Quoting Helen Keller’s Teacher

Helen Keller and Miss SullivanWhen Helen Keller asked her teacher about the meaning of love, Miss Sullivan kissed and hugged the deaf and blind woman, then spelled into her hand, “I love Helen”.

After Keller’s further questions approach her teacher’s feeling heart, Miss Sullivan then hadn’t resisted to reveal her meaning of love. Here, her stance goes:

“Love is something like clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out, you cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play.”

All this came from Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life”, which unveiled the unseen, and heard the unheard.

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On Neruda’s Poem

This is a reaction on a fervent poem of Pablo Neruda,  “If You Forget Me”. The entire  article below was penned by Arch. It is highly recommended that you listen to the poem before you go through the article.

“If You Forget Me” BY PABLO NERUDA

“If You Forget Me” was authored by a Chilean writer, Pablo Neruda. The poem unveils consequences on committing into a relationship with a love one. Neruda’s poem depicts contradicting ideas, feelings, and assumptions about the consequences of loving through his subtle application of sound in words and of speech figures.

In this essay, the persona, “I”, is denoted in masculine pronouns. Although the poem could suitably be recited by both genders, this is to avoid obscurity on explanations between the source and the primary receiver of the message of the poem.

The title of the poem, “If You Forget Me”, indicates assumptions that solely involve the consequences of loving someone who nears to one’s heart. It signals that the poem conveys paths that a couple might take when involved in a relationship. In the first person, the persona pointed out two contradicting assumptions that contribute to the meaning of the poem.

Through figures of speech, the author expressed two opposite points that people involved in a relationship must be aware of. These stands are crucial to the foundation of a long lasting relationship between couples. Also, the author has used sounds in words while emphasizing his points. The points depict two extreme faces of love: as a product of insensitivity and as a flare that is impossible to be extinguished. In the poem, the first point is mentioned before the latter.

The first stanza reveals that the persona directly commands his love one to “know one thing” that could be an assessment of his impressions to her. As he proceeds on cementing his first stance through the next stanzas, he compared his impressions to the abstract features of his love one. “The crystal moon at the red branch of the slow autumn at [his] window” is compared to the companionship that the persona desires to have – as if wanting to step beyond the lines of loneliness. The “impalpable ash” that is near the fire evokes dullness and melancholy that is irreversible because of the passion that has been exhausted and never have been an ash transformed back to exact object. Likewise, “the wrinkled body of the log” is a simile to embarrassment and roughness that the persona feels because his love one is away from him. The “aromas, light, metals” are directly associated to the boats that sail into his love one’s isles that wait for him. These assessments indicate the coldness that streaked his instinct to say the next stanza.

An assumption in the third stanza, “if little by little you stop loving me”, is intensified by the line “I shall stop loving you little by little.” The lines are products of the angst and austerity of the persona that have been revealed on the preceding stanza. If this assumption could happen, everything in the future would change because the persona has a tendency to bounce everything that he has received untouched.

If his love one would stop loving him, then their relationship is subject to forgetfulness – As expressed in the fourth stanza, it would be a bittersweet impression on the persona’s side to forget his love one. The aim to enrich relationships is history.

Heavy and bold sounds like “long and mad” and “wind of banners” produced in the fifth stanza emphasized the burden that the persona assumes that would be the ground for “lifting his arms” or finally freed him from the burdensome relationship. Furthermore, soft sounds in the stanza like “the shore of the heart where I have roots” indicate the persona’s established sensitivity amidst the lonesome situation.

As opposed to the feelings of loneliness, austerity, dullness, and melancholy; and the idea of painful acceptance of a relationship finally falling apart, the last stanzas seem to act as a light at the edge of the darkness. Facilitated with figures of speech and soft, but sharp sounds, line six is undoubtedly the most endearing and delicate part of the entire poem. The “implacable sweetness” depicts a euphonic cacophony of breadth and an optimistic result of the assumption that brings forth the palpable zeal of desire. The personification of a flower that climbs to seek the lips of the persona expresses a passionate lust which is blended with love – an eternal love. Deeply rooted to the persona’s feelings, the sorrow can then be replaced by sweetness if this assumption could happen.

