Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Coral's Explication Poem - "Prague" by Christian Wiman

Poŝtolka (Prague)
Christian Wiman

When I was learning words                        
and you were in the bath
there was a flurry of small birds
and in the aftermath

of all that panicked flight,                                   5
as if the red dusk willed
a concentration of its light:
a falcon on the sill.

It scanned the orchard's bowers,
then pane by pane it eyed                                   10
the stories facing ours
but never looked inside.

I called you in to see.
And when you steamed the room
and naked next to me                                          15
stood dripping, as a bloom

of blood formed in your cheek
and slowly seemed to melt,
I could almost speak
the love I almost felt.                                          20

Wish for something, you said.
A shiver pricked your spine.
The falcon turned its head
and locked its eyes on mine.

For a long moment I'm still in                            25
I wished and wished and wished
the moment would not end.
And just like that it vanished.

--Coral's correct explication poem. (pg. 37)

     I'd like to put out first and foremost that this poem reminds me a lot of Katie's poem we read... maybe last Monday. I say this because of the last stanza mostly. That longing of having a special moment in life remain on forever made me think of Katie and how she wanted to keep the experience of her and her play/musical(?) going or to let it last longer than it did. (I'm sorry Katie, but I forgot the title of your poem. I think I wrote this kind of comment on my copy on the last stanza.)

     The general overview of the poem: The poem has seven stanzas, each consisting of four lines. There's quite a few enjamed lines in the pieces, primarily seen in the first stanza. There's one semicolon in the second stanza and a mostly italic line in the sixth stanza. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, but the poet Christian Wiman is an American poet from Texas. The word "bowers" from stanza 3, means, according to, "an attractive dwelling or retreat / a lady's private apartment in a medieval hall or castle  / a shelter (as in a garden) made with tree boughs or vines twined together." In this case, "bowers" may mean the first or third definition. Probably more the third definition then the first.

     One of the things I first noticed about this poem was the end-rhyme scheme. Most of the end-rhymes fall under the category of exact rhyme. The obvious exact rhymes are in stanza 1: "bath-aftermath," stanza 2: "flight-light," stanza 4: "room-bloom," "see-me," stanza 5: "melt-felt," stanza 6: "spine-mine," and stanza 7: "wished-vanished."

     The interesting rhymes in the poem are the ones than look like they shouldn't rhyme. but they do. Stanza 1: "words-birds," stanza 3: "bowers-ours," stanza 5:"cheek-speak," stanza 6: "said-head," and stanza 7: "in-end." When you read the words in your head, you don't expect them to rhyme since the voice in your head sometimes doesn't sound out the words properly. When I sounded them out for myself, I found that most of these lines did rhyme. I do note that "in-end" rhyme is a bit questionable, but I'll keep it here.

     This is a first person speaker kind of poem. There's two people in the poem: the speaker and a possible roommate, Friend Zone friend or possible lover, a sibling perhaps. I do not know what gender the speaker is and who the speaker may be living with. In my mind, I think the speaker is a woman and the person she's talking to is a man. There's not many cues in seeing the speaker as a woman and the other person as a man. "I called you in to see. / And when you steamed the room / and naked next to me / stood dripping, as a bloom / of blood formed in your cheek" (lines 13- 17). In my mind, I think it would be a funnier sight to see if the speaker was a woman.  And it kind of shows that the person she's with is willing to stop whatever he's doing and go to her (speaker) if she called to him. Also, the italic line 21 "Wish for something, you said," makes me think that that's something a guy would say. He's pretty embarrassed about his situation, so he may as well try and distract the speaker and the reader to make a wish on the falcon.

     Speaking of falcon, the falcon is a symbol of liberty, freedom and victory, kind of like the bald eagle for America. Since the title of the poem is "Prague," it makes me wonder what time period is taking place in this poem. Since the falcon is in this, it makes me think that the time period is either in before a major conflict is about to happen, an example of it being before the Germans invaded the Czech in 1939, or after a major conflict happened, maybe the end of the Cold War in the Czech. I'm not too sure of that theory, but I like it. Seeing that falcon may have been some kind of hopeful sign that there will be an end to the conflict and/or there will be a long standing peace in the country.

     I think my favorite line in the poem is the first line: "When I was learning words." This line kind of goes back up to my theory of the time period being somewhere before a major conflict happening or after a major conflict happened. It makes you wonder why the speaker was leaning words. And I like the idea of the speaker trying to learn words. I can't really articulate why I do, I just do.

     Little notes of random observation: 11 of the 28 lines of the poem start with "a" or an "a" word, a comma was used inside two lines in the whole poem (lines 16 and 21), the poem is mostly a flow of long sounding words where the only short breaks of the long sound came from the words with a "k" sound or a (slightly) harsh one syllable word: "panicked," "naked," "locked," "just." This pattern of mostly long sounding words make the poem feel dreamlike and the "k" sounds ground the poem into a bit of reality.

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