Power of Imagery Explored in Term Paper

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This poem is a favorite of mine because it reminds me to slow down and appreciate everything. It does not take long nor does it take much to renew and revive and that is exactly what the poet wishes to communicate.

In Joy Harjo's "Remember," the poet uses imagery and personification to convey points of importance. Because the poet is encouraging someone to remember, she pulls images from experience that will be familiar. She begins by telling the reader to "Remember the sky" (Harjo 1) and to "know each of the star stories" (2). In addition, it is important to know the moon. The poet wants to use images the reader already knows and identifies with in order to stress the importance of connecting with the earth. The importance of remembering one's parents is also important because we are all connected. She tells the reader to remember the "earth whose skin you are" (12) and "the plants, trees, animal life who all have their / tribes, their families, their histories, too" (15-6). The poet even tells the reader to remember the wind and its song. After the poet draws from the imagery of the earth, she encourages the reader to remember all people because we are all in motion and growing.

I enjoyed this poem because the poet wants to connect with her child and with everything that is behind and ahead of her. It shows how we are all part of an endless cycle of life.

One poem that is filled with powerful imagery is Elizabeth Bishop's poem, "The Fish." This poem is narrative in style but it is all about the poet's discovery of the beauty of nature in a most unusual object: a fish. The poet simply catches a fish but in that experience, she finds out that beauty can survive almost anywhere. The beauty strikes her in such a way that she wants to gather each piece of it for the reader and present it like evidence before a judge and jury. The fish, which did not fight, was "battered and venerable/and homely" (Bishop 7-8). it's "brown skin hung in strips / like ancient wallpaper," (10-11) and it was "like full-brown roses / stained and lost through age (14-15). These images are important because they are not simply describing what the fish looks like but they are telling us that the fish is old and lost his will to live. The fish's eyes are "far larger" than hers and:

shallower, and yellowed, the irises backed and packed with tarnish tinfoil seen through the lenses of old scratched isinglass. (36-40)

Here we see how the poet took advantage of the moment to remember every exquisite detail of this fish.

I like this poem because it sees beauty in something old. We would never stop to think of a fish as anything to admire but this poem helps us see how it is.

Imagery plays an important role in Yusef Komunyakaa's "Facing it." The theme of this poem is war and the first thing we realize about such traumatic experiences is that they never completely go away and they can be triggered by almost anything. Even more importantly, they will almost always be triggered by something as powerful as the Vietnam War Memorial. As he looks at the memorial, the "black face fades" (Komunyakaa 1) in to the granite, presenting us with the idea of the wall have a magnetic pull, drawing the poet in. Once "inside" (10), he is faced with memories that will not let him go. From here, we see the poet's mood and tone are somber as he tries to stand up to the weakening effect of the memorial. He tells himself he is like the wall to prevent himself from crying but when he sees reflection in the granite, he is temporarily taken aback. When he sees the lady "trying to erase names" (30) from the wall, he knows he is seeing a reflection of a mother brushing a boy's hair. The two images fade together and represent the haze that exists between the past and the present. The past contains memories that are disconcerting. An example of this occurs when the poet runs his fingers across the name of the dead man, which causes him to see the flash of a booby trap in his mind. The memorial is like a medium for all of the memories the poet wants to forget. The wall is also like a mirror to remind him of who he is. The white vet is a compelling image because the poet finds himself unexpectedly connecting with another vet. We read that this vet "lost his right arm / inside the stone" (29-30) but what we do not know is how. This ambiguous nature of the line brings us closer to the mind of the poet as he meanders through the past and present. In addition, as the soldier's names glisten on the lady's blouse, the names remain after she walks away, reinforcing the notion that the past is never far.

I like this poem because the images are gripping and they are meant to take the reader to a place where the poet has been. It is a troubling place but once you go there, you will understand his plight more. Through this experience, we are connected to one another.

In William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130," the poet decides to use images in a slightly different way to prove his point. This love sonnet uses imagery as well as irony to make a point. The poet's task is to convince the reader that love is more important than beauty and he does this by not using the typical images associated with love poetry and beauty. Instead, the poet decides to be more real, which is where the irony comes into play. The poet admires his lover's beauty but he uses the conventional, typical metaphors to say what his mistress is not. We are told "her eyes are nothing like the sun" (Shakespeare 1) and "coral is far more red that her lips" (2). In addition, her cheeks are not the color of roses. (6). The poet even has the nerve to say that his lover's breath reeks and there is plenty of music more pleasing to his ears than the sound of his lover's voice. The images in this poem are meant to conjure up familiar ideas and then make them work for the poet in another unexpected way.

This poem impresses me because Shakespeare successfully shows us his imperfect but still lovely mistress this way, demonstrating that even love poetry can be nontraditional and successful.

Imagery is an important aspect of Louise Gluck's poem, "Snowdrops," as the poet focuses on the very basic concept of survival. Her poetry is popular because "many people can understand, relate to, and experience intensely and completely" (Gale). A winter scene is evoked to remind the reader of what it means to endure the damaging cold. The poet states that after the winter, she did not expect to "waken again, to feel / in damp earth my body" (Gluck 6-7). The poet calls to mind the image of a seed buried deep in the earth, pushing through to reach the rays of the sun when she remembers "how to open again / in the cold light / of earliest spring" (9-11). She realizes fear among the myriad of emotions she is feeling but with that fear there is also "risk joy / in the raw wind of the new world" (13-4). This short poem is a poetic celebration of sorts when it comes to survival, bringing attention to the very magic of life itself. With this poem, we see how gloriously simple beauty can be. A small sprout, green and bright surviving the coldest winter contains the wonder of nature -- something we tend to overlook daily. In the same way that Levertov speaks about insignificant steps leading to her home, Gluck takes a plain, ordinary seedling and endows it with a greater sense of power when she finds a greater meaning behind it.

I like how this poem tells us that all around us, things are happening and worlds are unfolding and the keenest eye will capture that and put it to words.

Poetry is an art that finds expression in a million different ways. Poetry can rhyme or be shouted from rooftops -- all it needs to be real is a connection between poet and audience. The many devices used in poetry allow poets to explore the gamut of human emotion and one of the most compelling devices poets use is imagery. By bringing familiar images to mind with their thoughts and feelings, these writers are establishing a connection that can last forever. From bagels to daffodils to granite stone, these objects become sources of inspiration and topics of meditation. Many…[continue]

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