"A Letter in October" by Ted Kooser:Dawn comes later and later now, and I, who only a month agocould sit with coffee every morning watching the light walk down the hill to the edge of the pond and place a doe there, shyly drinking,then see the light step out upon the water, sowing reflections to either side—a gardenof trees that grew as if by magic—now see no more than my face, mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,startled by time. While I slept, night in its thick winter jacket bridled the doe with a twistof wet leaves and led her away,then brought its black horse with harness that creaked like a cricket, and turnedthe water garden under. I woke, and at the waiting window found the curtains open to my open face; beyond me, darkness. And I,who only wished to keep looking out, must now keep looking in.
"Broken Languages" by t.c.p.my mother has lived here for decadesand speaks only kind thoughtsbut nobody is willingto look at kindness."your english is -"and they never finish what they sayas if they are afraidof cutting themselves.i learned to make my bedfrom shards of glassand find warm in themregardless.youwho uses my homeas a weapon(i will never forgive that)and the next time you laughi hope youchokeon your mother tongue -i hope it feelsas foreign to you as it doeswhen you tell themthey don't belong.
"Falling and Flying" by Jack GilbertEveryone forgets that Icarus also flew.It’s the same when love comes to an end,or the marriage fails and people saythey knew it was a mistake, that everybodysaid it would never work. That she wasold enough to know better. But anythingworth doing is worth doing badly.Like being there by that summer oceanon the other side of the island whilelove was fading out of her, the starsburning so extravagantly those nights thatanyone could tell you they would never last.Every morning she was asleep in my bedlike a visitation, the gentleness in herlike antelope standing in the dawn mist.Each afternoon I watched her coming backthrough the hot stony field after swimming,the sea light behind her and the huge skyon the other side of that. Listened to herwhile we ate lunch. How can they saythe marriage failed? Like the people whocame back from Provence (when it was Provence)and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,but just coming to the end of his triumph.
One commonality I found between the three poems I posted above were - besides their beauty - their insights, initially focused on identities and stories that others know, and then the identities and stories they themselves are beginning to form or understand. When we form our identities, whether or not someone else's idea of you is truly relevant to who you actually are as an individual is not always the point of importance; in any case, we often look to someone else's idea of us as a starting point, or else we look inwards in order to understand how we feel about these perceived identities and what we wish to do about them.When I was a younger I would feel indignant whenever someone seemed to misunderstand something about my character, whether it was a major or minor aspect of my character. It was even worse when someone would act like s/he completely understood me - to me, that assumption only betrayed the fact that s/he did not know me at all. The struggle of trying to understand who I am was already difficult enough - I didn't appreciate being trapped within these assumptions, positive or negative. I still don't appreciate it; however, I have come to learn that we all have ideas of other people and that it isn't really possible to do away with them altogether. What we can do, however, is listen to ourselves and listen to each others so that we can come to conclusions based on understanding rather than assumptions.
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Lovely poems, Amanda. They are all beautifully worded and thematically expressive - even on first read. I particularly enjoyed Kooser's "A Letter in October", the way he uses nature to draw the reader's focus from the external to the internal. I felt it defined the growth process you illustrated in the other two postings and outlined in your comments. I couldn't agree more with your final statement. It reminded me of an experience I had when I was out walking once that prompted me to write the poem I’ll post now.
Sunday Morning in Glenbrook Park:New Westminster, B. C. by Louise BrechtWalking. January skies hang leaden, weeping. Tears of silver rain paint my face, dance down, drain away. The path curves up, carved between steep banks laden with trees, canopy gone. I duck into the ravine. Maples, alders stand in stark surrender, dark arms up-stretched, stripped bare. Dead leaves at their feet. Tattered mounds of rotted rust. Shots of green. Here, the deep pile of velvet moss crawls up thick trunks, creeps over thin branches bowed with moisture. There, dark ivy vines snake through the underbrush, slither up, around everything in their path. Overhead, their leaves glisten, drip. Tumbling water. The torrent rushes downhill. Knots of ferns dot the black hillsides. Coyotes live there; I’ve heard their night cries. Chickadee calls, distant in the downpour. Easy to miss the sewer line. Manmade. Heavy, round metal lids screwed into concrete blocks, scattered up the trail. Back mould, crusted moss. This one has numbers etched in its side. There are numbers in concrete blocks up there too. To the left. Behind the tree tops. Straight up. The cemetery. Forty-seven bodies of penitentiary inmates nobody wanted. Graves close together. No names. No dates. No stories. Only numbers etched in concrete blocks. I found them once, hidden in tangles of blackberry brambles, mangled wire fences littered with rusted leaves. Overgrown with dead grass. Someone left a wreath for #880. It said his name was Johnny Peter, that he died on January 31, 1913, that he was convicted for carrying a rifle for a murder committed with a shotgun. It said he was not guilty. Walking, I think of the numbers. Clouds, steel grey.
