Is it Tuesday? Every Tuesday a new poem appears in the box and on the blog.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Poem 30 Patricia Kirkpatrick

WHITE TREES    by Patricia Kirkpatrick

“Hope is an ‘intuition of emptiness’ with which we make agreement…”
-Fanny Howe

She went out to see
white trees
that night as black
branches turned
and filled with snow
shrouds where
didn’t reach
where figures
she went out to stay
away from
how the night went on
without her
burrow into drifts
to stalk
the blizzard to its face
and deep crevasse
to fall
and falling
to touch
with her hands
to channel
vision against the coming
storm the sheen
of sodden places
as if to pick up
and steady lambs
to grass to
and shepherd
grief she walked
that night
to vacancies
white trees were filling with

Wow, this is a stunning poem.  In its very short lines and abrupt fragments, it represents the inner state of a woman walking bravely, if haltingly, into a “coming/storm.”

The first eight lines immediately introduce the poem’s beautiful, startling images and the fragmented nature of the woman’s experience:

She went out to see
white trees
that night as black
branches turned
and filled with snow
shrouds where
didn’t reach…

In the line breaks we get discombobulated: is the night black, or the branches? is it snow or a snow shroud? Without punctuation to guide us and with those line breaks that work both forward and backward, we are uncertain.

It continues:

she went out to stay
away from
how the night went on
without her

And again we have the surprise in realizing she did not “go out to stay” but rather to “stay away.”  To stay away from what? “How the night went on/without her.”  We begin to get, with the shrouds in the first few lines and the fear of being left behind (“without her”), a sense that this is a poem about fear of death or the unknown, of the ‘desert places’ Frost describes in his brutal poem about walking at night in the snow.

What happens next, though, surprises. The verbs change and in changing suggest that though this woman is upset and alone, she is also active, not passive, in face of whatever she fears. Look at these verbs. She goes out to “stalk,” “fall,” “touch,” “channel,” “track,” and, finally  “shepherd.” If something awaits her, she will find and come to understand it. Moreover, in the end what she shepherds is “grief,” suggesting that even if what lies before her is indeed hard, she can take a gentle sort of care for it.

The poem ends, 
“she walked/that night/to vacancies/white trees were filling with” 
no closing mark of punctuation, ending with a preposition: all indications are that the walk is not over, that the “empty spaces between the stars” that Frost writes of must be lived. The paradox of vacancy filling a space extends this notion. Life requires us to face absences and our fear of loss, and if we accept loss, we can actively examine it. If we examine loss, we have something—a space is filled by seeing and accepting.  If we try to stay inside, where it’s warm and safe, the loss is still out there and we have nothing but our fear.
I’ll end where I began. Wow.

Kirkpatrick won the first Linquist-Vennum Prize for Poetry and her book, Odessa, will be published this December by Milkweed.  For more information, see the link below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poem 29 Carol Willette Bachofner

Allow the Year

Allow the year to end, clouds
gusting in an ocean overhead

and the sun on its passage
to solstice, sinking near earth.
Allow the thickets of winter

shadows to cross the yard
and ivy to ascend chain link

crimson as a neighbor’s light
brazenly on and off. Allow loss.
Allow the grinding traffic

whatever its various ends
to stop unseen and the mice

under the bird feeder to eat
among sparrows. Allow them.
Allow the trash pickers. Allow

their bottles, plastics and cans.
And the old cat her last patch

of warmth on the back steps.
And the housefly on the wall
its frail hold. Allow the year

to end, whatever the way, allow
the kitchen curtain to blow

in and out, and in and out.
Allow the year to end, the soul
to rise and fall, then rise again.

— Carol Willette Bachofner

from I Write in the Greenhouse, Front Porch Editions 2011
first published in Bangor Metro.

I chose this week’s poem because I struggle with letting things be. So much of my nature is devoted to resistance, to grasping, and especially in the fall when I so want to keep winter from coming, want to keep the world green.

Carol Willet Bachofner is a Maine poet, and we can see Maine a bit in the landscape of this poem.  It is a sort of prayer to change, a gentle reminder to appreciate the beauties of the world, with the incantation of “allow.” I am reminded of Jane Kenyon’s “Let Evening Come” and its repetitions and gratitudes, its God who “does not leave us comfortless.”

