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INFJ 6w5, 1w2, 2w1 Sx/Sp
10,604 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Find a poem - any poem! You can even post one of your own poems. The following poster will give their own interpretation of the poem. What you think it means or just what it means to your personally. What it made you feel etc. etc. Feel free to share any and all thoughts that came to mind when you read it. There are no right or wrong answers - good poetry makes others into poets. Your response can be as simple or as lengthy as you wish! I'll start us off with this poem:

I Said to Poetry by Alice Walker

I said to Poetry: "I'm finished
with you."
Having to almost die
before some weird light
comes creeping through
is no fun.
"No thank you, Creation,
no muse need apply.
I'm out for good times--
at the very least,
some painless convention."

Poetry laid back
and played dead
until this morning.
I wasn't sad or anything,
only restless.

Poetry said: "You remember
the desert, and how glad you were
that you have an eye
to see it with? You remember
that, if ever so slightly?"
I said: "I didn't hear that.
Besides, it's five o'clock in the a.m.
I'm not getting up
in the dark
to talk to you."

Poetry said: "But think about the time
you saw the moon
over that small canyon
that you liked so much better
than the grand one--and how surprised you were
that the moonlight was green
and you still had
one good eye
to see it with

Think of that!"

"I'll join the church!" I said,
huffily, turning my face to the wall.
"I'll learn how to pray again!"

"Let me ask you," said Poetry.
"When you pray, what do you think
you'll see?"

Poetry had me.

"There's no paper
in this room," I said.
"And that new pen I bought
makes a funny noise."

"Bulls h i t," said Poetry.
"Bulls h i t," said I.

3,348 Posts
Great idea for a thread! I enjoyed this poem, I like a lot of Alice Walker's works but haven't read this one.

I think the poem is a good depiction of an ambivalent inner monologue. I thought the last line of the first stanza, "some painless convention" was maybe meant to indicate how poetry can be painful by drawing on too many painful memories, but still, she's unable to resist it.

But she then goes on to depict poetry as a positive, optimistic voice. It reminds her that she still has one good eye, and all the beautiful things she's seen with that eye instead of focusing on the one bad eye. So poetry helps her see and helps her remember the beauty of life, even if it can be painful.

Even a religious experience isn't comparable to poetry, when she realizes that writing poetry is the only thing that allows her to see and the only thing that that's spiritually satisfying.

That's just how I saw it, though. :kitteh:

House is an Enigma by Emma Bolden

House is not a metaphor. House has nothing
to do with beak or wing. House is not two

hands held angled toward each other. House is
not its roof or the pine straw on its roof. At night,

its windows and doors look nothing like a face.
its stairs are not vertebrae. Its walls may be

white. They are not pale skin. House does not
appreciate your pun on its panes as pains.

House does not appreciate because house
does not have feelings. House has no aesthetic

program. House does what it does, which is
not doing. House does not sit on its foundations.

House exists in its foundations, and when the wind
pushes itself to full gale, house is never the one crying.

INFJ 6w5, 1w2, 2w1 Sx/Sp
10,604 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I enjoyed your interpretation, mp2 :) I actually am not all that familiar with Alice Walker's work, I just picked that poem at random because I liked it! So it's cool that you're familiar with her :D

Now for my interpretation of House is an Enigma:


I can see multiple meanings for this one. House could be referring to a person or a concept etc. What I got from it was warnings against reading too much into someone or something or more likely, how some people reduce a person or a thing to their parts rather than recognizing them as a whole -- an enigma that cannot be dissected.

The other thing I saw was it being about no pretense or hidden agendas because a house just is. I feel like it brings to light the importance of not trying too hard to be anything. The importance of simply being. Whether that be a poem, another piece of Art, anything of beauty. I feel like she's preaching to the audience about the importance of soaking in the beauty of somethings' complexity rather than projecting and smothering your own meaning onto something/someone and therefore, missing its true meaning. Which I realize is ironic since I'm probably projecting my own personal meaning onto this poem lol.

I actually feel like I'm not that great at interpreting poetry (ironically - gosh I overuse this word!) even though I enjoy writing it myself. For example, I had to let this one stew in my head for a little bit before anything solid came to me. But, I'm trying to follow my own rules and not worry about it ;)

Here's the next one:

By John G. Lawless

I have been two people, maybe more,
devised ways to meander through the
lives of those I’ve touched.

These encounters have not all been pleasant.
I have been defender, protector, anger’s liaison,
pained deflector of the sanctimonious rhetoric
of the shameless.

I have been lover, consort, friend, mentor,
comforter and comforted, stood strong in
the face of weakness, my own and others.

I carry the beatings of life’s whipping post,
lashes applied in my youth, consequences
of lasher’s lack of conscience.

I have become a divided house that
must stand alone. I have cowered
courageously, stood defiant in cowardice.

I am the hard muscled sentinel,
sharp eyed searcher, scanning
for the signs of evil’s stealth.

I am the hands that hold a baby’s breath,
the eyes that see not what might be, but what is,
the voice that hums a gentle song of peace.

I am the steadying shoulder for the old to lean on,
the unknown snow shoveler in the night,
the song of comfort in an old man’s dreams.

“I have looked at life from both sides”,
enjoyed loves clouds and rain,
I have been two people, maybe more.
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