is Whitman:

quote:
Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle, as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night, that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars, and ghostly pines so still.


At any rate, it seems  your thoughts are echoed in another poet.  

  
Seoulair
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8 posted 04-13-2008 02:32 AM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

Physical Death is the reality.
History (oral, picture, paintings, words, architectures) of value to human beings do live as certain time and in certain group of people. I can't say that it would be eternity because take Emily as an example, half world population may not know her at all as live or death. Unless you preach her poems as someone else preaches Bible.

quote:
]1. Death comes. We have no power over death.

Here you mean physical death.

quote:
2. Coming to terms with Death is extremely difficult. It is impossible to imagine one's own death.

This, some or a lot think like this. it does sometimes  depend on your religious system.

quote:
3. There are three figures in the above marriage: the Poet, Death, and Immortality

This is poetic talking about death. (concept of death changed)

quote:
4. To marry Death is not to die, to die is to be Death's food.

Here, again, death meant physical death but to die meant something else. one may say anything in poetry but can't always make it practically  logical at the same time.

quote:
5. Read the last stanza again. It is now over a century since E.D.'s death.

She still speaks to us.

You are absolutely right. Her words talks, and always to the listening ears.  

To make those death worth of living in eternity, is the burden of lover's love and worthy, patient teaching.  
nakdthoughts
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9 posted 04-13-2008 07:55 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

First, I love Emily Dickinson~~


"Death comes. We have no power over death"

I am not so sure about having no control, maybe not over the exact moment. As I prepare to go to my favorite Aunt's funeral this morning, she had the ability to pull out all the tubes and the  ventilator on Wednesday and wished to be sent home to die rather than prolong it.

She was taken home Thursday afternoon where we were able to spend her last hours with her although by then she couldn't respond to any of us, though the hospice nurse said she probably could hear us.

She passed away shortly after midnight into Friday morning...she chose to die sooner than later and on her own terms.

M
Balladeer
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10 posted 04-13-2008 09:09 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

My great-grandfather knew exact place, date and time of his death to be five years before it happened.

The judge told him...
Seoulair
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11 posted 04-13-2008 11:51 AM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
My great-grandfather knew exact place, date and time of his death to be five years before it happened.

The judge told him...

I heard before that one should not judge dead people.
Obviously he is still living in your heart. So do you want to share some stories of his life?
Balladeer?
Brad
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12 posted 04-19-2008 09:07 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I still don't really have time to get into this, but I said:

quote:
Death comes. We have no power over death.


nadthoughts:

quote:
I am not so sure about having no control, maybe not over the exact moment. As I prepare to go to my favorite Aunt's funeral this morning, she had the ability to pull out all the tubes and the  ventilator on Wednesday and wished to be sent home to die rather than prolong it.

She was taken home Thursday afternoon where we were able to spend her last hours with her although by then she couldn't respond to any of us, though the hospice nurse said she probably could hear us.

She passed away shortly after midnight into Friday morning...she chose to die sooner than later and on her own terms.


I just don't see how this is power over death. Isn't it simply the acceptance of death's power?

Mike said:

quote:
My great-grandfather knew exact place, date and time of his death to be five years before it happened.

The judge told him...


I don't see prediction as a form of power. Changing what was predicted might be, but then of course you have a false prediction. Do you see the dilemma?

But doesn't saying one does have power over death sound hollow?

It does to me.

Hmmm, Karen thinks I should try to be clearer so let me try this scenario on you guys.

You know that the sun will rise tomorrow at 5:41.

Does that give you power over the sun?

You know that the sun will rise at some time this weekend so you go to the beach to watch the sun rise from the ocean.

Does that give you power over the sun?

Oh, I almost forgot, you live in California.

Stephanos
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13 posted 04-19-2008 09:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Wouldn't resurrection indicate power over death?
Seoulair
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14 posted 04-19-2008 10:07 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

Stephen, That along would scare our Sir Brad to death.
Brad
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15 posted 04-19-2008 10:08 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I guess so, but I'm not sure where you wanna go with that.

God aside (I wasn't including the Almighty in that 'we'-- only humans), are you thinking of something like the teleport thought question?

Essorant
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16 posted 04-19-2008 10:29 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Death itself has power over itself, for it eventually evolves into life again.  
Brad
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17 posted 04-19-2008 10:40 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'm sorry Ess, you've lost me there. That death has power over death is a tautology. That it/he/she evolves into life means it's no longer death.

Is it so difficult to accept? Am I using the wrong words? Am I making a mistake here?

And so it goes.

Seoulair
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18 posted 04-19-2008 10:49 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

I think Sir Essorant was talking cosmologically. Not physically or biologically.
That...then... the death dose not exist at all.

And Sir Brad, Your poem will be talked forever. So spent time on that, sir!!!
Essorant
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19 posted 04-19-2008 11:10 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Exactly, death defeats itself by becoming life.
Seoulair
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20 posted 04-20-2008 12:19 AM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
You know that the sun will rise tomorrow at 5:41.

Does that give you power over the sun?


No. We have no power over the sun or the turning of the earth. But we have power to hide from it.

As for "power over death", you know you made a smart statement and you prepared lot to say but have no time.

What is exactly "power over death"?
since you said She still speaks to us then you must wait for me to say, "it is the poem."  Our power over death is through poem.(or other writing).

But then you would say " she is physically dead. isn't she? so poem can not make her live forever."

