22 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
    1. Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state, I stand within her walls with not a shred Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.

      This sounds more hopeful than ambivalent, and shows an ability to confront injustice without shame or fear.

    1. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,”

      The dream of being incorporated into the whole of American society was not yet achieved in Hughes time, and has gotten worse in the last 4 decades.

    1. The family attend a fashionable church where few really colored faces are to be found. And they themselves draw a color line. In the North they go to white theaters and white movies.

      Though he is poignant on this point, he is not recognizing the last 10,000+ years of human history. The underlying theme has almost always been "Us v. Them". I agree with him, but see far more negatives than positives anytime an overt or covert separation occurs. Skin color? Religion? Gender? Age? All are more irrelevant to the whole than they are defining.

  2. Oct 2016
    1. But dry sterile thunder without rain

      No water = No life.

    2. Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell

      Never ignore the residents of nature. They usually have a far better idea what is coming than the transient humans who meander into their realm.

    3. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song

      For "The Fire Sermon", and the associated imagery of the normally trash laden and polluted Thames. Eliot muses of earlier times with his father fishing, only interrupted by one solitary rat (cue "Wharf Rat" by the Grateful Dead...), so it would seem as this were an idealized version of memory. There is also reference to "the river Leman", but it does not meet the regular word meaning. Feels more like the river in Dante's Purgatory, or perhaps in the Klingon ritual of Gre'thor, by riding a barge on the river Skral. The traditional meaning of "sweetheart" does not seem to apply here.

    4. Flung their smoke into the laquearia

      Laquearia has two meanings, both of which fit here. One is for a ceiling made of panels, while the other one involves the boisterous vocal incantations of a hard-drinking orator.

    5. Under the brown fog of a winter dawn

      Winter is indeed a cruel season, particularly in London. Most do not recognize this, but London is at the same latitude of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Cold, dark, damp, and absolutely miserable. The "brown fog" gives sensory impression of it being sufficiently polluted.to remove any concept of morning purity.

    1. reared by the state

      This passage adds to the grim nature of the poem, allowing the reader to consider circumstances so desperate that being "rescued" by the state equates to being subjected to indentured servitude. Sadly, this is far more accurate, in far more places, than most people can comprehend.

  3. Sep 2016
    1. .

      Anyone who has had nasty wallpaper can somewhat feel what she is expressing, but her cross between mental illness and PTSD-esque resignation o her diminishing state is rather bleak to envision.

    2. The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village

      This passage has personal meaning for me because life away from urbanity is preferable to the cacophony of noise found in city life. Far more restful and acceptable.

    1. The rains have tunnelled like an aspen tree

      This is an odd image for the context of the poem. I have been up-close-and-personal with many aspen trees, and have been subjected to ever possible type of rain. I find it very difficult to envision this except as a fantasy from someone who has little experience with either. The rest of the poem has fluidity, but this phrase is nonsensical.

    1. Then took the other

      Decisions, decisions... This is one of the best known poems by an American artist. With simply taking the lesser traveled path, Frost diverges from the status quo and proclaims himself a free-thinker unencumbered by popular conventions. Simplicity with a great depth to it.

    2. Elves

      There is an implicit absurdity in the concept of elves that makes you smile at this phrase. All of the related details about "good fences" is generally true, but there is also an inherent intransigence some people display that kills every possible argument before it begins. If the neighbor refuses to consider alternatives, the whole conversation is rendered moot before anything is said. This touch of humor adds to the credibility of the piece because we all have family members, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, or other people we regularly interact with who are absolutely stuck with singular ideas. Are we capable of changing their mind? Does it matter? In the case of this fence, it is better to leave it up and wait for Hobbits to move in next door.

    1. Tiering

      This is a perfect word for this connotation. When I think of tiers my mind goes immediately to San Quentin and Folsom, where human beings are shelved on inhumane tiers. The act of "tiering" is essentially the same as that of a refuse pit: you keep adding more trash until the oldest has rotted away, or seeped through the cracks. In this piece, poets and kings are treated with disdain for their lack of bringing about positive change.

    2. alnage

      This is one of the most obscure words I have ever seen in any English or literature class. "A measure of cloth with official inspection; fee for such measurement." In this poem's context, it appears to decry the loneliness found by those who toil away their youth in the sweatshops.

    1. village

      The "Village" implies a mass of people who coexist within a greater body politic. It does not matter if it is a town of 20 people in Southern Utah, or a neighborhood in New York City. There is an implicit and explicit relationship between all members of the collective, as well as any visitors to this particular locale.

    2. ninety–six

      Whether used as a measure of age, percentage, or any of the other possible uses, 96 is a remarkable number. Here, it is denoting an old man's age, in an era when few lived to 60. There is both a reverence to the narrator's knowledge and to his presumed experience. The citations noted also give both the narrator and the author significant literary credibility for their "life" in the mythical hamlet of Spoon River.

    3. Triolet

      Not being a poet, I had no idea this term refers to an eight line poem with a particular rhyme scheme. One would tend to think the "Trio-" indicates three, but other than having three particular lines rhyming, I wonder what the root of the word derives from.

    1. The secret of education still hid itself somewhere behind ignorance, and one fumbled over it as feebly as ever. In such labyrinths, the staff is a force almost more necessary than the legs; the pen becomes a sort of blind-man’s dog, to keep him from falling into the gutters. The pen works for itself, and acts like a hand, modelling the plastic material over and over again to the form that suits it best.

      Education is indeed an existential exploration of personal and societal ignorance. Whether it is fully embraced or not, and how it is incorporated into further explorations and/or studies, depends on the interest of the individual. If such explorations are embraced by the body politic, or are rapidly suppressed, depends on the time, place, and ideologies currently accepted.

    2. This summer his health was poor and his spirits were low. For such a temper, Adams was not the best companion, since his own gaiety was not folle; but he risked going now and then to the studio on Mont Parnasse to draw him out for a stroll in the Bois de Boulogne, or dinner as pleased his moods, and in return St. Gaudens sometimes let Adams go about in his company.

      Interesting description of Adams' mentality during personal suffering.

  4. Aug 2016
    1. West Virginia to Kiss My Ass

      My natural parents were from there and my father escaped the coal mines by becoming a highly decorated Special Forces soldier in Vietnam. These six words hit really close to home...