Morning in the Burned HouseMargaret AtwoodIn the burned house I am eating breakfast.You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,yet here I am.The spoon which was melted scrapes against the bowl which was melted also.No one else is around.Where have they gone to, brother and sister,mother and father? Off along the shore,perhaps. Their clothes are still on the hangers,their dishes piled beside the sink,which is beside the woodstovewith its grate and sooty kettle,every detail clear,tin cup and rippled mirror.The day is bright and songless,the lake is blue, the forest watchful.In the east a bank of cloud rises up silently like dark bread. I can see the swirls in the oilcloth,I can see the flaws in the glass,those flares where the sun hits them.I can't see my own arms and legsor know if this is a trap or blessing,finding myself back here, where everythingin this house has long been over,kettle and mirror, spoon and bowl,including my own body,including the body I had then,including the body I have nowas I sit at this morning table, alone and happy,bare child's feet on the scorched floorboards(I can almost see)in my burning clothes, the thin green shortsand grubby yellow T-shirtholding my cindery, non-existent,radiant flesh. Incandescent.
This poem was published in 1995, a long time after the author left home, but it made me think about my own life and the place I grew up. My parents are currently in the process of moving out of the house we lived in for twelve years, where me and my sisters grew up, which is why I think this poem resonated with me, especially lines like "including the body I had then/ including the body I have now/ as I sit at this morning table, alone and happy." It just made me think about how we change as we grow up and experience space differently, but how our attachment to our home can strongly affect our identity and our understanding of ourselves.
I keep referring back to the same poem, This Heavy Craft by P.K. Page as I feel like my own interpretation of it is very reminiscent of the ambivalence with which I tend to view myself in. The wax has meltedbut the dream of flight persists.I, Icarus, though grounded in my fleshhave one bright section in me where a bird night after starry nightwhile I'm asleep unfolds its phantom wingsand practicesWhat I really appreciate about Page's poem is the openness with which it can be viewed. On my first reading I considered it to be a poem of mockery and defeat. Sort of symbolic of a dream or vision that one cannot fully attain while the bird, being able to carry out the dream, asserts its "dominance" by unfolding its wings and flying. It reminded me of the days where hard work and desire just don't seem to be enough to entertain success. However, upon further readings I changed my perception of the bird to be a part of the speaker, and therefore embodies the hope and determination that is expected in achieving ones dream. Instead of being a cruel mockery, the bird symbolizes the perseverance and power we all wield to live out our dreams and aspirations. I relate this to my own life and my own identity because of how I often view my desired trajectory of life, school, careers etc. On my good days the bird is inside me, reminding me that I can and will succeed. However, bad days the bird is detached and seizes to let me forget that I'm not quite where I want to be yet.
As I Grew Older by Langston HughesIt was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun— My dream. And then the wall rose, Rose slowly, Slowly, Between me and my dream. Rose until it touched the sky— The wall. Shadow. I am black. I lie down in the shadow. No longer the light of my dream before me, Above me. Only the thick wall. Only the shadow. My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! Help me to shatter this darkness, To smash this night, To break this shadow Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams Of sun!
Hughes begins by explaining that he once had a dream that was "bright like a sun" in front of him. One day that dream was shattered and a vast wall rose in front of him. He decided to "lie down in the shadow" and give up as the light of his once great dream had vanished. He wanted to destroy this wall, to "find [my] dream" and "shatter this darkness". Langston Hughes contains African American descent, and thus this poem is about the struggles African American men and women had to face in the United States. His dream was not lost, however, he simply just couldn't see it anymore. At the end of the poem, Hughes uses angry language to display his violent approach to shatter the wall. Earlier in the poem he uses shadow to display his African American descent. The second half of the poem displays this violent language, which then may be understood that if Hughes pursues this approach, he understands if he fails there will still be good in the search for this lost dream.