In this poem, the speaker isn’t addressing the season’s shift between summer and fall but rather the solstice’s turn from fall to winter. And the speaker doesn’t seem to be struggling with the change, as I do, so much as celebrating all the various aspects of daily life—the beautiful, “the thickets of winter/ shadows” that “cross the yard” and the mundane, “mice/ under the birdfeeder.”  Through her repetition of “allow”—a lovely word, full of those open vowels—the reader is mesmerized, drawn in and allowed (if I may say that) to really see the world, ordinary and beautiful at once. This detailed depiction of a day, with its sparrows and trash pickers and houseflies, is evoked finely and becomes, through careful description, beautiful.

But in case we are not convinced by the quotidian, the poem’s last lines leave us no doubt : “Allow the year to end, the soul/to rise and fall, and rise again.” Note how subtle the move from the physical to the metaphysical here, and the gorgeous internal rhyme of “end” and “again” to make the argument. Change is part of the human condition. We must allow it, and in allowing for it, perhaps we will be able to see its beauty. If we fall short, if we “fall”, we can rise up again—the next day to the clouds and sparrows—or eventually, if we so believe, into a heaven that might be better than this world. Or maybe not. Maybe this world is heaven. Certainly we need to be here and paying attention to know.

Oh, how I love poems. Willette Bachofner’s poem, reminding me to see, is a gift right now in my busy life. Thanks, Carol.

If you’d like to know more about Carol Willette Bachofner, go to these links:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poem 28 Tim Nolan

Old Astronauts by Tim Nolan

When they get together now—
they nod to one another—

don’t talk about the pitch
black of airless space—

don’t want to remember
the dust of the moon

in the treads of their boots—
they fall in bathrooms—

just like everyone else—
but from a greater height—

and before their heads
hit the tiled floor—

they float for awhile—
weightless seeming to dance

at the end of a cord—
one of them found

Noah’s Ark—or is just
about to—mostly they

remain dead silent—
whatever they saw and felt—

lost for generations—it’s that
they were led to believe

they really could escape—
the pull of the molten core

With Neil Armstrong’s death last week, this poem by Tim Nolan seems appropriate, doesn’t it?  I am especially enamored of the line breaks in this one, along with the use of the dash which is so often used (think of Dickinson) as a mark of punctuation that refuses closure. 

In the second stanza, the line break “the pitch/black of airless space” nicely disorients the reader. Pitch is a great word, full of possible meanings, and it looks like a noun there at the end of the line. But when we move to the next line, we see it was meant as an adjective for “black” and somehow Nolan has created in us a sense a bit like zero gravity. 

This is a sad poem, about—as many of the poems in this book are—how we understand the lives of those we love who are dying, have died. What did their lives mean?  The astronauts in the poem cannot articulate the exceptional experiences of their lives.  But they are not just like the rest of us, for even as they “fall in bathrooms” they fall “from a greater height.” And in that falling is the floating their bodies once knew in space. In this way, Nolan suggests that the experiences of these old astronauts are articulated by their bodies if not their words, even as their lives end. In such a notion is consolation.

The last lines mourn the fact of gravity, of our boundedness to this planet and a span of time. The astronauts “were led to believe/they really could escape--/the pull of the molten core.”  And notice again that dash. There is no escape, the poem tells us, but the speaker resists that knowledge, pushes forward again and again to keep the line/life going.  Punctuation can’t stop death. But it can put up a great fight. In this poem, and in many others in this wonderful collection, Nolan takes on hard subjects and wrestles with them, searching for solace and meaning as time continues to pass.

Good stuff.  Look for the book, And Then, coming soon from New Issues Press. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Poem 27 Connie Wanek

                      by Connie Wanek

We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.

"Monopoly" by Connie Wanek, from On Speaking Terms. © Copper Canyon Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission.

Connie Wanek is a deceptive poet. Beware. Her poems seem easy. They are not. They are supple, subtle, smart, musical, and hard. They demand several readings, but the straightforward-seeming speaker in each never lets on. No, she just makes her observations and leaves off, leaving to the reader the task of paying attention.
But what a reward one gets for looking closely. 

