Poetry that withstands the test of time… Tick-tock-tick-tock.*


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what makes a poem a "classic"?

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Some poets were so moving, so talented, so… [fill in the blank], that their poetry withstood the test of time. It seems like the poetry that lasts the longest seems to be capable of bridging generation gaps. Even in this age of technology, we still mourn the passing of great world leaders, and that’s why Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain!” still moves people today, even though Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is long behind us.

You’ve been studying a particular poet. What made his/her poems stand the test of time? What themes in their poetry are still relevant today? What images appear in their poems that still seem meaningful to modern-day readers?

Write a paragraph in which you a.) state which poet you’ve been studying, and b.) offer several sentences (with at least one useful quotation from his/her poetry) explaining why your poet has endured the test of time. Here’s an example:

I’ve been reading the poems of Robert Browning, and my favorite of his poems is “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. In this poem, the town of Hamelin is infested with vermin: “Rats!/They fought the dogs and killed the cats,/And bit the babies in the cradles,/And ate the cheeses out of the vats…” Even in the twenty-first century, the idea of a rat biting a baby makes people cringe. With all of our technology today–cell phones and plastic, pharmaceuticals and space travel–we continue to share our planet with vermin, so Browning’s theme is still one everybody understands. No one wants to share their living space with a rodent, and in my opinion, that’s why “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” has withstood the test of time.

*For extra credit, what poetic device is “Tick-tock-tick-tock”? You must be the first to offer the right answer, spelling your response correctly.


24 responses »

  1. The rage of age by Peter Shakespeare Baxter

    Shall I compare thee to a child at play?

    You are much more stupid and far less petite.

    And rumbling winds echo within your pants, I’d say,

    Smelling much worse, than any a dog would eat.

    Sometimes thy massacred eyes look into mine

    Through streaked, flashed hair that needs a cut,

    No scarecrow has a mop like thine,

    The crows have flown, leaving footprints in time.

    The shadow of your grin it will not fade;

    Though an image of your youth, I always keep.

    O, how I would love to change you for someone new;

    That would look like an angel, in her a sleep.

    Suddenly I hear a crash, but that’s….Dang

    That’s seven years bad luck, and I missed the cat.

    Peter Baxter

    For the dumb ……She’s looking in a mirror

  2. i have been reading a lot of shel siversteins poems and the one i like the most is QUALITY TIME
    “My father is a golfer–
    He let me be his tee.
    He puts the ball upon my nose
    And hits it right off me.
    He says that I can share the joy
    Of every ball he hits.
    Oh, ain’t it grand to have a dad
    Who spends time with his kids.”
    the theme would be about a kid whose dad is a golfer and the kid is used as a rag doll and the kid likes it

  3. i have been learning about the poet T.S. Eliot and one of my favorite poems by him is: “Sweney Among the Nightingales”
    “APENECK SWEENEY spreads his knees
    Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
    The zebra stripes along his jaw
    Swelling to maculate giraffe.

    The circles of the stormy moon

    Slide westward toward the River Plate,
    Death and the Raven drift above
    And Sweeney guards the hornèd gate.

    Gloomy Orion and the Dog
    Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;

    The person in the Spanish cape
    Tries to sit on Sweeney’s knees

    Slips and pulls the table cloth
    Overturns a coffee-cup,
    Reorganised upon the floor

    She yawns and draws a stocking up;

    The silent man in mocha brown
    Sprawls at the window-sill and gapes;
    The waiter brings in oranges
    Bananas figs and hothouse grapes;

    The silent vertebrate in brown
    Contracts and concentrates, withdraws;
    Rachel née Rabinovitch
    Tears at the grapes with murderous paws;

    She and the lady in the cape

    Are suspect, thought to be in league;
    Therefore the man with heavy eyes
    Declines the gambit, shows fatigue,

    Leaves the room and reappears
    Outside the window, leaning in,
    Branches of wistaria
    Circumscribe a golden grin;

    The host with someone indistinct
    Converses at the door apart,
    The nightingales are singing near
    The Convent of the Sacred Heart,

    And sang within the bloody wood
    When Agamemnon cried aloud,
    And let their liquid siftings fall
    To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud.”

    this poem creates an imagery of some gorgeous place at midnight with the animals described all together with gorgeous nightingale birds singing tunes that calms everyones nerves nd its just a beautiful image in my brain 🙂

  4. 1. Ive been reading some of Robert Frost’s poetry and the 1 i like the most would be “Reluctance”: Out through the fields and the woods/
    And over the walls i have wended/I have climbed the hills of view/And looked at the world and desended/ I came by the highway home/ And lo, it is ended/
    The theme of this poem is about nature and observing nature, this theme is used today because many poet still write about nature because each person might see something different or it means sometihng to one poet that it might not mean to another poet.