These optimistic ideas are directly referred to as “fire” or the desire and passion to love that is capable of transcending through time because the trust that the couple might exchange is confidently fair and square. The poem ends with an extreme expression of feeling of release that seems to refresh the whole idea of the poem, transforming a scarred and dark face of love to a tranquil and a neutral love.

The order of the poem formed a progressive effect that enlightens a reader after reflecting on the message of the poem. The order of sounds in words, the figurative comparisons of ideas and feelings, and the order of the assumptions from dark to light signify the importance of optimism as well as the dangers of not living with it.

In an eternal relationship, the couple should realize that entering through the door of timeless love requires a thorough and an open-minded thinking. Eternal lovers pledge commitments to maintain their relationship. Even if deep problems of boundaries and distance might come, the burning flare of passion of love must remain. The consequences must surface and learned, and the knowledge should manifest and teach. For the heart is the man’s most sensitive part – that is if removed, then starting from wreckage might nearly be an impossible solution.

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What Kills A Sampaguita?

Scent
Is carried through
The elegance of wind,

The perfume of the sampaguitas,
Brushes my nostrils
With sweetness of their spray,

But the odd smell of the soot
Whiffs and diffuses thereafter
As it unclothes the dress of the
sampaguita,

Oh, that darkened rapscallion,
Makes the blitheful wind turn
To a black criminal
That washes away the scent,
It’s smell, not dwelling
Upon my veins anymore,

Oh, solitude is what wind was,
The sweet smell passed away,
As my solitude,
Oh, solitude has grabbed by gray!

–Arch

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On Atwood’s Poem

“Flowers” by Margaret Atwood, An Essay by Arch

Before you start reading the essay, I suggest that you have to have a “feel” of the poem here. ~

The poem “Flowers” is authored by Margaret Atwood. The lines of the poem were written and inscribed in a persona of a hopeful girl who brings fresh flowers when she goes to visit her ill father on a hospital. While she was in the white-walled room where her father lies almost quiet, she has described her reflections on her memories with him. Beyond Atwood’s dominant imageries of sorrow and stillness constructed by the persona, reveals a daughter’s optimism towards the health of her dying father.

Atwood has pronounced the poem in the voice of a daughter who faces the situation of losing her father. From the first line of the poem, the daughter’s perspective was revealed with the presence of the article, I, which is the representation of the perspective of self. Thus, this poem is written on a characterial voice – in the perspective of the flower girl.

In the view of the one who reveals what she perceives, the persona brought her tone as a daughter to her father. Her actions in the first stanza show hopes of her father opening his eyes to see, if not just smell, the fresh flowers that she has brought from home. Having a visit to her father on the hospital, she desires to be a witness to her father’s state of health. She has placed the flowers in a jar on the longing to see him enlightened through immediately perceiving the flower on his side after he opens his eyes. On the other side, thoughts of loosing her father made her express the predicament that she has to deal the moment her father dies. Loosing her father is the least acceptable fact that she has to face.

The impatience has jolted her to have a streak of feeling that she has to go beyond her melancholic actions. The sixth stanza showed the girl prompting herself a question that acted like a bridge to the succeeding stanzas. As a personal compassion, remembering the past would bring live memories that had greatly involved her resplendent experience with her father.

The thought of a past excursion with her father on the seventh stanza added to her optimistic side. She has confidently expressed that behind the surface fact that her father seems so unconscious; there is still a father who would not sacrifice his memory on account of facing death.

The persona’s sympathy would not be expressed if the author’s written words were not written at all. The words that were constructed by the persona in the poem denotatively and connotatively link every stanzas of the poem, and intricately, every idea that makes the poem more coherent and powerful. The author’s words expressed by the persona are not obscure, and they are generally simple. They are not fully technical because they could be generally understood of anyone who went to school and could read an English text. Thus, the level of diction was General English, which is more appropriate to a text as reflective and as descriptive this poem is.

