WEEK 6 RESPONSE

 

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Ars Poetica

BY ARCHIBALD MACLEISH

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,
Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.
                         *
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.
                         *
A poem should be equal to:
Not true.
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—
A poem should not mean
But be.

 


I want to discuss freedom.

1. “A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.”

Of course a poem contains words. Poem will be nothing without words. So I guess “wordless” in the content means that when  people write poems, they should not restrict themselves in any topics. They should be free to write anything they want to, just like “the flight of birds”.

2. “A poem should be equal to:
Not true.”

“A poem should not mean
But be.”

Nowadays, some exams require students to interpret the meaning of poems or articles. However, there are usually model answers in the exams. When students do not write the model answers, they will fail.

These two sentences make me think that there is no model answer of any meaning in poems.  Readers should be free to interpret how they feel about the poems. It is a freedom of interpretation.

3. “A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.”

The fact that moon climbs is immortal. So does a poem when and only when people have freedom to explain poems in any way. Just imagine, if a poem has only one meaning, people will not discuss it and it will be forgotten some day. Therefore, poets should be free to write poems and readers should be free to explain poems. These two things make a poem a poem.

 

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One thought on “WEEK 6 RESPONSE

  1. In addition to your point, Archibald wanted us to focus on this point by using metaphor. Before the poet wrote ‘A poem should be,,,’, there were ‘ – ‘ to help the audience emphasize on these lines. ‘A poem should be…’ gave further elaboration and explanation to the metaphor used on the above lines. Each stanza represented a meaning. For example, it said the empty doorway and the maple leaf to represent the history of grief which was not true and should not be mean at all.
    Every poem should not have the model like what you said. Hence, Dr. Allan asked us to interpret the topic of poem by ourselves. The only thing we should all agree is the structure of poem. From the structure, we may understand more.

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