Wanek has written a series of poems based on children's games, and this is another. The situation seems fairly clear: a speaker remembers playing the board game Monopoly as a child.  Looking closely, though, we come to see this poem is an exquisite commentary on the current economic situation: many people lose their homes while a very few get rich, owning more and more. The case she makes is powerful for its lack of bombast, its illumination of the political through the sphere of childhood, and its trust in the reader to make the connections for herself.

The poem begins with two interesting choices--the use of the first person plural “we” –indicating we are all in this together—and the “used to,” clearly setting the poem as memory.  The next words about playing the game “long before we bought real houses” begins to pull the reader into complexity.  What about these real houses? how do they connect to the childhood game? But Wanek’s touch is light; she just moves back to the game with the line “A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.”

We know this is literally true about the game, but as the poem goes on, we see that this arbitrary bad luck doesn’t seem to be only part of the childhood game.  The implication becomes clear: these days, it can just be bad luck that sends a person into bankruptcy or foreclosure.  The speaker continues, remembering the color of the Monopoly money, the thrill of ownership, the way placing those hotels on your properties spelled doom for your competitors. 

The move between stanza is so understated: “at last one person would own everything” and then “everything” is illustrated—teaspoons from the “dining car”, railroad spikes “driven….by immigrants”, crooked mayors—all elements of the railroads that made our country’s first barons.  And yet we know these items are not part of the game but were in fact part of the first economic collapse.

The poem’s last two lines manage to make the case all the clearer while steadfastly turning away from the move most poets would make. Instead of clarifying for the reader, “hey, I’m making a point here about our current economic situation,” Wanek turns deftly back to the game, “But then, with only the clothes on our backs/we ran outside, laughing.” Notice the brilliance of that “but then.” It, like the rest of the poem, means two things at once. On the one hand, “but then” the game is over, and the children go out to play. And also, “but then,” and the comma really matters here, means, but back in those days, we “with only the clothes on our backs” were playing a game. The children, of course, are laughing.  But now, the implication is clear, this isn’t a game.

See what I mean? This looks like a fairly accessible poem about a favored childhood memory. Instead, it indicts our current economy, where bad luck dooms people to homelessness and the loss of everything they possess, except maybe those clothes on their backs. 

As I write tonight, feeling inarticulate in comparison to the poem’s grace and confidence, I am remembering Pope’s line:  “True ease in writing comes from art, not chance.”  Connie Wanek makes poetry look easy.  What a gift.

For information about Wanek's latest book:

More information available at:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Poem 26 Emily Dickinson

            by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last
To see like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful—

I have chosen this poem because I am a nostalgic, and especially this year, as summer’s close brings with it the end of my glorious sabbatical.  For me, this poem captures the way the endings--of summer, of many things--feel.

I am not a Dickinson scholar. I am much more an ardent admirer.  She is, for me, like an idolized but peculiar relative in whose company I long to be, but whom I never understand much better for having spent time with.  Sometimes I am utterly unable to make sense of her poems and other times, as in this poem, my whole body understands immediately and intuitively the feeling the poem addresses.

To start, what about that first simile? Summer does creep imperceptibly away. As does grief. But the lessening of grief is a relief—days later we realize we haven’t cried for our lost one.  But the creeping away of summer causes a form of grief for the speaker, so the simile is a bit odd.  The leaving is the same, yes, but one absence is comfort and the other is not.

Then look at the next choices.  “The Summer” is this past particular one, in the past tense where the poem is located (not “a summer”), but not yet, as it later becomes, “our summer.” The verb “lapsed” also works in surprising ways.  I misremember this line always as “The Summer slipped away.”  But lapsed is so much the better choice, meaning as it does “to fall away by degree” and also a fall from grace.  Grace, like “our summer”, will appear much later in the poem. (Not to mention that “lapsed” is sonically more surprising and interesting than the alliterative “slipped” would be; lapsed keeps the “s” sound but pushes it to the middle.)