  5. I am studying Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and my favorite poem by him is “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls”. “Darkness settles on roofs and walls,/ But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;/ The little waves, with their soft, white hands,/ Efface the footprints in the sands,/ And the tide rises, the the tide falls.” The imagery and language is just outstanding. I love lines 3 and 4 from the qutoes above, and the tone is sad if you read the whole poem. Longfellow loved the scenery and landscape as a kid, so that put an impact on some of his poetry works. I believe that is why he withstood the test of time.

  6. My poet is Carl Sandburg. I think the reason that his poems stand out the most is because of his vast use of imagery. This quote from is poem “Happiness” shows his use of imagery. “… Desplaines river/ And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their/ women and children and a keg of beer and an/ accordion.” That quote makes you picture in your mind a group of people sitting under tress, maybe in a park, having fun at what makes them happy. Another things that makes his poems stand out is his use of language. If you look at the quote once more, you’ll notice that “Desplaines” is capitalized but “river” is not when it should be. That is why I think Carl Sandburgs’ poetry has withstood the test of time.

  7. I have been reading the works of the poet Stephan Crane. My favorite poem is “War is Kind”. In this poem Crane uses a lot of personification and uses for deep words like,”Little souls who thirst for fight/ These men were born to drill and die”. He was in the era when American poetry came of age. From what I have studied about the other people in his time period is that they all wrote about sad, deep, sometimes dark things. For example, Edgar Allen Poe, he was very dark in his poetry but he sometimes wrote about love but mostly death. Crane writes about death and love also so I think that there was something dark going on. Their time in history was unique.

  8. Extra credit:onomatopoeia.
    1. Ralph Waldo Emerson has a poem named “Forebearance” and that poem is about how you are judged by your friends. This poem has standed the test of time because it is about friendship and how you are judged by their actions. This happens every day in the world that we live in so thats how it has stood the test of time. This is a quote from forebearance, “O be my friend, and teach me to be thine!”
    2. The themes that are still going on today is the themes of friendship and judgement.
    3. The images in his poems are deep feelings that everyone goes through. He tells everyday feelings that go on through the human mind.

    • Has “stood” the test of time, not “standed” (but I still gave you full credit–your answer is very well-thought-out). You didn’t earn the extra credit, because you weren’t first with the response. Sorry. 😦

  9. extra credit-alliteration
    Ogden Nash’s poetry has stood the test of time for many reasons. One reason it is liked by so many people is that he writes about common situations that everyone goes through. “I didn’t go to church today,/
    I trust the Lord to understand.” This is a quote from a poem about skipping church, which many people do. When people read poems about things like this, they enjoy them because they apply to their lives.

  10. I’v been reading the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and one of his poems” The Pains of Sleep”it is about pain.”Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,/It hath not been my use to pray/With moving lips or bended knees;/But silently, by slow degrees,/My spirit I to Love compose,/In humble trust mine eyelids close,/With reverential resignation,/No wish conceived, no thought expressed,/Only a sense of supplication;/A sense o’er all my soul impressed/That I am weak, yet not unblessed,/Since in me, round me, every where/Eternal strength and wisdom are.”
    i think that this poem is deep to people and would create a new look on kife for the readers of this poem.

  11. I’v been reading the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and one of his poems” The Pains of Sleep”it is about pain.”Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,/It hath not been my use to pray/With moving lips or bended knees;/But silently, by slow degrees,/My spirit I to Love compose,/In humble trust mine eyelids close,/With reverential resignation,/No wish conceived, no thought expressed,/Only a sense of supplication;/A sense o’er all my soul impressed/That I am weak, yet not unblessed,/
    Since in me, round me, every where/Eternal strength and wisdom are.”
    i think that this poem is deep to people and would create a new look on kife for the readers of this poem.

  12. I have been reading E.E. Cummings poetry.One of my favorite poems is “what if a much of a which of a wind”. In this poem there is lots of unusual language: “what if a much of a which of a wind/gives the truth to summer’s lie;/bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun/and yanks immortal stars awry?….” I think that E.E. Cummings poetry is still alive today because of the unusual language he uses. I think that that appealed to people because it gives the poem a sort of glib touch to it. That is why i think that his poetry has stood the test of time.

  13. My peot is Emily Dickinson. The peom I like the most is “CIII”.
    The moon was but a chin of gold
    A night or two ago,
    And now she turns her perfect face
    Upon the world below.

