Sunday, March 9, 2014

David's Poetry Explication of "Blue" by Reginald Shepherd

Blue by Reginald Shepherd
See my colors fall apart? Green
to yellow with just one shade gone,
the changing tints of your sun-struck eyes,
if there were sun. Today the prism held to mine’s

a prison, locking in the light. In one of those mirrors
the colors are true. In one of these pictures the pigment’s
my own. The sound there is aquarelle and indigo,
and dripping distant water, the day’s habitual failure

to be anything substantial. Today a blank like color
by numbers, filled in with fog that frames the lake
in transient tones. That’s the color I mean, some mist
painting the shore pastel and pointillist

rain, painting the shadow between window and light. Today
each hue dissolves in humid air, transparency
I try to grasp and then let go, clear overflow
of waves on gravel. The mist with its single-dipped brush

smears itself across the canvas of the pines.
The pines, knowing no better, run together on a morning
palette. Today the scene’s dismantled, that can’t be
dismissed. I once was blind, but now

I see my landscape attenuate itself, drowned lake
of evergreens. On a morning like this with new crayons
I drew a man, that red valentine
in the side. The picture of two hands scrawling the outline

where only one thing’s missing; the crayons scattering
from childish fingers. Color me or leave me vacant

"Blue" by Reginald Shepherd is a poem that consists of seven stanzas, each with four lines except the last line which has two lines. Shepherd brings to mind many colors and many types of art with many different styles of sounds.
 The speaker appeals to the sense of sight many times in the poem. He/she mostly focuses on colors and types of art. The speaker names colors in this order: green, yellow, indigo, and red. The speaker also names types of art in this order: aquarelle, pastel, pointillist, and coloring. However, he doesn’t seem to use the color blue but in this case I think it’s okay which is explained later. The amount of metaphors that he/she uses really makes the poem fit and tie together. The imagery he uses is very powerful. With all his art metaphors, it makes the poem make sense. Like when he uses a “brush smears itself across the canvas of the pines.” It makes you think of all the hills and mountains you see with pines all over them. In addition to the color and art motifs, Shepherd also uses assonance and consonance.
             Shepherd seems to be using assonance in the first two lines when he uses a short O sound. This can found in the words: fAll, Apart, and gOne. In addition to assonance, Shepherd uses consonance. In the third to fifth stanza you hear a prominent S sound in “the changing tintS of your Sun-Stroke eyeS held to mineS a priSon.” This is also found in lines 12-13 when he writes “Painting the shore Pastel and Pointillist rain, Painting the shadow between window and light.” I really like when people play with sounds because the first time I read it I don’t really notice it but it triggers something in my mind. But after I examined it, Shepherd really plays with sounds a lot here.            
Overall I enjoy how Shepherd uses metaphors and motifs of art and utensils throughout his poem. It all ties the poem to one subject, but that is what confuses me about the poem. I try to understand the meaning of this poem but I can’t. All I get from this poem is the speaker seems empty almost as if he hasn’t finished a painting or color. I get this from the end of the first stanza where it says “the prism held to mine’s a prison, locking in the light” (Shepherd) like no light can enter and at the end where it says “Color me or leave me vacant” (Shepherd). I believe he is saying how empty life is but later he contradicts my idea by saying he once was blind but not anymore. I like that it leaves a sense of mystery or haziness when he used fog and mist in his poems. It’s almost as if he’s clouding my mind. Blue holds a certain weight and depth to its name. This haziness holds a depth to the poem.    

1 comment:

  1. I loved this poem! The use of imagery really grabs the reader and pulls him/her in. I think this poem is a person trying to let go of a traumatic event in his/her life, but just keeps falling back into the sadness and depression. For example, "I try to grasp and then let go" might be the speaker trying to come to an understanding of the situation, but then just gives up. Maybe by saying he once was blind, but not anymore, he's trying to show that the situation was blinding him and made him feel happy, but now that it's gone he's not happy anymore.


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