Into This Fractal Momentby Gil RaffInto this fractal momentI find myself again, Having been here beforeA chrysalis multiplied in mirrorsReflecting itself in identitiesVastly changed by minute alterations, So different that, if you hesitate one instantYou will be gone, evaporated.Silent whisper of scalesFalling from the butterfly wingsDrifting weightless reflectionsOf parallel selves, Non-existent but potent inhabitants of dreamsWilling histories into beingNonevents into eventsPossibilities so yearned for, that, wakingWe sleepwalk forward, seeking that momentWhen chance will favor usAnd we will wake anew. The idea of "identity" as only one reflection of a multitude of reflections of a person is what fascinates me about this poem. Usually, identities are referred to what lies beneath the surface or what the mirror itself reflects. Instead, it breaks down identities to momentary actions,decisions, and habits--something that is ever changing, expanding, collapsing, and continuously transforming itself. The comparison of these "minute alterations" to the metamorphosis of a butterfly reflects humanity's desire to find beauty within themselves, to be able to fly to new places and horizons--occupying the same body, but with something different altogether. Identity becomes something that can be morphed and adjusted in order to fit a niche, until it reaches its full potential, its true self. That's when the multitudes of reflections shatter, and the mirror image of the "identity" is replaced with the self-growth and maturation of the individual.
“Ozymandias” written by Percy Shelley is a poem that focuses around an unnamed narrator who discovers an old sculpture that was once, as readers could imagine, large and grand. Instead of a monument to Ozymandias, what remains is a “colossal wreck, boundless and bare”. I often identity with Ozymandias. I think it goes without saying that people have a tendency to be swollen with pride and I confess I am the same. We seem to be focussed so much about leaving our mark on the world and trying to create a legacy. Instead, I feel that this poem teaches us to be more focussed on our present, rather than trying to create an image by force. I think that it is better to leave a great memory, a lasting influence on people rather than to try to create a statue or something tangible in one’s own image. Poem: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/ozymandias
Mr. Chinaski? -- John CleggAm I allowed to talk about it yet?Ya know, about not being able to write, properly at least.Or going mad.Crazy.Looney.Just plain old insane.Am I allowed to talk about it yet?About Bukowski,talking about a narrator whotalks about Hemingway,Celine,Dostoyevsky,and Hamsun?Am I allowed to talk about it yet?How I haven’t had a poempublished since my last one,and my last one (which is my first one) isforthcoming, or so they say.Am I allowed to talk about it yet?Am I even allowed towrite this down? Will theacademy come get me? I guess I’ll go crazy in my own way.Different than Bukowski andHemingway. UnlikeHamsun,Dostoyevsky,and Celine.PS: This sounds super show-offy (even if it's nothing to brag about, which it isn't) but since I don't have any sort of social media I feel the need to do this for people that put faith in me. My poetry is forthcoming in The Feathertale Review (feathertale.com) and The Warren, both are Canadian journals that appreciate any and all readers. Both are excellent reads (outside of my own work) and would surely benefit from your viewing. Thanks!
When we are in a relationship, I feel that it is easy to allow that significant other to become part of our identity. This is a poem I wrote about loss, and what happens to our identity after that loss.A girl cried in the walls of her bedroomShe said:Why we chose to say goodbye is more complex than anyone will knowEven with farewell you uttered you loved me so My mind consists of clouds of racing emotionThen it briefly feels peace, remembering the love we had chosenKind, simple, sweet, withstanding tragic obstacle Through you I was taught the most important lessons to tackleHow to love unselfishly and be a companion without greedThen I feel anger at the thought that you did leaveI ask, “What good would that make?” And, “Is this really the path I will choose to take?”You have already given me more than I could ask When you loved me and stayedA boy held on to a string of fleeting memoriesIn the depth of his heart he felt a pure, painful messHe said: I miss you so muchI miss the way we would cuddle on a misty, rainy dayI reminisce on how you made my heart pound and raceI miss your dorky smile and your affectionate hugsThe light scent of your skin and the warmth of your touchNow, I believe I must let you go But because of age and naivety I truly continue to believe and hope Imagine the future we said we would haveLong for the plans we promised would always last In my heart and not in my life is where I will keep youYour journey without me will be free and trueThe kind of paths you will takeThose sweet choices you will makeI sincerely pray for happiness with whatever life gives you to face Because when it is unconditional it is trueI could never think anything less of you.
