Friday, September 12, 2014

Bishop and Roethke Poems

The two poems by Elizabeth Bishop that spoke to me were “The Fish” and “Filling Station.” I interpreted the fish as a survivor and the hooks and lines caught in the fish’s mouth were “like medals with their ribbons” (Bishop 61). The first part of the poem seemed to describe the fish as ugly “battered and venerable and homely” (Bishop 7-8). But as the reader reads further in the poem the fish makes a transformation of not homely but proud and tattered. The reader sees the struggle for survival and how the fish continues to fight and suddenly the fish is a symbol of a worthy vanquished hero. The fish is set free to continue the good fight.

The poem “Filling Station” represented the grey common everyday existence of a family that is nondescript and colorless. The only color is provided by comic books. Everything is monochromatic, and covered with a greasy film of dirt. The last part of the poem indicated that someone cared enough to embroider a doily, water the plants and arrange the cans to spell out Esso. “Someone loves us all.” (Bishop 42). Everyone’s life has meaning and everyone seeks out beauty and order in their life no matter how drab it appears to the outsider.

Roethke” poem titled “Elegy” was like a poem describing my Aunt Annie. She was an independent feisty old woman who fought for the underdog. I loved that you could tell so much about the poem’s character in the fact that she used the misshapen fruit for herself but the pick of the crop was saved to be pickled and then given to someone less fortunate than her. Her place in heaven’s supermarket was assured and her character remained true as she terrorizes the butcher. No saintly hymn singing celestial being is she but a determined righteous fighter even in heaven.

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