Monday, April 11, 2005

A Romantic Modernist?

For these last few blogs, I thought I would post on some more modern (post-modern?) poets. I opened up the Norton to the last few hundred pages and scanned. I came across a poet who has only two entries, the last one really caught my attention, especially after taking the test and talking about Romantic Imagination. The poet is Peter Davison (pgs. 1641-1642), he died last year at the age of 76. The poem I want to talk about is called Peaches. It's a short one so I'll type it out, this way you don't have to lug the Norton to your computer!


A mouthful of language to swallow:
stretches of beach, sweet clinches,
breaches in walls, pleached branches;
britches hauled over haunches;
hunched leeches, wrenched teachers.
What English can do: ransack
the warmth that chuckles beneath
fuzzed surfaces, smooth velvet
richness, plashy juices.
I beseech you, peach,
clench me into the sweetness
of your reaches.

Ha! The whole poem is like one big tongue twister! How many of you tripped on the first three lines? I know I did a couple of times. But once you get over the 'tongue-twistiness' and grasp some aspect of it's meaning, you'll realize this poem is not really about peaches at all. It is almost Romantic in that it forces us readers to use our Imagination. It's like Daffodils by Wordsworth, where the poems uses an analogy to make its point.
Davidson is showing us the wonderful ways English can be used. I love the way Davison compares the language to the "warmth that chuckles beneath fuzzed surfaces"; and how he beseeches the peach (that is the English language) to show him (and us) the depth of its reaches. The reason why I gave this blog the title I did was because, although this poem was published in 1989, I feel it's more Romantic than Modern. I really don't see any fragmentation, or any of the things that we talked about it class that make Modernism Modern. But I do see traits of what we talked about in Romantic poetry: Emphasis on Nature, Imagination, etc. Maybe somebody disagrees?
In all, I really liked this poem and if you liked it, you may like the other poem under Peter Davison, Equinox 1980. It's an interesting, kinda pastoral, poem about canoeing on an empty lake.

P.S.: Who's happy the weather's better?


Blogger Jess_B said...

Hey Sidd,
I also see a lot of links to romanticism in this poem. It really does resemble what Wordsworth did with the daffodils.

I find it really interesting that i guess we would call them post-mod? writers still use many of the qualities of romantic poetry, but in a new way...a sort of making in new...and newer again.

YES I'm so happy that the weather is getting better...sun sun sun...because it means that I can spend a lot of time outside...and because it means that I can take the kids outside all afternoon at work instead of being stuck in the gym attempting to entertain them!

April 12, 2005 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger la said...

Bless this good weather! I LOVE THE SUN -- I guess you could call me a sun worshiper lol. During the summer months, if I am not at work, or school, you will find me at the beach!

I also work at a daycare, and the kids love it when the weather is nice. It enables them to go outside, and run around a little bit, rather than being cooped up in the rooms, forced to do some sort of indoor activity (using their quiet voices). I love taking them outside, they go nuts!

April 12, 2005 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Annie Wong said...

this weather rocks. sorry what was ur post again? hahaha...

love annie.

April 13, 2005 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Sidd Rawte said...

It is very hard to come up with something totally new that no one has ever come up with, so I guess some things will always get recycled and used again. "Peaches" is a great example of that. I'm not so fond of the modern and post-modern genre; this poem is a good blend of the old and new world, I guess that's why I liked it!

I should post more about the weather! It seems to get lots of responses!
I hear you on trying to entertain kids Jess. I work with kids who stutter, and keeping them interested in activites and things is tough.
Hey Mersiha, yes, the beach is a good place to be in the summer!

April 13, 2005 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger The Poole Boy said...

Firstly, I thank you for not having me trudge over to my bookshelf and get the anthology. My book is getting so exhausted and over used the cover fell off. The mutterances that I stumbled through in the beginning of the poem immediately made me think of the author taking a bite of the peach and continuing on with his speech that accounts for the jumbled nature. The ending of the poem describes the taste of the peach that also reinforced my notion that the author had taken a bite. Honestly I did not notice that this poem had an alternative meaning until you pointed it out and I reread the piece. It was a nice choice of poem. I wasn’t really moved by it.
As for the weather I love it. Sunshine I can bring out my sunglasses and soak it in (sort of like the poetry). I'm sure that plenty of sun is on its way.

April 13, 2005 at 6:01 PM  
Anonymous RK said...

Brilliant poem, Sidd. It reminds us all over again that poems are made with WORDS, not feelings. Six-year-olds know this instantly. Mersiha, you might try this on your daycare kids?

April 24, 2005 at 12:32 PM  

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