Saturday, May 25, 2013

Analysis of Unusual Collocations in Poetry

by: Orrick Johns (1887-1946)

“Crying cranes and wheeling crows...
I'll remember them," she said;”

With the tense on the first line, being in the present progressive, this poem might be talking about the continuing complications of love or relationship between two people belonging to different or clashing classes. Cranes and crows are birds that do not only differ in genus but also in appearance and characteristics. Perhaps they both have to endure the conflicts being caught in the middle of the two groups.

Both birds are known to go in flocks. A shrilling crane is the one that leads the flock while in flight, searching for the places to land. When the leader gets tired and with its voice slowly fading, one takes over. The author might be talking about giving, leading and cooperating with all having the chance to lead. Crows on the other hand, cries when there is distress, and thus solicit rescue or support even from unrelated flocks. Perhaps the author is expressing the troubles present when both flocks meet. Their beliefs and practices do not thrive.

The characteristics of both birds tell about their ways of bringing in safety, warmth, communication, and importance of family in different ways. Cranes are known to adapt well to environments while the crows are known to pest on farmers’ fields. Cranes tend to fly straight to their direction, while crows are known to wheel or form arcs as they go along, and thus, might not even able to reach destination with their ever-changing mind.

On the second line, when she said, “I will remember them” being in the future tense, she might be talking about finally giving up. The title supports this claim. The word “answer” is used when one has reached a solution or an end point. This might even suffice and punctuates the quest for truth.

An anonymous poem

“Thy heart is like some icy lake,
On whose cold brink I stand;”

On the first line, the author describes the heart of the subject as an icy lake which is the opposite of what should the heart be- warm. The author might be talking about unrequited love. Perhaps the object of affection shows no interest in the love offered. “Icy lake” would mean that it might as well be dangerous. In most cases, the ice that forms in lakes are thin and weak, and whoever stands there is at risk of falling into the freezing water, causing one to shiver in extreme cold.
The second line tells about the author being on the edge of the cold lake bank (the subject’s heart), having the tendency or probability to fall. This means that despite the awareness of his/her love’s fate, there is willingness to sacrifice or be hurt just to be in someone’s heart.

**** Submitted in compliance with my graduate class in "Literary Genre." It pays to see what others are writing, but it is even more rewarding to crack the lines on your own so copy at your own risk. :)

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