The title of the poem is as simple as the way the text was crafted. “Flowers” are natural creations that intensify the colors in the environment. If imagined the flowers that were placed on the persona’s father’s side on a bed, they would happen to be the only objects that would surface to have their natural colors; the white sheet on her father adds to the likeliness of the room to a ship as the room was described to be white-walled and was plain on the fourth line from the beginning of the second stanza. On the beginning of the third stanza were the arrivals of two women in their blue dress, they are the medical staffs that are described to be “plump and muscular” – that pertain to their size and mostly, their knowledge and passion of and for health and pain. The women were termed as “Angels” because they somehow help the persona’s father escape the realms of death using their medical knowledge and skills. Again, these words came from the thoughts of a hopeful girl.

The description “erased” in the seventh stanza is a connotation of blankness and stillness – a stance of the persona to her father that he looks austere and dead. Beyond that, she has leaped from that thought to bring the idea of a tunnel that her father was trapped in. “Tunnel” in the dictionary is defined as an underground or underwater passage; in the poem, the end of the tunnel connotes the halting of the daughter’s fear of her father’s death. On the line, “But somewhere in there (the far end of the tunnel)”, the persona has temporarily escaped from the idea of sorrow because that line has acted like a technical tool which brings out live memories of her father. At the last of the stanzas, the persona unleashed a fact that there will come a time when has to give everything up: the sorrow, the anger, and memories of the flowers, but still, she longs to save her father in her own way.

The imageries in the poem constitute sensory impressions that express sorrow, stillness and inevitably, the sense of optimism. The mixture of words of the author and imagination of the audience brings the concrete meaning of the poem more lively, making it more understandable by just merely looking at the surface because it was written without hiding something; all were emotionally expressed by the persona as they are written in text. The persona has metaphorically revealed that she is the flower girl from the very first line; it means that the girl and the flower girl that commonly carries the flowers on a wedding is one. Visually, the girl has carried things that could naturally display colors in the white-walled room. The old flowers were not already fresh at the juncture the girl arrived at the room to visit her father. So she has replaced the old ones that were described in an overstatement of odor that the greenish water did smell like dirty teeth. The snipping sound made by the surgical scissors could be heard as the stems were cut to long prolong their life. The fresh flowers that are placed in the white-walled room symbolize the importance of a daughter to her father at all times; that the daughter would be a witness of whatever events that might occur next.

The father’s statement that he feels like he is on a ship is also a showcase of sorrow and stillness in the point of view of the persona. After the persona’s father expressed verbally his curt observation that he is on a ship, where in fact he is not, the girl has seconded and elaborated the idea through the succeeding lines. The white walls, the small windows that would be difficult to peep through because they are minimal, the bells that ring, the stranger’s rubbery shoes that make sounds on the floor, as well as an air-conditioner that sounds like the ocean’s water hitting the shore bring a whole image that translate to a feeling of loneliness and dreadfulness. The persona has spoken the thought of losing her father to the degree that she has revealed her determination that her father’s waving goodbye would not be just acceptable; as she has imaginatively illustrated the idea of a ship that carries her father that is sailing away. “The waving of the hands that do not wave” on the last part of the second stanza conveys stillness – a product of a horrible jolt of fear and coldness.

As the women of two came, the persona has observed that they are skillful and objective as the thirtieth and the thirty-first line elaborated. Their hands were described visually and evocatively as the possession of the muscular angels that were skillful at fighting and taking care of the ill. The persona’s concluding understatement on the fifth stanza that the rest, including her, are not capable of medically helping the diseased, is a compliment for the professionalism of the medical staffs. They make her father closer to her because they take care of him, hence, ameliorating his health.