This slipping, the speaker tells us, was so imperceptible that it couldn’t be a form of betrayal, of “perfidy.” And then she faces the difficult task of describing something she has claimed is imperceptible. If it can’t be sensed or understood, how can it be described? The poem really could be broken into four four-line stanzas.  The middle two stanzas are where Dickinson takes on the task of describing the passing of time. “Twilight” begins earlier, “dusk” draws “earlier in”.  Such changes are by degree and are subtle; the natural world often moves in time too slow for the human mind to catch it. Only later do we realize the season has shifted. And by that point, it feels a bit like betrayal.

The summer has been a guest, and guests must eventually leave. Her leaving couldn’t really be a surprise.  But even so, somehow there is something “harrowing” about the “Grace” that, like a guest,  “would be gone.”  What might a harrowing grace be? A distressing beauty? A troubled divine love? And summer has become female and ours (“our summer”), personifying and personalizing the loss even more.

The last stanza doesn’t resolve these questions but turns away from them. Summer is perceptible, if her leaving is not, and even without a clear means of transport, she still makes her escape—though it is “light”—into the “beautiful.”

I would never claim to know what Dickinson might have meant by anything, and I am bold in claiming her as a favored, strange auntie. But I understand these last lines somewhere near my solar plexus.  We can’t help feeling grief for summer’s passing—for time’s passing—but we also must recognize that such passage provides light and beauty.  Even when our hearts protest.

Monday, July 30, 2012

On Vacation

Poem in a Box is taking two weeks off. Look for great poems again on August 14! Thanks so much for your support.

If you are a poet who would like to have your poem in the box, email me or write a me a comment and we can chat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poem 25 Bao Phi

This week's poem is by Minneapolis poet Bao Phi.  I can't quite believe I've known Bao since he was a Macalester student back in the 90s. He was a promising young poet back then; he's a powerhouse poet now.  Enjoy.

No Question  by Bao Phi

to the white girl who saw a bunch of us little Southeast Asian kids watch her brother play a video game in the Asian grocery and said "these gooks are surrounding us." 

Did we douse you in chemicals that twisted your future generations
to flesh pretzels
strip mine your resources
then fusion fuck your family dinner

Did we light garlands of fire
onto your sacred mountains,
push your people to tiny fingers of dry land
explore what was already found
then name your beautiful landmarks
after ourselves

Did we push your people into jobs
where toxic fumes turned your lungs to scorched wings
your nails breaking on our skin
to paint ours pretty

Did we spin your history to smoke
Hook you on snorting the ashes

Did we convince the entire world your men
have cocks small as minnows
scar barbed wire borders using plastic surgery
break your legs to
make you taller

Did we gentrify your love life

Did we convince your people
that we taught them the word love
and what it means to be free

Did we redefine torture
for our own benefit

Did we measure ourselves in fathoms
then force you to swim in us
until you drown?

these gooks are surrounding us
if only
that were true.

In this week’s sharp and stunning poem by Bao Phi, lots of things are happening.  But I want to begin with the title, something I probably haven’t spent enough time on in earlier posts about other poems.  The title to Phi’s poem is “No Question” which is interesting right from the start.  After the poem’s ‘dedication’, the first line begins, “Did we….” clearly a question.  This structure, beginning each new stanza with the question starting “Did we” is repeated nine times.  Immediately, then, the reader sees the contradiction between what the title claims and the poem’s structure. So, if the poem is in fact a series of questions, what does the title mean and what is it doing? 

I would answer that by asking who questions and who doesn’t. The speakers in the poem—it’s written in first person plural—are clearly trying to raise questions for the girl in the grocery store who has made the racist remark that starts the poem.  They certainly have questions for her. It is she who is so unaware that she is without question: her own ‘knowing’ is such that she doesn’t have to let a question cross her mind.  (Somehow I am suddenly reminded of Michele Bachmann, but I’ll just let that thought pass on by….) Because she has made a racist remark and is without question, the speakers’ response to her is furious, rightfully so. Why is it that the ones who continually have to question are the ones who live face to face with bigotry and racism? Why are the perpetrators so unaware of the lives of the people they name and hate? As we ponder the hard questions the poem raises, we see the irony of that title in full force.

