FC: My Poetry Portfolio By Ying Period 5
1: Poetry Terms.....................................................2-5 "Birches" by Robert Frost .........................6-9 Poetry Analysis of "Birches"..........10-17 Original Narrative..............................18-22 Original Ode...........................................23-27 | Table of Contents
2: Poetry Terms: Poetry Terms | 1. Enjambment: The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the next line or couplet without a pause. An example of enjambment is: "I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree." Enjambment comes from the French word for "to straddle." from Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees".
3: 2. Antithesis: A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. For example, "to err is human, to forgive, divine." by Alexander Pope
4: 3. Conceit: An ingenious and fanciful notion or conception, usually expressed through an elaborate analogy, and pointing to a striking parallel between two seemingly dissimilar things. A conceit may be a brief metaphor, but it also may form the framework of an entire poem. An elaborate, fanciful metaphor, especially of a strained or far-fetched nature. An example is: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date." The excerpt is from "Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer's Day" by William Shakespeare. | Poetry Terms cont'd
6: Poetry Analysis "Birches" By Robert Frost WHEN I see the birches bend to left and right Across the line of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging then. But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them (5) Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel . Soon The sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells. (10) Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust— Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed (15)
7: So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. (20) But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm (Now am I free to be poetical?) I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows— (25) Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father's trees By riding them down over and over again (30) Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away (35)
8: "Birches" cont'd... Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, (40) Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. So was I once myself a swinger of birches; And so I dream of going back to be. It's when I'm weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood (45) Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig's having lashed across it open. I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. (50)
9: May no fate wilfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, 55 And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. 60
10: Poetry Analysis TPCASTT: Title: This poem may be describing what birches are like in all seasons and weathers. It might be telling a story of the birch's life as it goes through the seasons. Paraphrase: The author is talking about birches and wondering and hoping that instead of snow storms bending them, a boy who always plays on them does it. Connotations: In lines six to seven, there is enjambment used. He starts one thought on one line then continues and ends it on the next: "loaded with ice a sunny winter morning/After a rain." His initial thought, "loaded with ice a sunny winter morning after a rain", has been seperated so this thought continues on two lines. The author uses imagery in lines 11-15: "Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells/ Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--/ Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away/ You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen."
11: "They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, /And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed..." He describes it in such detail that this scene seems to be much more than it actually is. The speaker uses a simile in lines nineteen and twenty to compare the birches "trailing their leaves on the ground" (line 18) to "girls on hands and knees that throw their hair before them over their heads to dry in the sun." (lines 19-20). This way, the readers can also connect with previous experiences to this description. He personifies "Truth" as a person, where "she" is "matter-of-fact" whereas "Truth" does not really have a personality or feelings and is actually just an abstract idea. He says: "But I was going to say when Truth broke in/ With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm" (lines 21-22) and he goes on to say he "prefers to have some boy bend them" (line 24). Starting from line forty-five to forty-eight, the speaker uses a simile to compare life as a pathless wood where "your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs/ Broken across it, and one eye is weeping/
12: From a twig's having lashed across it open". There is also an example of imagery in this excerpt. This could be the portion of life where he realizes that his childhood cannot last and he must face his responsibilities. In line forty: "Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish...", the author uses onomatopoeia "swish" to describe the sound with which the boy makes when he jumps "through the air to the ground" (line 41). In the first line, "when I see birches bend to left and right", this could be referring to a person's childhood. Children are innocent and listen to authorities since they hold more power than themselves. Birches bend left and right because of the strong winds. Contrarily, in the second line, "across the line of straighter darker trees", this could symbolize adulthood because the adjective "darker" could mean that the tree has matured, and white can be a color that symbolizes innocence (and birches are white) which we connect more to children. He says "straighter" because these "grown-up" trees don't bend to, for example, the wind's will and can stand up straight by themselves, whereas, birches are smaller giving the feeling that they are younger. In lines forty-two and forty-three, the speaker says: "So was I once myself a swinger of birches;/
13: And so I dream of going back to be" which could mean that he wants his childhood back and his days of freedom as well. In line forty-nine, he says: "I'd like to get away from earth awhile/ And then come back to it and begin over" which could mean, going back to childhood. Then he says starting from line fifty-five: "I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,/ And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk/ Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,/ But dipped its top and set me down again./ That would be good both going and coming back." This could mean that he doesn't actually want to stay a child. He would like to experience the carefree life of childhood once again but Frost doesn't actually want to stay that way, he still values his life as an adult as well. From line 25 to 41, he is using imagery in chunks. For example, line 25-28 and line 29 to half of 33. Each time he is describing a new scene and what the boy is doing next and what his activities are. He spends so much time describing the play of the boy because he wants to let us connect to what the boy is experiencing, Frost wants readers to really associate themselves with him. He uses the metaphor "with the same pains you use to fill a cup/ up to the brim, and even above the brim" (38-39)
14: to describe how the boy "kept his poise" (36) and to tell us how the boy was taking such pains for what adults might think are irrelevant to the future. That also emphasizes a difference in priorities in adults and children which also leads up to the last line because "one could do worse than be a swinger of birches" tells adults to let children act like children and give them freedom to grow up and learn some things by themselves. Robert Frost also uses "you" at various places in the poem. He may be doing this to be more intimate with the reader. The reader may be more inclined to remember and connect to the poem based on their own experiences similar to the situations laid out in the poem. He uses personification on the trees in line 29: "one by one he subdued his father's trees". "Subdued" is word used mainly on humans when they have been "subdued" or controlled and tempered. This may be because Frost wants to tell readers that the boy played so on the birches, that they were utterly subdued by him. The last line, line 60, says: "one could do worse than be a swinger of birches". This line is very important in this poem. The "swinger of birches"
15: is speaking about the young boys who represent the innocent childhood of our lives, they represent naivete and simplicity. Robert Frost could mean that one could do worse than be irresponsible and without a care in the world. Adults who always chide their children for being reckless should understand that their children should appreciate their childhood and cherish those moments where they can do whatever they want. The little boys playing in the birches have not any problems to ponder and stress over about. Attitude: Overall speaking, Robert Frost seems to be very contemplative and ruminative, both during the stanzas where he describes the birches and little boys as well as when he even more reflective towards the end.