Power over physical death by my understanding can be
1. to make death happen...the war
2. to stop death happen...those frozen body in NO Tank  ( or to stop a car)
3. To make death go slow
4. to make death go faster
5. To make death disappear at all....No way to do it and this is what you meant, right?

or, when you have time, explain your "power over death".
Balladeer
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21 posted 04-20-2008 12:52 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I really wish I could admire her as a poet but I just can't. Her near-rhymes grate on me...

away - civility

chill - Tulle

day - eternity

in one stanza she rhymes ground with ground and in another abandons any attempt at rhyme or even near rhyme at all..

ring - sun

She gives the impression that she rhymes whenever it's easy for her, near rhymes when she doesn't have the desire to put in any extra effort to make rhyming words match, and forgets rhyme altogether whenever she wants to say something without putting in any effort to rhyme at all.......and she mixes all of these techniques in the same poem.

I realize it is considered sacreligious to knock the "masters" but i simply can't respect this lack of professionalism.
Bob K
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22 posted 04-20-2008 06:41 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Balladeer,

          Where I grew up, in Ohio, it wasn't uncommon for folks to pronounce "tulle" the same way they pronounced that other fabric, "twill."  I've been in a couple of other places where the pronunciation was the same way.

     You might also consider that Miss Dickinson wrote these poems specifically to please herself and not an audience.  She did apparently publish 12 poems during her lifetime in a local magazine, and she was in many ways interested in publication, but these poems she never made any attempt to see into print.  

     You may criticize her for not playing by team rules, but she wasn't playing the team game.  She was playing solitaire.  It was other folks who came along after her death who decided to make a big deal out of her.  Your quarrel should be with them and not her.  Heck, the first versions of the poems of hers they published weren't even  well edited versions of the poems in the first place.  They were "corrected."

     E.D. couldn't care less about what either of us think about her.  I find some of her stuff a bit slow, personally, but don't mind the half-rhymes  or the somewhat churchy  Hymn-like stanzas.  She seems to be making a point of playing-off the formal and exact rhymes because the things she was saying were in that same way a bit off-kilter and didn't fit into the strictly ordered world of that particular rhyme scheme or stanza format, an the skewing is a pretty effective way of showing that.  As is her refusal to insist on clear subordination of themes, which she indicates by her use of dashes rather than standard punctuation.

     For people who insist that the world must be presented in only a limited way for it to be real or recognizable, she can be very difficult.  You, Balladeer, have a wonderful sense of how things ought to be, and it serves you very well in many ways.  It gives you a firm sense of what is right and what isn't, and what's good and what's bad, and that's been useful for you for a long time.  It's been good for your character.

     E.D. has very little overlap with that point of view.  I think you first rush of upset is at the craft of the stuff, but I wouldn't be surprised if your antipathy ran deeper.  I'm not saying mine does as well, but I'm saying that it seems understandable.

     I'd be curious to know if it's only the craft that bothers you, or if it's her world-view as well.

     As a by the way sort of thing, I stumbled on a book on craft that you might like to check out if you haven't seen it already.  It's a much more traditional look at stuff than Hugo and is more concerned with metrics and the sort of stuff you enjoy playing with, and it seems rock-solid as far as I remember from my occasional studies.  This one's called The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry, the English actor.  A lot of fun.

     Best From BobK.
Brad
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23 posted 04-20-2008 05:38 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Honestly, I'm not  quite sure what to say.

My guess, like the sun, is that when I say you/we/I have no power over Death, you hear you have no power and that disturbs you.

quote:
1. to make death happen...the war


In a war, don't you do death's bidding? The point is to kill or be killed, either way death wins.

quote:
2. to stop death happen...those frozen body in NO Tank  ( or to stop a car)


I suppose that's how the action is justified, but I'm not sure how this gives you power over death, you're frozen.

quote:
3. To make death go slow


How does death comes slowly in a plane crash?

quote:
4. to make death go faster


Assisted suicide? Again, such acts are in Death's service. You haven't been given power, you are giving power away.

quote:
5. To make death disappear at all....No way to do it and this is what you meant, right?


Sure, but all of the above assumes that we have more control over something that can come at anytime, at any place, in any form.  I don't know, perhaps we have to personify Death as a means of dealing with it (the poem), but everytime we talk about controlling death we pretend to have knowledge that we can't have. This foreknowlege is either right and can't be changed or wrong. Either way it means no power.

That's why we have the second part: Death comes.

Still, I don't see how this excludes hope.

Mike,

Ten years ago, I would have agreed with you.  I don't think she comes through very well in anthologies. Reading a collection of her poems however does kind of 'open' her.  On the technical side,  she is still very conservative as far as I can tell.  I don't know if this is true, I haven't read every poem she wrote, but it has been said that all her poetry can be sung to 'Amazing Grace'.       

Balladeer
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24 posted 04-20-2008 06:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

BobK, you are very right that, if she were around, she would care less of my opinion...nor should she. She is an icon and I am a nobody...and I don't mean that with any kind of sarcasm or ill feelings. Fortunately, we are all entitled to have our opinions and express them and I have done so, without rancor I hope.

No, my "complaint" is  with her erratic use of form only. I have admired her thoughts and views in many poems...this one, for example. The thought of not having time for Death and having Death stop by is a brilliant concept for a poem. Her imagination and word usage has my appreciation....her variations of ignoring structured poetry basic rules do not. For poets who do not want to be bound by rules or structure, that's why we have free verse. Combining the two in a haphazard way grates on me.....but that's just me.
 
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