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Question

Postby Lishaxox » Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:50 am

Hello.I have been having difficulties with finding one of Keats poems challenging the discourse of this poem:

Life
Life -
I am both your directions
existing more with the cold frost
strong as a cobweb in the wind
hanging downward the most
somehow remaining
Those beaded rays have the colors
I've seen in paintings - ah life
they have cheated you...
thinner than a cobweb's thread
sheerer than any - but it did attach itself
and held fast in strong winds
and singed by leaping hot fires
life - of which at singular times
I am both your directions -
somehow I remain hanging downward the most
as both of your directions pull me.

Anybody know any poems (doesn't have to be by Keats but i'd like it to be) that reflect the discourse of this or challenge it?
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire..
Lishaxox
 
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Postby Lishaxox » Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:54 am

Oh, and if not by Keats it has to be from a canon poet (like mainstream/european/well known) this is for my year 12 assignment and it's important that I get good marks.

I'm hoping for at least 1 person to reply!! I would appreciate it. :wink:
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire..
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Postby P1000 » Sun Apr 25, 2004 3:24 am

Who wrote the poem which you have posted?
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Postby Lishaxox » Sun Apr 25, 2004 9:31 am

It was Marilyn Monroe (bet you, you weren't expecting that!) I have to compare a non-mainstream poem to a mainstream one.
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire..
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Postby P1000 » Sun Apr 25, 2004 2:55 pm

No, I guess that I wasn't expecting Marilyn Monroe. In order to find a Keats poem to contrast with this one, I feel that I have to understand it better... I will first discuss Marilyn's poem so that you see where I am coming from. If I am off on my interpretation let me know, because my interpretation of Marilyn's poem will of course affect the Keats poem I choose.

It seems that she is actually looking at a spider's web when she writes this. If this is true, "both of your directions" could refer to the two directions of a strand of spider silk. One direction of which enters into the middle of the web, while the other leaves it. The "beaded rays" would then be beads of dew on the web, refracting light to produce the colors. What she is thinking while she looks at this web is somewhat ambiguous to me... She seems quite melancholly, using terms such as "hanging down mostly", "thinner than a cobweb's thread", "cold frost" etc. Yet at the same time she does not seem hopeless "but it did attach itself" and "strong as a cobweb in the wind", etc. For her the two directions may be towards despair or towards joy, though perhaps towards despair or towards survival since there is not much in the poem which suggests joy in life. The only joyful image is of the colors... But then she says that she has seen them in paintings... She does not say that she has seen them in life. It is as though she is saying that they are part of a made-up fairytale. This is reinforced by the fact that she follows immediately by saying "ah life\n they have cheated you...". Ultimately the feeling I get from the poem is that life is a hard thing which can lead to great sadness and reflection allows her to be strong despite it.

Now I don't know if that is a proper reading of the poem. I do not know much about Marilyn Monroe, so it is hard to figure out what she is thinking. But that is what I get from the poem. I think that Keats's "When I have fears that I may cease to be" may be a good one to contrast this to, if my interpretation of your poem is accurate. In it, Keats is worried about death because he thinks that life has so much to offer. He finishes by saying that when he has such fears, reflection calms him.

It seems to me that Marilyn was saying life is hard but I will fight on through, whereas Keats is saying life is beautiful and I wish it could go on. Both may be written with a sense of sadness, but Keats's sadness does not come from life itself. It comes from the prospect of it ending. While Marilyn's sadness seems to come from life itself.
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Another poem to contrast with The Marilyn Monroe one.

Postby Saturn » Mon Apr 26, 2004 3:21 pm

I have to say I was also surprised to learn that the poem was by Marilyn Monroe. Is it THE Marilyn Monroe? I never knew she wrote anything and am surprised at how good it is.

I agree with P1000 in his/her interpretation of the poem and with the choice of "When I have fears that I may cease to be". I would like to add another suggestion. An early ode by Keats called To Hope summons up a similar despairing atmosphere of dejection which would compare to the mood in Marilyn's poem.