"Who am I you may well askI really wish I knewIf I am not myself at allThen maybe I am youTo discover who I really amIs really quite a taskMaybe I am someone elseWho wears a funny maskI strive so hard to know myselfTo discover the “real me”My thoughts and feelings all confusedYet still I cannot seeWhat makes me tick?What makes me feel?So very special and uniqueMy purpose in this glorious worldIs what I truly seekI wish I could be creative, self confident and smartNot quiet, shy and insecureEmotional at heartI wish I had the confidence to say what I really feelInstead of fearing criticismUttering words that seem unrealWhy at times do I feel so aloneAnd just yearn for a friendly faceWhile at others I just long to beIn some far off distant placeWith no one else to bother meAnd disturb my rambling thoughts,Until my conscience brings me backTo do the things I oughtAnd so I continue on my wayOn this journey they call lifeI try to do the best I canThough at times the goings toughI’ll do my part to refine the worldAnd make it a better placeBy being “me” to my capacityWith each trial I have to face" - Faigie RabinDiscovering identity and self-worth is something that we all struggle with in life. We are given so many opportunities to discover who we are, and through this, we are able to identify with different things. Whether that be with other people, objects, animals, concepts, theories, art, etc. From these different forms, as individuals, we are able to structure who we are. But it must also be recognized that reality can be difficult at times and that there are struggles that we all endure while on the path of finding ourselves and identity.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—This debt we pay to human guile;With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,And mouth with myriad subtleties.Why should the world be over-wise,In counting all our tears and sighs?Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask.We smile, but, O great Christ, our criesTo thee from tortured souls arise.We sing, but oh the clay is vileBeneath our feet, and long the mile;But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask!Paul Laurence Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask" uses masks as a metaphor for identity. In this case, the context of the poem refers to the oppression of African-Americans in the late 19th Century. While masks can be often used to portray positive aspects of our personality, Dunbar criticizes this. He explains how African-Americans were using masks to hide their true selves and their true emotions such as anger or suffering due to the discrimination. It's a different take on identity that makes us question the use of metaphorical masks in our lives.
Passport - Mahmoud DarwishThey did not recognize me in the shadowsThat suck away my color in this PassportAnd to them my wound was an exhibitFor a tourist Who loves to collect photographsThey did not recognize me,Ah.Don’t leave The palm of my hand without the sunBecause the trees recognize meDon’t leave me pale like the moon!All the birds that followed my palmTo the door of the distant airportAll the wheatfieldsAll the prisonsAll the white tombstonesAll the barbed BoundariesAll the waving handkerchiefsAll the eyeswere with me,But they dropped them from my passportStripped of my name and identity?On soil I nourished with my own hands?Today Job cried outFilling the sky:Don’t make and example of me again!Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,Don’t ask the trees for their namesDon’t ask the valleys who their mother isFrom my forehead bursts the sward of lightAnd from my hand springs the water of the riverAll the hearts of the people are my identitySo take away my passport!
(1) (2,3) (4)Minstrel Man - Langston Hughes Because my mouthIs wide with laughterAnd my throatIs deep with song, You do not think I suffer afterI have held my painSo long?Because my mouth Is wide with laughter, You do not hearMy inner cry? Because my feetAre gay with dancing, You do not know I die? This poem by Langston Hughes references Minstrel shows in the 19th century. Individual performers were in blackface, which is a form of theatrical makeup used to represent African Americans, and entertained the audience with the use of comic skits, dancing, and music. "Minstrel Man" by Langston Hughes makes a comment on how the Minstrel Shows changed how Americans perceived the African Americans. Though they may have been represented as happy individuals partaking in comic skits and dancing during these shows, it did not change the fact that they have suffered and were discriminated against. These performances masked the true feelings of African Americans and discriminated against them by concealing their years of suffering behind their comical depictions in the shows. I find it appalling that these minstrel shows and the blackface makeup even existed. It is a terribly dark time of our past and though racism still exists today, I am glad that individuals are more aware of how terrible these were. On a side note, this poem also comments on how many individuals in society tend to put on a mask to hide their identity. Though an individual may seem happy, calm, or composed on the outside, on the inside, they may be just the opposite.
Hey! I definitely agree with the notion that this poem can also represent how society tends to stereotype individuals with a seemingly "happy, calm or composed" attitude that they might have on the outside, as opposed to really trying to understand what's going on, on the inside. This in itself is definitely a mask, and the fact that the poem so clearly illustrates how by putting on 'blackface,' they are essentially choosing to openly showcase that they do not understand, or truly want to understand what these African American men and women really feel. Thanks for sharing this!
