for Students of English Worldwide
As we know, words can have more than one definition and more than one shade of meaning. In poetry we read words like these continuously. Often they are familiar words used in unfamiliar ways. Here are some words which may be new to you or whose meanings may seem new.
illustration: the act of explaining
conceive: (1) to become pregnant with; (2) to express in words
wit: (1) ability to conceive humor; (2) keen perception
aesthetic: pertaining to understanding and criticism of art and good taste
complement: something that finishes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection
to attend: (1) to be present at; (2) to listen to
metaphysical: (1) pertaining to philosophy; (2) abstract
conformity: similarity, agreement
congruence: agreement, conformity
vain: (1) futile; (2) conceited
Marianne Moore's poetry has been criticized as abstract and cold in feeling. Others have praised her poetry for its expansive passion and wide complexities. There is no doubt, however, that Moore's subject matter can be very peculiar. The following poem, for instance, is written to a non-living "steam roller," a piece of road construction equipment! Note in the following poem how she exposes or builds her argument, expanding from the smallest "chips" to the biggest ideas, from "particles" to "metaphysics"!
is nothing to you without the application.
You lack half wit. You crush all the particles down
into close conformity, and then walk back and forth
Sparkling chips of rock
are crushed down to the level of the parent block.
We're not "impersonal judgment in aesthetic
matters, a metaphysical impossibility," you
might fairly achieve
it. As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive
of one's attending upon you, but to question
the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.
a) to ask
b) to express doubt
a) not relating to people
b) showing no emotion
a) the act of putting something to use
b) a request (for a job, for example)
a) to become pregnant with
b) to express in words
a) to listen to
b) to be present at
a) a picture
b) the act of explaining
a) keen perception
a) visual matter
a) to believe
b) to be silent
c) to express
a) pertaining to necessity
b) pertaining to taste
c) pertaining to criticism
a) putting something to rest
b) putting something on
b) something that brings perfection
c) something that makes a whole
a) request debate on
1) "Metaphysical" means "happy."
2) "Vain" means "worthwhile."
3) "Parent" means "original."
4) "Fairly" means "suitably."
5) "Level" means "sidewalk."
6) "Rock" means "music."
7) "Particles" means "power."
8) "Complement" means "something that takes away."
9) "Upon" means "when."
10 "Upon" means "on top of."
11) "Impersonal" means "emotional."
12) "Application" means "supernatural."
13) "Wit" means "foolishness."
14) "Congruence" means "non-conformist."
15) "Achieve" means "get."
1) "impersonal judgment in aesthetic matters"
a) unemotional opinion concerning abstract ideas
b) abstract thoughts about beauty
2) "sparkling chips of rock"
a) bright pebbles
b) loud music
3) "You might fairly achieve it."
a) You should get it.
b) Maybe you'll get it.
4) "a metaphysical impossibility"
a) a philosophical absurdity
b) an abstract ineptness
5) "I can hardly conceive of one's attending upon you."
a) I can briefly listen to anyone who's present, even you.
b) I can scarcely imagine anyone listening to you.
1) "The illustration is nothing to you."
2) "into close conformity"
3) "to question the congruence"
4) "You lack half wit."
5) "a metaphysical impossibility"
Is "impersonal judgment" illustration or application?
Working butterflies into your argument, generalize on how going from "parent block" to "aesthetic matters" is like leaping from Earth to outer space.
needle and thread
arms and shoulders
the overall "fit" of the coat
wearing the coat
Now imagine that you like or dislike the object intensely. Write your poem!