Keats' poem was written in 1815, shortly after the death of his grandmother as he was still pursuing his apprenticeship in medicine. The rest of his family was broken up, and Keats, as the eldest, was now the head of the family at twenty years old.

In it he allegorizes his deepest feelings (Despondency, Cheerfulness, Disappointment, Despair etc.) and calls upon Hope; seen as an almost angelic figure with silver wings, to pour it's "ethereal balm" i.e. Hope itself as an elixer, or nectar-like substance upon him. It is a great tribute to Keats' spirit and his optimism to "clamber through the clouds and exist" that he manages to keep his hope alive despite so may early sorrows, and even greater ones in future.

Note that in the poem, in each stanza, he begs if something or other should happen; unhappy love, disppointment in his art, political freedoms curtailed and so on, that he be given the strength to overcome dejection and look up, as at a brignt shining star upon the "celestial" vision of Hope.
Here hope would be seen to be an almost pagan deity, or at least not explicitly a Christian symbol. Keats own religious beliefs are undetermined but were at best sceptical, and in this poem there appears to be no appeal to, or reference to any higher being in control of human destiny.

Like in the Maryiln poem, he sees himself as someone struggling with the need to survive in a world where we must choose a difficult path between being strung along by the snares of "outrageous fortune" and coping with sorrow by a life-affirming optimism which is difficult to maintain in the face of great trials and tribulations.

I hope this is of any help, and I wish you all the best of luck in your assignment!
Last edited by Saturn on Wed May 26, 2004 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Another poem to contrast with The Marilyn Monroe one.

Postby Saturn » Mon Apr 26, 2004 3:22 pm

I have to say I was also surprised to learn that the poem was by Marilyn Monroe. Is it THE Marilyn Monroe? I never knew she wrote anything and am surprised at how good it is.

I agree with P1000 in his/her interpretation of the poem and with the choice of "When I have fears that I may cesae to be". I would like to add another suggestion. An early ode by Keats called To Hope summons up a similar despairing atmosphere of dejection which would compare to the mood in Marilyn's poem.

Keats' poem was written in 1815, shortly after the death of his grandmother as he was still pursuing his apprenticeship in medicine. The rest of his family was broken up, and Keats, as the eldest, was now the head of the family at twenty years old.

In it he allegorizes his deepest feelings (Despondency, Cheerfulness, Disappointment, Despair etc.) and calls upon Hope; seen as an almost angelic figure with silver wings, to pour it's "ethereal balm" i.e. Hope itself as an elixer, or nectar-like substance upon him. It is a great tribute to Keats' spirit and his optimism to "clamber through the clouds and exist" that he manages to keep his hope alive despite so may early sorrows, and even greater ones in future.

Note that in the poem, in each stanza, he begs if something or other should happen; unhappy love, disppointment in his art, political freedoms curtailed and so on, that he be given the strength to overcome dejection and look up, as at a brignt shining star upon the "celestial" vision of Hope.
Here hope would be seen to be an almost pagan deity, or at least not explicitly a Christian symbol. Keats own religious beliefs are undetermined but were at best sceptical, and in this poem there appears to be no appeal to, or reference to any higher being in control of human destiny.

Like in the Maryiln poem, he sees himself as someone struggling with the need to survive in a world where we must choose a difficult path between being strung along by the snares of "outrageous fortune" and coping with sorrow by a life-affirming optimism which is difficult to maintain in the face of great trials and tribulations.

I hope this is of any help, and I wish you all the best of luck in your assignment!
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
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Posts: 3940
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Lishaxox » Tue Apr 27, 2004 8:38 am

Thankyou both very much for your replies, they were both great analyzations and suggestions! Yes it was by THE Monroe, lol. She was a great fan of Keats' and poets in general, I think she bought some old pieces of literature at an auction once.

Anyway, I agree with what you are saying and I can see how each poem would be appropriate. Thanks very much for your help! I will choose either one each of you have suggested. I suppose I should have researched harder :oops: for the right poems, but sometomes it can be hard for me to understand what words are and what the poet means, kind of like when I read Shakespearian(sp?) works.
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire..
Lishaxox
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:42 am


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