Poetry on Art and Nature


Poster¡G Jenny Chang at 19:56:30 11/17/97 from nn60-155.dialup.seed.net.tw
RE Kate at 13:4:34 11/3/97 posted ¡uon-line journal, Chinese or English¡vSubject
THE DARKLING THRUSH 
1. He feels that it is the downfall of the Victorian Era, which results in the bareness as conveyed in the "desolate" made by "Winter's dregs" and the uncertainty of the coming future. 
In the 1st and 2nd stanzas, the use of the unusual adjective "spectre-gray" gives us a connotation of a lifeless, substanceless shadow, maybe the ghost of the old Victorian era. This notion is further conveyed in "The Century's corpse", and the land's features, like the end of the 19th century is equated to "death". The word "dregs" gives us a feeling of undesired waste on the features of the Victorian landscape. Such waste, "like the strings of broken lyres" have been abandoned. 
"Every spirit upon earth, seemed fervourless as I". During winter all activity ceased and there is no vitality and energy. I think such conditions of nature reflests the speaker's frame of mind. 
3. A thrush is a kind of tiny bird. The song of the thrush is "joyful", "ecstatic" and he sing it with "full-heart" and is full of "Hope". 
4. The way the speaker speaks of the barrenness of winter is like singing a song with beautiful lyrics, this is similar to the singing of the thrush with its beautiful melody. Like the speaker, the thrush also sings in "the growing gloom" of winter and both of them are so insignificant in comparison to the great nature (as Frost and Winter arecapitalized and the thrush is not), but the thrush sings with Hope and happiness, and the speaker sings "fervourless" without enthusiasm. 
5. It means that considered the cold and barren conditions of nature, there is so little reasons for the thrush to sing so happily. So the speaker thinks that the thrush sees in Nature some hope which he himself did not see and realize. 
6. That "Winter, Frost and Century" are capitalized and "mankind" and "thrush" are not, it somehow suggest the insignificance and littleness of our human position in nature. It suggest that art can discard and selllect, just like the singing of the thrush to see nature from a positive point of view. 
WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN'D ASTRONOMER 
1. Astronomers study about the stars and the Universe. Throughout history, eg. Greek Myth, the Bible about the Wise Men searching for Jesus by following a star, and the Chinese, all place a mysterious and romantic value of the stars. But the astronomer talk about the stars in a scientific, down to earth, logical way that the beauty of it is all lost. It is factual and calculated. 
2. When you add, divide and measure you are precise and calculated. When the stronomer "lectured" with applause, it is like he is brain-washing these students to accept of new scientific way to look at the stars instead of from a eg. poet's point of view. Such grammatically ambiguity reflects the disapproval of the speaker to such cold, calcualted way of looking at nature. 
3. The speaker goes outside because he is bored with the lecture. Outside he sees the stars in its natural beauty which is greatly different from the facts and figures it is presented in the lecture. The night air became mystical because of the awesome beauty of the sky with its stars above. The mysticalness is enhanced by the acient tales told of the stars. So he looks up at them with admiration and appreciation in "perfect silence" which is achievable without the big talks of a lecture. 
4. The beauty and power of nature is not what facts and figures devised by human can express and incorporates. I think that the astronomer's lecture is also a form of art, as art is created by the minds of human and does not necesary have to be "real" to nature. 
I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD 
1. He is like a cloud without apparent direction, and that he is often in a vacant and jpensive mood makes him lonely. Clouds are sometimes in appearance, not lonely as they sometimes would gather together, yet by drifting often, it does not make long term "friends" with other clouds. The speaker, like the cloud, may be with a lot of people. But because his mind always "drift" in his own world, so he is, in a way, isolated from others and thus lonely. 
2. Daffodils are a kind of flower. The poet choose to personify them in the poem to contrast their happiness with his loneliness. I don't think the daffodils are lonely as they gather in crowds and enjoy themselves by dancing. 
In the 2nd stanza, the daffodils are in harmony with the galaxy with its stars and milky way. They are also in harmony with the bay. And in the third stanza, they are in harmaony with the waves. 