The Men That Don't Fit In - Robert W. ServiceThere's a race of men that don't fit in, A race that can't stay still;So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will.They range the field and they rove the flood, And they climb the mountain's crest;Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don't know how to rest.If they just went straight they might go far; They are strong and brave and true;But they're always tired of the things that are, And they want the strange and new.They say: "Could I find my proper groove, What a deep mark I would make!"So they chop and change, and each fresh move Is only a fresh mistake.And each forgets, as he strips and runs With a brilliant, fitful pace,It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones Who win in the lifelong race.And each forgets that his youth has fled, Forgets that his prime is past,Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead, In the glare of the truth at last.He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance; He has just done things by half.Life's been a jolly good joke on him, And now is the time to laugh.Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost; He was never meant to win;He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone; He's a man who won't fit in.Robert W. Service (1874-1958) was a well-known Canadian poet. While browsing through his poetry, I noticed this one and thought that it seemed fitting given the theme of our class. These men that don't fit in are constantly trying to find their niche in the world and to discover their identity. This poem seems a bit prescriptive, and perhaps judgemental, in that the speaker is mocking those who can't quite gel with society, telling that they must be a certain way in order to succeed. This message is, to some extent, still true today. While we may be more accepting of differences, there are still many who find themselves ostracized because of their differences. I think that making many "fresh moves" and taking risks should be seen as a good thing because it helps in learning who you are.
A Child is born Free of Mindby Raj ArumugamA child is born free of mindbut is hardened into thoughtand by the time one diesmost are fixed and screwed intoworlds of their making,heavens of their fantasiesso one thinks one's an Indian, one a Chineseor an American or British or Swedishor French or Russian or German;or one thinks one is a Christian or Muslimor Jew or Hindu or Sikh or Catholicor Doaist or Buddhist or Marxist or Communistor even for that matter, an atheist- or whatever you will...one finds a badge to pin proudly to one's chestand each identity becomes so strongit becomes so realit all comes into the question of right and wrongof evil and goodand it falls into loud declamationsand my tribe is good, your tribe is evilmy brand is holy, your brand unholy...and so it goes,with all sorts of justificationsthat beat sense out of all loyal adherentsand it squeezes humanity out of the humanas paste out of a tube...ah, and yes,the energy goes on into the afterlifeas Christians go into a Christian Heavenand Hindus and Buddhists into various Lokasand Muslims in their own Paradiseand so it goes on,this Human Tragi-Comedy,yes, yes, certainly all created by the Almightywho was created by your mind's povertyso thata child is born free of mindbut is hardened into thoughtand by the time one diesmost are fixed and screwed intoworlds of their making,heavens of their fantasies"A Child is born Free of Mind" by Raj Arumugam is a powerful poem about identity, telling us how we are born as babies with a free mind and with countless potential identities. However, what Arumugam explains is that once we find our identities, we go on to compare and judge that of others. Identities become a matter of "right or wrong, evil or good" when it should simply be badge of who you are. It sickens me that people have the audacity to judge another by their identity, when they can stay content with their own. Whether the identity be a religion, a race, nation or job, they should all be respected equally.
Don McKayAstonished -astounded, astonied, astunned, stopped shortand turned toward stone, the momentfilling with its slowstratified time. Standing there, your facecratered by its gawk,you might be the symbol signifying eon.What are you, empty or pregnant? Somewheresediments accumulate on seabeds, seabedsrear up into mountains, ammonitesfossilize into gems. Are you thinkingor being thought? Citiesas sand dunes, epicsas e-mail. Astonishedyou are famous and anonymous, the borderwashed out by so soft a thing as weather. Someoneinside you steps from the forest and across the beachtoward the nameless all-dissolving ocean.Petrified -your heart’s tongue seizedmid-syllable, caught by the lava flowyou fled. Fixed,you stiffen in the arms of wonder’s darkundomesticated sister. Can’t you name herand escape? You are the statuethat has lost the entrance into art,wild and incompetent,you have no house. Who are you?You are the crystal that picks upits many deaths.You are the momentary mind of rock.Don McKay is a Canadian poet from Owen Sound, Ontario. His book of poetry Strike/Slip (which includes these poems) won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2007. Although, upon further examination, the “you” in each poem is the landscape, I first interpreted the poems as if they were comparing human life and identity to geological time. I often meditate on what our identity as human beings is relative to the rest of the natural world and furthermore the universe. These