Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Final Poem Analysis

Throughout this poetry unit, there have been a lot of things that I didn't think I would like. But I actually really enjoyed the entire thing. When I first read my poem, I liked it well enough. It seemed a bit boring, all about fish and blue water. There wasn't a whole lot I could analyze with that. And I didn't have many questions. A few words here and there, words that were quite obscure to me, though they may be part of the vernacular of my poem's region. Upon closer examination they were not, however, they were just good, hard words. But as I progressed, I realized just how much there was to my seemingly simple fishy poem. I have learned so much from this entire process, not just the poem. I learned how to really look at something, how to incorporate other's ideas into my own, and how to fully understand something from multiple angles. From the poem itself I learned to respect nature and to recognize that everything has its own power. Going through all the different parts of this project has helped me understand everything about this poem so much better. I feel that I am better equipped to analyzing this poem now that I have completed all the parts of the project, and I am happy with how everything turned out. I believe I have learned a lot and, especially within the context of the project, have found out much about my poem.

There were always a few lines that really stood out to me. "a dark/veil kabala surrounding by whorls/of worship..." (Brathwaite 17-19).  This was slightly confusing to me at first, as the poem seemed light and calm. It was meant to be this way, having this jarring stanza put in to emphasize how dark the humans are. Humans are the dark religion, and we are leaving our stain on the world as we sap its resources. This was also made obvious later in the poem, when it says, "...there are great ob/-long blotches like a stain/of milk & a great spider spreading itself along the pale glazing bottom of/the water" (Brathwaite 36-39). At first I saw this as a good thing, despite the use of the spider imagery. I thought it meant starting over, making a mark but essentially beginning again from scratch. My view on this has changed dramatically from how it was before. Now I still think that it is starting again, but in a horrible way. It shows how humankind is taking over the oceans, making its mark, and slowly but surely erasing everything in nature to put in cities and make everything conform to how it wants. My new idea is supported by the lines that say, "until there is what shd not be here/on the water/white/footsteps of sand from the bottom of the ocean/become the thin road to Eleuthera..." (Brathwaite 10-14). Humans should not be there. Also there is the color white used again, showing the beginning again and starting afresh ideas. By forcing everything to start over the way we humans want it, we are actually harming everything irreparably so it can never go back to the way it was before. The way it was before was infinitely better, because everything was doing what it needed to do. Fish were going about their merry business, the water was clean and blue, there were no humans there and none were needed. And because we feel the need to impose our will on everything, there is no going back to that. 

One of the steps of the project was doing an interview with someone at least twenty years older than yourself. I interviewed my mother, and what she said was very interesting and helped shape my ideas. She said, "I think it represents the passage of time and the thought of that, you know, the oceans were here long before we were here, they're gonna be here longer than we'll ever be here." That changed my view of the entire poem and everything it represented. Suddenly I could see the changes, how everything in the poem fell neatly into a cycle of time. At first, everything is calm and cool. "First the dark meer/begins to breathe gently into green/into light & light green..." (Brathwaite 1-3). This represents the beginning of time, and the Caribbean oceans. I learned a lot form my research of the poem and the author. He lives in the Caribbean, and the water there is gorgeous. It makes you think of mermaids and magic and the world being born. But then there are bad things, poison things in the water. "until there is suddenly a black stone/a dark/veil kabala..." (Brathwaite 16-18). This is the arrival of humans, tainting the water with their black stone and dark religion. I did see this at first, but now I can see how it fits in with everything else and it doesn't confuse me anymore. This quote shows how people are truly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, when the ocean could have continued doing fine on its own without all of the humans and their rules. But finally, at the end, there is peace once more, even with the humans and their darkness. "this great planet passing upwards towards us/out this silence & drifting & blessing of the water" (Brathwaite 39-40). Again, there is the concept of religion, which I did not notice until my mom pointed it out, only this time it has a good connotation. This time it feels as though the planet is going to be okay. Although it does sound like it's going to swallow us up and that's why it will be fine. But silence and drifting bring to mind the very beginning of the poem, of the merging and the colors. The poem is a circle. 

Looking at the poem through the lens of this project has been an experience. Through all the different parts, I have learned something different. The research afforded me a look into the life of my author, who was a lot more scholarly and prolific than I had expected. This expectation was based on absolutely nothing but the poem itself, but one poem is by no means an accurate measure of someone's overall amount of intelligence or amount of writings as an author. In my interview with my mom, my entire perspective of the poem changed, which was wonderful for my understanding it properly. She said a lot of interesting things, one of them being, "...humans are encroaching on nature, and we should...not." This is what I was saying, but I didn't see it as pushing nature away, like she did. I saw it more as destroying nature, but when you think of pushing something away, usually you aren't trying to destroy it. Talking about the poem with my mom helped me see things in both a harsher light, with the poem being about inevitable death by ocean, but at the same time like humans didn't quite mean to ruin everything. We just did. Even with this final analysis, I am still learning the more I ramble. I think I will also learn a lot from my presentation. One of the lines I plan on talking about is, "...10 thousand years later there are trees/glistening sunlight & listening rain & white streets...." (Brathwaite 32-33). This shows everything I want to prove with my poem. There is nature reclaiming what the humans have done, and there is another mention of white, showing the clean slate. Also, for my presentation, I have to have a metaphor. My metaphor is fish-shaped seeded paper pieces. You can actually plant the paper and wildflowers will grow. They are shaped like fish because fish are mentioned in the poem a lot. "...this fish.from the air of so many so many untangles..." (Brathwaite 30-31). That's the best fish line. It makes me think of a fish untangling itself from a net or getting free from a plastic bag that's wrapped around it. The seeded paper is a way to give back to the earth by planting flowers, and it looks nice too. Respect nature, help it along, and it won't eat you.

I am sad to leave this project behind. I enjoyed the majority of the work, despite the fact that it was, in fact, work. Learning about my poet was fun. On the day I did the blog post about him was actually the day after his birthday. He turned 83. But reading a poem by such a well-established author that I had never heard of, simply because he was from a different culture, came as a bit of a shock to me as well. I learned a lot more from it than I thought I would. I also got to talk to my mom. I do talk to her quite often, but this time it was about something meaningful and not just something like what I did at school. I learned a lot more than I thought I would from that conversation as well. I began looking at the poem in a whole new way, and I got an interesting look into how my mom looks at things differently from me. I'm not exactly looking forward to my presentation on Friday, but I wasn't looking forward to this analysis either, and I feel pretty good about this. I just intensely dislike public speaking, but it's something I'll have to get over. I will miss this project and all of the learning I did from it, but I learned a lot of skills that will be helpful forever.