Words having the same meaning as "happy" are such as fluttering, sprightly, glee, gay, jocund, and pleasure. 
3. "They flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude". He came to realize that it is not so bad to be lonely, because in such situation you can allow happy memories to come to mind, and be "filled with pleasure". So I think the inward eye is what is deep within a person -- his thoughts and memories. He is often happy now because he is filled with memories of a remarkable beauty (the dancing daffodils) and such image remains with him and brighten up his days. 
4. The Beauty of Nature can create a lasting impression upon the person. The Daffodils in this poem are as beautiful and abundant as the stars in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" as it is described as the "stars that twinkle in the Milky Way". But Wordsworth's view of the daffodils are different from the Astronomer's view of the stars. One sees the beauty in the context of Nature while the other take it out of nature and "divide" it up into facts and figures. 
THE DANCE 
1. The effects of hte rhythm is like dancing to the steps through the use of iambic feet (alternating unstressed and stressed syllables). 
There are rhymes, such as prance and dance, and rhymes such as the "le" in tweedle, bugle, fiddle, the "ing" in tipping, kicking, rolling, swinging, rollicking. Alliterations, such as the "s" sound in swinging, shanks, sound. And alliteration such as blare, bagpipe, bugle, bellies, balance. There are the explosive "p" in bagpipes and tipping and the long "l" in squeal, blare, bugle etc. There is also the repetitive sound of "round". The "le" and the "ing" makes the lines run continuously, which gives us a sense of the continuous action of the dance. 
2. The mood of the painting is a joyous one. Yet I think that the poem ia an exaggeration of the painting. It is true that they round and round in circles, but the musical instruments are not shown. Yet through the speakers sense of logic and creativity, he expresses them in his poem. Also, from the poem, we would imagine the dancers to be mad and wild, yet such expressions are not shwon on their face in the painting and they seem rather calm. 
3. If I were to write a piem about this painting, I would probably do the same thing as W. Williamss -- using my imagination to describe as vividly as I can the activities going on in the dance. And expressing my ideas through one continuous sentence to convey the sense and meaning of a non-stop continuous action in the dance. 
4. The free verse of a poetry is its freedom from traditional metrical and stanzaic patterns. The ending of the lines with weak words that do not receive much stress makes you read the poem faster. (If there is a stress you would usually pause afterward). This is to show the continuous and rapid speed of the dance. 
5. The poem itself may convey the round pattern of the dancing circle, that it goes "round and round" with repetition and continuous of the dance. 
6. It suggests that art viewed from the perspective and imagination of different people might provoke different reaction. Eg. through this speaker, he see the dance as very lively and ecstatic, while another person might feel that it is montonous. 
MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTS 
1. 5-8: THe Massacre of the Innocents. 
9-13: The Census (The Numbering at Bethlehem) 
Remain: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. 
The first four lines relates to these paintings in that people consider themselves and the activities they engaged in as most important. And our suffering, viewed from a greater context is insignificant. 
2. It is about a boy Icarus and his father Daedalus who made wings out of bird feathers and wax and tried to escape by flying away. The boy flew too close to the sun and the wax that holds the wings melted and he fell into the sea. The painting expressed the moment Icarus fell into the sea. 
3. The rhyming words are: wrong, along; waiting, skating; understood, wood; forgot, spot; course, horse; away, may; cry, sky; shone, on; green, seen. Such hidden rhymes convey that our suffering (like Icarus) are hidden and insignificant. It is "in a corner, where the dogs go on with their doggy life". So maybe the world still functions orderly inspite of this small disorder. 
4. The "ing" in eating, opening, walking, waiting, skating conveys the slowness and casualness of the activity. The "ly" in reverently, passionatelly conveys the slowness and patience of the wait for the Messiah. Especially and leisurely also conveys the careless attitude of people. Disappearing and falling conveys the slowness of such motions. 
5. Art differs from life and nature because art is created by men, thus art can be selected and discard.