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Parsing Poetry 
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Post Parsing Poetry
Just now I came across a poem of Mark Doty that is new to me. I've had the good fortune to have heard him read a few times at the Dodge Poetry Fest. He so thoroughly won me as a fan that now when I see his work I always attend. I am puzzled by the end of this new Doty poem. I am hoping you, you reading this post, will help me puzzle it out. My trouble is with the overarching meaning of the poem - the title/last 2 sentences. Here is the poem. Do tell, what do you think? I am stuck of figuring out what meaning "spent" has - my thoughts: tired, all energy used up, the cost - as in the cost of getting a better life the next go-round.

Spent
Mark Doty - 1953-

Late August morning I go out to cut
spent and faded hydrangeas—washed
greens, russets, troubled little auras

of sky as if these were the very silks
of Versailles, mottled by rain and ruin
then half-restored, after all this time…

When I come back with my handful
I realize I’ve accidentally locked the door,
and can’t get back into the house.

The dining room window’s easiest;
crawl through beauty bush and spirea,
push aside some errant maples, take down

the wood-framed screen, hoist myself up.
But how, exactly, to clamber across the sill
and the radiator down to the tile?

I try bending one leg in, but I don’t fold
readily; I push myself up so that my waist
rests against the sill, and lean forward,

place my hands on the floor and begin to slide
down into the room, which makes me think
this was what it was like to be born:

awkward, too big for the passageway…
Negotiate, submit?
When I give myself
to gravity there I am, inside, no harm,

the dazzling splotchy flowerheads
scattered around me on the floor.
Will leaving the world be the same

—uncertainty as to how to proceed,
some discomfort, and suddenly you’re
—where? I am so involved with this idea

I forget to unlock the door,
so when I go to fetch the mail, I’m locked out
again. Am I at home in this house,

would I prefer to be out here,
where I could be almost anyone?
This time it’s simpler: the window-frame,

the radiator, my descent. Born twice
in one day!
In their silvered jug,
these bruise-blessed flowers:

how hard I had to work to bring them
into this room. When I say spent,
I don’t mean they have no further coin.

If there are lives to come, I think
they might be a littler easier than this one.



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DWill, Harry Marks
Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:09 pm
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
Not too many poems are laugh-out-loud funny and profound at once. How brilliant this is. I connected the spent hydrangea blooms on the floor with the speaker's own spent-ness, having to heave himself through the window the second time, but finding a certain ease from the practice in spite of his being too old for this sort of thing. Optimism, hope. What seems well past prime, wasted, has "further coin" nonetheless.

This poem also explains why I don't lock my door.



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Harry Marks, Saffron
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:02 am
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
Sorry--a dupe.



Last edited by DWill on Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:03 am
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
DWill wrote:
Not too many poems are laugh-out-loud funny and profound at once...

This poem also explains why I don't lock my door.


Yup, I laughed-out-loud too. And a second laugh, imagining you wiggling in through a window - something I've done many times in my life. Thanks too for the lift with the poem. I was almost to it and you gave me the boost over the wall.



Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:40 am
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
A little poem parsing for a wet Sunday. Inversnaid is very fun to read out loud, but very hard to make heads or tails of with the exception of the last stanza, unless you are a Scottish! I figured that the poem is a description of a lovely wild place, but without understanding some of the descriptors I have no way to imagine the place. I found an English University website to help - see at the end of the post.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.

Inversnaid

THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

https://www.buckingham.ac.uk/english/sc ... inversnaid



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DWill, Harry Marks
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:02 am
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
I read Dwill's post about not too many poems being LOL Funny and believe it or not even though there are serious and thought provoking poems in my new poetry Book Titled "Move Over Shakespeare Tales From The Baron" which is in the featured book section on this site. There are a couple in there that my friends have read as they all bought a copy of course and they said their eyes were watering because they were laughing so hard while reading them. If you love poetry then click the picture of my book and read the reviews and then decide if you'd like to read what they were laughing about.



Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:17 pm
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Post Re: Parsing Poetry
Saffron wrote:
THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

Thanks for this intricately woven Hopkins piece. I have always enjoyed his ability to render sound in my head with his originality and his feel for the way the sounds of words can capture imagery and mood. And this is a great example.

As for the opening poem, I also picked up hints of old(er) age in the language, and I figure the references to birth as an image for death are meant to hold a bit of comedy cross-wise to the comedy of clambering in the window and then forgetting the point of it all. If we can't laugh at ourselves, I figure these older years I am entering are going to be a descent into nightmare.

I was just sneaking a read in Louise Penny, and one of the main characters observes to her friends that dementia in her mother came as blessed relief to the family, because the old lady forgot to love, but she also forgot to be angry. I suppose there is something to be said for forgetfulness.



Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:41 pm
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