poems seem to question the in-between-ness of human thought. On one hand, as with all creatures, the lives of human beings are focused on themselves and their immediate world. On the other hand, as a species, we have this amazing ability to think outside of ourselves and question what our existence means. We are able to ponder what does not physically exist and what we cannot see, which leads us to these larger questions. In the first poem, “Astonished”, McKay seems to compare the human body and human experiences with earthly processes. Fleeting human emotions are compared to the permanency of “stone” (2) that experiences “slow/ stratified time” (3-4). The astonished human face is “a crate[r]” (5). Human identity is belittled next to the slow pace of geologic time. The part that most struck me in the poem was lines 13-15 – “Astonished/you are famous and anonymous, the border/washed out by so soft a thing as weather.” – as if human self-importance is a fleeting as the weather. The second poem, “Petrified”, in my first interpretation, suggests human beings rejoining the earth and becoming rock after death. The title itself, petrified, suggests the actual process of becoming rock, as well as the human emotion and the fear that comes with being silenced by death - “your heart’s tongue seized/ mid-syllable” (1-2). In actuality, Don McKay’s intention was to personify the rocks – “Astonished” describing where the earth becomes stone and in “Petrified” where the earth becomes rock – as Strike/Slip was inspired by the terranes of Vancouver Island.http://www.griffinpoetryprize.com/see-and-hear-poetry/h-n/don-mckay/
"Old Man" - Neil YoungOld man look at my life,I'm a lot like you were.Old man look at my life,I'm a lot like you were.Old man look at my life,Twenty fourand there's so much moreLive alone in a paradiseThat makes me think of two.Love lost, such a cost,Give me thingsthat don't get lost.Like a coin that won't get tossedRolling home to you.Old man take a look at my lifeI'm a lot like youI need someone to love methe whole day throughAh, one look in my eyesand you can tell that's true.Lullabies, look in your eyes,Run around the same old town.Doesn't mean that much to meTo mean that much to you.I've been first and lastLook at how the time goes past.But I'm all alone at last.Rolling home to you.Old man take a look at my lifeI'm a lot like youI need someone to love methe whole day throughAh, one look in my eyesand you can tell that's true.Old man look at my life,I'm a lot like you were.Old man look at my life,I'm a lot like you were. Neil Young wrote this poem after moving into a Ranch in North Carolina when he was just 24 years old. On the ranch lived an elderly caretaker who inspired Neil to write this song. In this song Neil talks about love, age, and the commonality of Neil and the old man. Even though the two come from completely different walks of life, Neil finds the common ground between them and sees himself in the old man.
Song Of Myself, I - Poem by Walt WhitmanI Celebrate myself, and sing myself,And what I assume you shall assume,For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.I loafe and invite my soul,I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,this air,Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,Hoping to cease not till death.Creeds and schools in abeyance,Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but neverforgotten,I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,Nature without check with original energy. One of the main themes of this poem by Walt Whitman is identity. At the beginning of the poem Whitman states that he celebrates all parts of himself and humanity in general. In the poem we see Whitman split his personality into three different sectors, his everyday/usual self, his inner self, and his universal self or his soul. He believes that his identity can be connected to everything in the world. Whitman believes in the connectedness and harmony of all living beings. Whitman stresses that all though we are each individual unique things, we all have a sense of oneness as well.
In the interest of relating back to our course themes, here's an identity poem that uses the symbol of the mirror!My reflection is vague, perception unclear.My mind is like a shattered mirror That devises a veneer fashioned of my fears. I'm seized inside this illusory disguise That's only feeding me a mouth full of lies.Oh, how I hunger to be recognized…Actuality stays hidden behind the scenes:What my eyes perceive is make believe.Trickeries are fitted in deceiving sleeves.I'm incapable of comprehending the genuine me.By Anne Currin
On the thread of identify I'd like to comment on a slam poem that meant a lot to me. Titled "Explaining My Depression to My Mother", the poem goes through the misunderstandings of depression and their manifestation, or counter part, in people suffering from mental illness. It gives a moving account of Sabrina Benaim experiences with the illness. I find this poem is a poem about identify in the way that mental heath and mental illness form a person's state of being. An example would be anxiety or the inability to get out of bed, these kinds of things are not only related to the way people perceive you but the way you perceive yourself. In this way mental illness is a key factor in forming someone's sense of self and identify. Being a topic that I believe requires more attention I have attached a link to the poem below. I hope it moves you as much as it moved mehttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aqu4ezLQEUA