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Small Elegy Essay Research Paper The title

Small Elegy Essay, Research Paper

The title of this specific piece of poetry is "A Small Elegy". Now,

this title does not really give a reader much to go on. The only thing one would

know about this poem is that it is a small one and that it may be about a

deceased person or someone who new someone who dies. I say this because elegy is

derived from the Latin elegia , which means; A poem or song composed especially

as a lament for a deceased person. From the beginning, "A Small Elegy"

dramatically establishes that the speaker a stand-in for the poet, is by himself

talking to himself. He was with other people, but now he is completely

alone–his friends gone, his beloved sleeping elsewhere, unconscious, far away.

The speaker is the sole operating consciousness mourning in a world where

everyone else is asleep. Against the pitch-black darkness he starts saying

things to himself, using white words, which I take to mean words that have a

kind of unselfconscious purity about them. He daydreams about his mother ,an

"autumnal recollection", and that in turn moves him back toward his

childhood home where his mother seems still to preside–diminished now over an

outmoded world. She is smaller, more vulnerable, someone to be protected. "Matku,"

he says tenderly in Czech, "Mon maminku," my little mommy, which the

translator has rendered as "my diminutive mom." He imagines that after

all these years she’s still sitting back there, quietly uncomplaining, thinking

about his father who died so long ago. It is the next moment in the poem, when

the tense radically changes, that I find especially compelling. "And then

she is skinning fruit for me," he says, "I am in the room. Sitting

right next to her." He doesn’t say "And then she was skinning fruit

for me," but instead finds himself catapulted into the past as a living

present. He has been wrenched out of one time into another. The amplitude of his

feeling is nearly unbearable and he starts shaking his fist at God, using a

child’s language, calling him a ”bully" because now he is aware that God

has taken away so much, because so much is lost. And he then proceeds with the

ruthlessness of a logical proposition to face what can no longer be evaded.

"Because of all those hours I slept soundly, through calm nights," he

declares that is, because of all those nights when he was safe and unconscious.

"Because of all the loved ones who are deep in dreams" That is,

because of all those who are unconscious now, unaware of the peril that

surrounds them he realizes that time is running out and announces: "I can’t

stand being here by myself. The lamplight’s too strong." Here the lamplight

becomes the emblem of a consciousness that is too much to bear, an isolation

that is killing: "I am sowing grain on the headland. I will not live

long." The recognition here is that what he is planting is endangered,

imperiled, and vulnerable. What he plants he will not be able to protect. The

sowing of grain on the headland is his last gesture, his way of putting a

message in a bottle when he knows he won’t last much longer. The poem concludes

with a terrible recognition. When I read it, my impulse is to wake up everyone

around me everyone l love before it is too late. In conclusion this poem is just

one stanza that contains twenty-four lines. The poet refers to the speaker as

‘I’ and he also uses the words ‘my’ and ‘myself’ which lead me to the conclusion

that this poem was written in the first person. The speaker in this poem recalls

his past after his friends have left and his "darling" (wife,

girlfriend, child) is asleep. He first begins to think of his mother then gets

to his father. The speaker is empty inside because he has suffered so much great

loss. He has suffered so much that he curses God and calls him a

"bully" and he says to himself that he cant stand being alone for any

longer and he also says that he will not live long which may imply that his life

may end sooner than it has to.

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