16: Shifts: There is a major shift between line 41 where Robert Frost says: "kicking his way down throught the air to the ground" and line 42: "So was I once myself a swinger of birches" He goes from being descriptive and using a lot of imagery to reflective and almost brooding and musing. This is even more visible in the following lines. In the beginning, he was very descriptive about the ice storm and then to the description of boys playing on the birches. After line 42, he becomes pensive. Theme: The message he seems to be getting across is to enjoy life to its fullest extent and live through childhood with no regrets because it's impossible relive any part of life. No matter how much you want go back or change something, it's impossible. Title: I believe he chose the title "Birches" because birches symbolize purification and protection (http://www.photo vault.com/Link/Food/PlantsHerbsSymbolism.html). This quite befitting considering if the poem compared birches to children, children need protection and are pure.
18: Narrative Poem: "The Man and His Story" There once lived a man sorrowful and pitiful, All the townspeople jeered and hated him, He the very picture of failure. Children threw rocks and garbage at the poor old man, He glared with an expression so grim. He almost easily accepted his ill-fate, With an expression of a martyr—so austere. Though one day a girl so pretty and prim, Knocked on his shabby old door. She asked, “What made you so severe?” The man looked at her, so young a face, Her innocence made him remember, His pitiful past and shameful memories Of the woman whom he once loved. “Go away!” he snarled with a glower.
19: But day after day she went up to his door, To pester him the same question as the day before: “What made you so grim, to glower so, at every one person?” And only to answer with the same glare yesterday, “I’m lonely and angry; I don’t need your rapport!” But she came again, this time in pink little dress and pink satin bow, Carrying a basket of flowers and sweets, then let herself in. “Tell me your story, however sad, I want to hear.” Her flowers and presence brightened the room, The man felt nostalgic all at once, “Will you listen?” So he told her his story of love and despair and hurt. He poured out his story and she listened with care. There once was a beautiful lady of position, who ran away from her home. At that time he was still young and asked her to share Her problems.
20: The Man and His Story cont'd And so their story starts of fun and adventure, Each day was brimming with happiness. Never would he foresee, The day she would betray him, The day he would curse his gentleness. It started off as a regular day, The sun was shining like never before, As he sat at their usual spot, Daydreaming about his and her love. She arrived by curiously downcast as she opened the door. He wondered what was wrong as he beckoned her near, She walked to his seat and kneeled at his side, “Goodbye,” she whispered, “goodbye…” Utterly confused, perhaps not wanting to hear the truth, “Goodbye,” she whispered, “goodbye…”
21: She finally fell in love with her Prince Charming, He was a passing whim, merely a friend To her. He was smitten with an unrequited love. The old man sighed now after remembering the past, “This is the story’s end.” The girl stood up and walked to his seat to kneel at his side, She said, “Hello again, hello, did you forget me?” The man utterly confused, perhaps not wanting to hear the truth, As he recognized the girl. “ 'Forgive me, my dear, forgive me’ is her little plea.” The girl then stood up and walked out the door, With a small wave and a smile. “See you again.” She said so clear. And like a small bird she danced out his door. He picked up a single rose from her batch and looked at it for a while…
22: He walked out the door with purpose and dignity, The villagers just looked at his new appearance. Dressed in rags, yet with a different air, Walking with confidance down to the manor, Walking towards it, he gathered his perseverance. He looked once again at his single rose, An old lady looked at him from a window intently, He placed it on the marble steps. The old man looked the old lady behind her curtain. He waved and smiled gently.
23: Ode Poem: "Ode to the Morning" The moon calls out to the sun, "Wake up, wake up," he says, With each blinking of a disappearing star. "We are going back to bed!" The sun slowy rises, Being a lazy waker, Ever so slowly do his rays hit the earth. As if to thank him, the tree's leaves quiver. The orchestra of morning sounds, In my ear, I hear the wind chimes ringing and it soft accompaniment: the melody of an angel, The quiet sound one bird singing.
24: The leaves and branches are hit with a golden light. Every leaf has an opportunity to shimmer in brilliance. For after lying dormant in the night, They are ready to dance once again in the spotlight. Looking at the now piercing blue sky, It hurts to turn back into my dark room, What a gift it is to be able to fly; To dive right into that neverending sky. Ode to the morning, The prelude of another day, What a glorious way to start another beginning. Life portrayed by the piercing light. Ode to the pristine Lady, Who travels afar, To sprinkle drops of sparkling beauty, Upon the green grasses of the land.
25: The fresh green air, Almost able to taste it, The lands far and beyond stripped bare, Except for the asters and buttercups. How great it must be, To live in the dawn of morning Always. Time stops as she Herself watches her partner's light. He rounds up his steeds to watch the earth Below him. He washes away their shadows. They laught in mirth-- No darkness haunting them with every step. He finally finishes his rounds, As he sits on the mountaintops to rest, As He listens to the night's sounds He pulls up his covers of clouds.
26: The day gone, People tire, people sleep, Perhaps the heavens weep, During the night. But even after the night, Will you come back to shine your light?