    Her forehead is of amplest blonde;
    Her cheek like beryl stone;
    Her eye onto the summer dew
    The likest I have known.

    Her lips of amber never part;
    But what must be the smile
    Upon her friend she copuld bestow
    Were such her silver will!

    And what a privilege to be
    But the remotest star!
    For certainly he way might pass
    Beside your twinkling door.

    Her bonnet is the firmament,
    The universe her shoe,
    The stars the trinkets at her belt,
    Her dimities of blue.

    To me I think she is pasionate because in this peom she wrote,
    “Her lips of amber never part;
    But what must be the smile
    Upon her friend she could bestow
    Were such her silver will!

    Because she is talking about a friend that is smiling which to me is showing love, and giving her such silver will.
    For the extra credit the word is Nirmaldasan.

  14. I have bee reading the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and my favorite of her poems is “Renascence”. In this poem, the poet has long wanted to die but once she gets that wish she wants to be back on the earth again: “Long had I lain thus, cravind death,/ When quietly the earth beneath/ Gave way, and inch by inch, so great/ At last had grown the crushing weight,/ Into the earth I sank till I/ Full six feet under ground did lie…” “The rain, I said , I kind to come/ ANd speak to me in my new home./ I would I were alive again/ To kiss the fingers of the rain,/To drink into my eyes the shine…”. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s theme about rebirth and revival is still very common among the minds of people today. Many people explore the idea of rebirth but no one really understood until this poem and I think that is why “Renascence” has withstood the test of time.

  15. I have been studying Marianne Moore. One of my favorite poems of her is “Silence” My father used to say,
    “Superior people never make long visits,
    have to be shown Longfellow’s grave
    nor the glass flowers at Harvard.
    Self reliant like the cat —
    that takes its prey to privacy,
    the mouse’s limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth —
    they sometimes enjoy solitude,
    and can be robbed of speech
    by speech which has delighted them.
    The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
    not in silence, but restraint.”
    Nor was he insincere in saying, “`Make my house your inn’.”
    Inns are not residences. I think what has helped this poem through the “test of time” would have to be her very vivid imagery. Her imagery is beautiful,it definately puts the picture of what she is describing in your head very well.

  16. I’ve been reading poems by Ezra Pound. The poem that I like the most, and understand the best, is “Taking Leave of a Friend”. In this poem two friends are departing in the mountains, “Blue mountains to the north of the walls,”. In our modern times we still think of mountains as blue, like in the poem. This is why I think “Taking leave of a Friend” has endured through the wither of time.

    Extra Credit: The poetic device in “Tick-tock-tick-tock” is an alliteration because the beginning letter in each part is “T” making it sound alike.

    • Nice response. Also, you’ve earned 5 pts. of extra credit. “Tick-tock” has two possible right answers. One is alliteration; the other is onomatopoeia. Since you guessed alliteration, you get 5 pts. Good job!

  17. 1.I’ve been reading Randall Jarrell and i like his poem “The Breath Of Night.” “The moon rises. /The red cubs rolling
    In the ferns by/ the rotten oak
    Stare over a marsh/ and a meadow
    To the farm’s white/ wisp of smoke./
    A spark burns,/ high in heaven./
    Deer thread the/ blossoming rows
    Of the old orchard, /rabbits………”
    He is talking about nature and animals.Everyone understands the theme because he has good imagery and you just know what he is talking about.”The Breath Of Night”has withstood the test of time because its a beautiful poem and it sounds like a nice summer night.

  18. 1. My poet is Maya Angelou.
    2. I think Maya Angelou withstood the test of time because she has such an amazing talent with the words she uses in her poetry. She uses words in her poems that are very touching and odd. For example, in “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, she uses unusual words like “and dips his wings
    in the orange sun rays. . . of things unknown but longed for still. . . his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream. . .” etc. When Maya was young, she was raped and sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. If you read the full poem, you can see that the caged bird has his wings clipped and is tied up. He can’t go anything but sing, since he’s caged. The caged bird is Maya, and the reason she is tied up and clipped is because she went silent for 5 years.
    If you want to read the whole poem, here’s the link:

    Extra Credit: The poetic device of “Tick-tock-tick-tock” is an onomatopoeia, because it’s describing a sound.

    • Thanks for including a link with your comment. It’s good to cite sources. Also, you’ve earned 5 pts. of extra credit, because you guessed that “Tick-tock” is an onomatopoeia (a word that imitates a sound). The other possible right answer is alliteration. Nice job!

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