Each of the questions the speakers ask is rhetorical.  The speakers know the answers even if the girl they are addressed to doesn’t. And each query forces the reader (if not the girl herself) to contend with the long history of colonialism, war, and racism Asian Americans, in this case Vietnamese Americans, have endured.  By beginning with “Did we douse you in chemicals that twisted your future generations/to flesh pretzels” the speakers immediately make the setting clear: this country is Vietnam, and the chemical is Agent Orange. The next few lines further the violation. Not only were the Vietnamese burned by chemicals, the country’s resources were “strip mine[d]”  and even the most intimate part of a culture—it’s food—has been colonized in the service of high end restaurants who often serve their food to rich, white Americans.

Each of the following stanzas takes on similar issue, posing as questions the facts of Vietnamese American experience that are largely invisible in our culture: nail salons’ toxic working environment, cosmetic surgery to change faces to look more Caucasian, the eroticizing of the Asian woman and concurrent emasculation of the Asian man. By asking repeatedly “did we” do this to you, the reader more and more confronts the only possible answer: no, America did it to you. Even writing this I squirm a bit. I should probably write, “No, we did this to you.” That is after all the structural shape the answer should take. And therein lies Phi’s genius. The reader empathizes with the poem’s speaker; the reader knows the girl in the store is the bad guy. "I’m with you!" the reader wants to say to the speakers.

And yet. For this reader, at any rate, a pause. Hasn't my whiteness granted me the privilege of ignorance? the choice to avoid the difficult questions raised by the speakers in the poem? I don’t want to be the “we” in the answer to the questions. I want “them” to be responsible. But Phi understands that until the reality of racism is seared into us, causing us real discomfort, we won’t understand. And until everyone feels its burn, racism will exist. The calling of names, the stereotyping, is easy when we don’t ask questions. Luckily, Phi is there, pushing us forward with beautiful, difficult poems. No one gets off the hook here. No question.

Bao has a great website where you can read more of his stuff, find out about his book, and generally enjoy his all-around wonderfulness.

and here's a link to his book:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Poem 24 Kathryn Kysar

Love Poem by Kathryn Kysar

The thought hits me in the middle of the day:
                        I am your glacier over the woods, so pale.           
            I am your third arm, the bird
that flutters against your window
            in the morning, the immeasurable cold
                                    drawn up without a distant moon.
            Somehow with stars,
we drowse like white gardinias,
            a field with daisies and violets
                                    between throat and belly.
            I put my mouth against your heart.

This love poem by Kate Kysar beautifully takes on the difficult task of capturing the essence of erotic love.  In it the speaker tries on a series of metaphors to describe the relation between her and her lover, whom she is addressing in the poem.

The first line lets us know the speaker is thinking of her relation to the beloved after or before their lovemaking; “The thought hits me in the middle of the day:” the poem begins, and we realize that even from this vantage point the speaker is trying to find language that can match the intensity and tenderness they have shared.  Her first attempt is “I am your glacier…so pale.” Here she succeeds finding a metaphor that gets at the color of their skin, but glaciers are cold. They move slowly.  So she tries again: “I am your third arm/the bird that flutters against your window…” Here she reaches for a metaphor that speaks to their interconnection.  She is so close to him that she is almost part of him, but lovers inhabit separate bodies, so that doesn't quite work, either. She thinks of a bird, alive and active outside thew window. The bird poses a problem, too, though, because it is outside the window, seeking a point of access. 

The speaker tries again:  “Somehow with stars” she begins, and we can see that she is giving up on the effort to find a metaphor that accurately captures the nature of the love she is trying to describe.  The lovers have ended up with stars “somehow” and this sense of doubt in language (can it successfully capture the lovers?) continues as the speaker shifts from metaphor to simile.  “We drowse like white gardinias” the speaker goes on, abandoning the metaphor (they are not flowers; they are like flowers).

Finally, after the most erotic line in the poem, when the bodies become covered in flowers or perhaps become the field on which the lovers lie, the speaker gives up.  She commands her lover to “Listen” and then, instead of speaking, she presses her mouth to his body.  In this gesture she concedes. The passion cannot be captured in words; it is only articulated through the body. 

