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Poetry - Essay Example

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[Your full name] November 20, 2013 Death and Worthlessness in “For My Daughter” and “Grass” The poems, "For My Daughter" by Weldon Kees and "Grass" by Carl Sandburg, are based on one similar theme, which is death and worthlessness of human life…
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Download file to see previous pages The gloominess of the poems is enough to create a sense of hopelessness and human misery. This paper tends to analyze the two poems, and makes a comparison to comprehend the similarities and differences in them. Let’s start with the 14 line poem “For My Daughter” by Weldon Kees. The poet starts with a narration of his daughter, and describes the three kinds of miseries that she is going through, or is expected to go through. Lines 2-3 “Beneath the innocence of morning flesh/ Concealed, hintings of death she does not heed” reveal that the girl is suffering from some disease, and is near to death. The poem was written in a time when disease would go untreated, and this shows in the poem too. She is “fed on hate” (line 10), which means that her life is burdened with abhorrence. “Bride of a syphilitic or a fool” (line 12) shows that the girl has been married to a person who is sick with a sexually transmitted disease. He has infected her too which is why she is waiting for death to come to her. The essence of the poem is in the lines 13-14: “These speculations sour in the sun./ I have no daughter. I desire none.” These lines show the worthlessness of the life of a woman. First, it gets revealed that the poet is talking about a made-up character and has considered it as his daughter; and second, the poet shows hatred toward that character by stating that he does not want a daughter. We assume that he believes that if he had a daughter, she would have gone through a very miserable life, which is why he does not long for her existence anymore. He believes that it is better to have no daughter than to have one and leave her to face all the hurdles of life. This reveals the insignificance of a woman’s life that is stereotyped as despondent and bleak, so much so that it makes a daughter an unwanted being. The free-verse, three stanza poem “Grass” by Carl Sandburg is a depiction of death leading to worthlessness. The narrator of the poem is “grass”, which also implies “Nature”. The grass orders to pile up the bodies of soldiers at Austerlitz, Waterloo, Gettysburg, Ypres and Verdun. Soldiers that have died in wars have to be piled and buried at these places. “Shovel them under and let me work” is repeated twice, which stress upon the fact that the Nature is running its course no matter what happens. “I am the grass” and “let me work” also appear twice, which highlights the power of the Nature. This strength shows in line 3: “I am the grass; I cover all” because this depicts the fact that Nature has the power to cover the filthy work of humans, making them as clean and pure as they were born. The poem tells how soldiers are killed and buried, and how their sacrifices are easily forgotten by people. Time passes, and people even forget who they were and where they were buried. This shows the worthlessness of the lives of dead soldiers. “Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now?” shows how easily people forget what has happened in the past which enabled them to be what they are. Lessons of history are forgotten but repeated. Whatever happens, Nature continues its work. Putting it all together, it is seen that both the poems compared above are based on the same themes: death and worthlessness. Both the poems are based on different ideas, but talk about human misery, pain, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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