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Poems

Sinking into the Leopard Pillow

Gillian Conoley, 1955

I threw out everything that didn’t give me a spark

and hung all the whites on the table.

Greens and deep dirt browns and grays.

The sensory titillations of the day

entered each limb’s phantom collapse and gait, tremor are you
there?

See until you are gone and there is only what you are seeing.

Just trying that meant yesterday.

What to do today. Falls the shadow

First of all, I’m going to just say that it’s been a terrible, terrible week and weekend. I’m glad it’s over. On to poetry…

I’m not sure how I feel about this poem. I think I like it, but I don’t entirely understand it, so I apologize for my uneducated analysis.

The central meaning of this poem is kind of hard to decipher for me. It revolves around the theme of change. Throwing away clothes, “of the day”, ” just trying that meant yesterday”, “what to do today.” This theme is evident all over the place. Obviously there’s this diction supporting that theme but diction is way overused as a literary device. Not that imagery isn’t but that’s the other main literary device here. The author talks about the colors of clothes: the whites, greens, dirt browns, grays. The author literally says “sensory titillations.” Pretty much every single line in this poem uses this imagery to support the theme of change.

In terms of sound devices, I think I can find them but I’m not really sure if they actually mean anything. Lines 1-3 are pretty short and choppy whereas lines 4-6 have more long syllables and are much longer sentences. The last two lines, however, switch back to the choppy style. Lines 7-8 have this repetition of the ‘t’ and ‘d’ sound, highlighting this contrast between the long ‘o’s and ‘ou’s of the earlier lines and these last few sentences. I suppose that it’s because these first few lines and last few are focusing more on only the imagery behind what’s going on whereas these longer voweled lines are more introspective.

While I don’t think there’s an obvious volta in the traditional sense, if I had to mark a shift anywhere in the poem, it would be after line 5. There is a period before this shift so that provides one of the criteria and I think that there’s a shift from the author writing about a specific instance to about philosophy of life in general.

Poetry is hard. Life is hard.

 

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One comment on “Poems

  1. “Poetry is hard. Life is hard.”
    This is entirely true; however, this is simultaneously, inexplicably true: “Poetry is beautiful. Life is beautiful.”

    Like

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