I think that move—from the command “listen” to the end of speaking and the beginning of lovemaking—is breathtaking.  In the poem's struggle toward articulation, the experience it describes is only captured when language is allowed to fail.  Pretty damned cool.

If you'd like more information about Kate Kysar, go to 

To buy Pretend the World, in which this poem appears:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Poem 23 Carl Sandburg

Chris Ferrin, a wonderful former student of mine, is our guest curator this week while I am away at a conference.  Chris is currently a student at University of Minnestota, Morris, majoring (appropriately enough) in English, after which he hopes to go to grad school and eventually teach English. As this piece indicates, he'll be a wonderful teacher someday. He's a fabulous writer already. I'm so grateful for his hard work this week.  Enjoy!

"Grass" by Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
          I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
          What place is this?
          Where are we now?
          I am the grass.
          Let me work. 

I’ve decided to write about the short poem “Grass” by Carl Sandburg. This poem is neither a particularly inspired choice, nor an example of poetry that I try to look for (read: not written by a dead white guy). However, I simply love this poem for what it does in the context of the poetry that was being written at the same time. Academics place Carl Sandburg amongst the “modernist” poets, who are not only famous for being dead, white, and sad, but also for writing about such uncharted subjects as dying, being white, and being sad. Although there is a lot to support this argument, I think it misses a complexity about Sandburg’s work that is not only intellectually stimulating but emotionally stirring, and my entry is going to mainly be about what makes this poem so unusual in comparison to the work of Sandburg’s contemporaries.
            At first glance, the poem appears to be asking the same questions about the value of human existence that poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were asking. It personifies grass, which takes a rather unsympathetic approach to those who have died in some of the bloodiest battles and massacres in European and American history by disregarding them and saying, “Shovel them under and let me work— / I am the grass; I cover all.” This seems particularly in line with the modernists, who were shocked and horrified at the sheer number of the dead after World War I and were beginning to question whether or not human experience really mattered. With only this context, it is pretty easy to interpret Sandburg’s work to be as equally pessimistic as his fellow poets.
            However, such an approach also misses a few things; in particular, it fails to recognize the significance of the individual words within the poem. This is especially important, considering that this poem has a very small economy of language to work with. Of particular importance, though, is the verb “work.” The grass in this poem is not only growing, but “working.” In this case, “work” is a particularly strong and active verb, particularly in opposition to the typical word choice of “grow.” It also holds a potential connotative meaning to the working class, which Sandburg has shown sympathy towards in such poems as “Chicago” and “Child of the Romans.” Here, he is in almost direct opposition to his contemporaries. One of the frequent criticisms of modernist poets, especially Ezra Pound, was their special brand of elitism. By using this simple verb alone, Sandburg seems to be expressing empathy towards what is “working” rather than what is dying and decaying. This simple word choice alone allows for greater meaning and optimism than one would immediately expect from a typical modernist poet.
However, the most important thing to consider in getting value out of this poem is to understand the shift in perspective it asks for. Even the simple move of personifying grass and using it as the speaker of the poem asks the reader to look at the battles mentioned in the poem in a different light. Many critics interpret the speaker’s attitude towards these battles as a trivialization of human experience. It is hard to argue against such an interpretation, but it limits its focus on the battles mentioned. The poem ends with passengers aboard a train asking their conductor, “What place is this? / Where are we now?” Even though bodies are being piled as the result of massacres, grass is still growing, human existence continues, and, as they say, life moves on. It is a powerful testament to the human ability to forget pain and flourish even after the worst times. The poem might trivialize some extent of experience, but it places a value in growth that makes it hard to consider the poem outright pessimistic.
             But really, the thing I like the most out of this poem is that how I’m managing to extrapolate such an optimistic interpretation on a poem that could simply just be an outright pessimistic condemnation of the human existence by a sad, dead, white guy. If there is any real value in poetry, I think, it is that it is almost always open for interpretation. It can serve a whole variety of purposes for the reader. I love this poem dearly because simply trying to find the complications in its supposed bleak outlook has pulled me through some recent events where things seemed pretty darn bleak. Most importantly, though, I love the poem for its shift in perspective. I know fully well that I need to look at things in a more positive light than I think they are being presented from time to time, and I highly doubt that I am the only person to have that thought.