Monday, January 26, 2015

General Bardic Studies for Liturgists 1 - Part 3

Compare and contrast examples from the work of two poets of the same historical era from two different cultural traditions. (minim 300 words of the student’s original essay material beyond the verses provided at least two poems per poet)

                For this section, I went with one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost, an American poet, and with Robert Graves, a British poet. They are both from the 19th Century. I wanted to go with Graves as one of the poets to review because I knew so little about him. Though I knew of his book The White Goddess and its influence on modern Paganism, there was very little else I had read by him. The poems that I decided to work with for both poets were very interesting because they reflected aspects of nature and humanity’s interaction with them. I will first present the poems then an actual analysis of them.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (Famous Poets and Poems)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (Famous Poets and Poems)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Like Snow by Robert Graves (Famous Poets and Poems)

She, then, like snow in a dark night,
Fell secretly. And the world waked
With dazzling of the drowsy eye,
So that some muttered 'Too much light',
And drew the curtains close.
Like snow, warmer than fingers feared,
And to soil friendly;
Holding the histories of the night
In yet unmelted tracks.

Faun by Robert Graves (Famous Poets and Poems)

Here down this very way,
Here only yesterday
King Faun went leaping.
He sang, with careless shout
Hurling his name about;
He sang, with oaken stock
His steps from rock to rock
In safety keeping,
“Here Faun is free,
Here Faun is free!”

Today against yon pine,
Forlorn yet still divine,
King Faun leant weeping.
“They drank my holy brook,
My strawberries they took,
My private path they trod.”
Loud wept the desolate God,
Scorn on scorn heaping,
“Faun, what is he?
Faun, what is he?”

Analysis of poems

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (Famous Poets and Poems)

This poem uses Anapest and Iambic meter with varying between dimeter, trimeter, and tetrameter. The lines also vary in Varying syllable lengths of 8, 9, and & 10. This poem also uses end rhymes and assonance of “…aim”, “…ame”, “…igh”, “I”, and “…y”
Rhyming scheme: A-B-A-A-B, C-D-C-C-D, E-F-E-E-F, G-H-G-G-H

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (Famous Poets and Poems)

This poem uses Anapest and Iambic meter with varying dimeter, trimeter, and tetrameter. There are varying syllable lengths of 5, 7, & and 8. We also see the use of end rhymes and assonance of “…ake”, “…ough”, “…ow”, “…ear”, and “…eer”.
Rhyming scheme: A-A-B-A-B-B-C-B, C-C-D-C-D-D-D-D

Like Snow by Robert Graves (Famous Poets and Poems)

This poem is in free verse with little attention paid to any specific rhyming scheme.  There is a mix of Dactyl, Trochee, Iambic, and Anapest set to dimeter, trimeter, and tetrameter, along with a varying range of syllable length ranging from 5 to 9.

Faun by Robert Graves (Famous Poets and Poems)

There is a mix of Dactyl, Iambic, and Anapest set to dimeter, trimeter, and tetrameter. Varying syllable lengths of 4, 5, 6, & 7. The poem uses end rhyme and assonance of “…out”, “…ing”, “…ine” and “…od”.
Rhyming scheme of A-B-A, C-C-D-D, B-E-E, F-F-B, D-D-G, G-B-E-E

Both of the poems by Frost fit very well into the flow and ebb of rhythm through the traditional use of meter and rhythmic devices, despite the varying lengths of syllables and metric footing. However, when we look at the work of Graves, more specifically in Like Snow, we see that the break from these traditional tools into free verse gives a different feel to the poem. In this poem, Graves does not use any specific rhyming scheme nor is there much attention paid to the metrics of the poem. In the second example of his work, Graves uses both end rhyme, as well as assonance, to give the flowing motion we see in both of Frost’s work. We do not have the lyrical back and forth, which gives a fluid flow, like we do in the other three poems presented. I personally think I prefer the use of rhyming schemes and at least some sort of structure being used through metrics within poems, especially after working through these. I get a feeling of being disjointed with the free verse style of Like Snow. When I first started working on this section I wondered if there would be a great difference in technical uses of device with poets from the same century but different cultures. From these samples, over all, it seemed that the poetic device usage did not vary greatly from differing cultures. Much of the difference came from points of view.

When we look at both poems from Frost, we see the use of imagery to demonstrate the mental or intellectual process of discussion-making as various aspects of travel through nature. Graves, on the other hand, compares the actions of nature to that of a woman with both the use of metaphor and imagery in Like Snow. It is interesting to see that both poets use nature to help get their views of humanity across. Three of the poems have a rather flavorful outlook on this “relationship”, then Graves turns around to show how humanity takes thoughtlessly and carelessly from nature without regard. From the four poems, I take from the authors that both believed that the better aspects of humanity could reflect the harmonious cycles and lessons which nature has to offer.
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