The last two stanzas contain dominantly with doom and a streak of hope from the point of view of the persona. The flowers in the pickle jar are visual imageries that represent a creation that deserves life because it is still having a purpose to live. The flowers’ purpose of living is it adds colors to a plain background. Without them, life would just be monotonous and lonesome. And so the daughter needs her father to live to fill her life complete. Without her father, she would not be able to recover for a very long period of time as she has learned to peep through is father’s feelings. The memory of fishing with her father on a body of water was a product of the girl’s longing to have a father’s companion. Having been in a hospital brings an impression of a lacking of father’s sympathy on his daughter for a period of time.

The last of the stanzas was rather a product of the whole poem. It was the total result of fear, anger, sorrow, loneliness and hope expressed by the persona. Ultimately, it reflects the persona’s thought’s lucid outcome once she enters the door that would lead to her infinite experience of memories with her father. The act of giving up means obliterating all the fears, all the sorrow, as well as hope. Everything would fade away and renewed as one already experiences the actual feeling of being on a place where she has never been before. The flowers that the flower girl has brought would just be a piece of wreckage that has been left by her life on earth, from that, another kind of hope rises up again.

Atwood has created a persona that is passionate about her life so long as the other person who is the reason for her to live is present. Hope acts like a bridge that joins the life and relationship to last more than necessary. The hopeful girl shall live as long as her father is alive in her mind because her father is the reason why she has brought the flowers beside him. Adding a color to his life means to forget about the dreadfulness about life and face a new life that is more alive with the most vibrant of colors after he lives the hospital healthy, joyful, and tranquil.

One might perceive an effective poem which has an “immediate powerful emotional effect”, will also bear intellectual analysis. The poem’s sorrowful imagery is dominant as it is almost commonly contained in every stanza. It could certainly evoke its emotional effect, but for a “greater poetic experience”, poetic analysis could bare a meaning which could finally move a reader.

Although the poem is dominantly dark in its nature, its persona has managed to sprinkle ideas of optimism that somehow brought a thin jet of light on a gloom. Atwood in this poem never failed to illustrate austerity because her language was dominantly marked with sorrow and stillness. Nevertheless, as dark as the reader might perceive the meaning of the poem, there is certainly a thin layer of optimism present within it that they should be aware of.

Work Cited

Boulton, M. (1955). The Anatomy of Poetry. Great Britain: Latimer, Trend & Co Limited.

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A Musical Sentiment.

I love simple songs. They give me tranquility emotional stability. Listening to them is  a way of forgetting everything that I have been crossed through the past days. It’s the resting part that I need after every activities that I do just like reading a Bible or nosing on a pleasurable book. As I enjoy perceiving songs that are poems which carry poetic melody and lines, I really am a music lover!

By being a music lover is like being an open-minded person, I could enjoy every bit of music genres as long as they aren’t anti-Catholic, anti-social, promoting hatredness, rebellious, and the like. But I could be a bias too, because I love ballads and acoustics more than the loud ones.  I just hear loud and frantic songs when I feel listening to them.

Most of the time, I hear the music of guitarists like John Mayer, McLaughlin, Dillon and whiff some from The Corrs. They have songs that that relate to me.. and my goodness, their songs are simple and easy to understand. Leastways, I listen to The Killers, Greenday, Simple Plan, Click Five, Sandwich etc. whenever I want to :).

I envy people who could play guitar by just a bliss. Sung Ha Jung is a very famous finger-style plucking person on Youtube. In fact, I think he could be the youngest to begin to pick his guitar and perform in front of the web people.

Happy and upbeat songs really raise my energy up! Listening to them is proven good to me. They are just as subliminal as I even not notice that they change my mood whenever I feel uneasy.

Well, as a conclusion to this post, I want to leave snippets from David Archuleta’s “You Can”. It has been playing on my head for three days.. and I like how I remember its lyrics. I’ve even attempted to sing it with my blue guitar:

Baby, when you look at me
Tell me what do you see
Are these the eyes of someone you could love?
‘Cause everything that brought me here
Well, now it all seems so clear
Baby, you’re the one that I’ve been dreaming of
If anyone can make me fall in love, you can…

I could spend a day listening and singing songs that matter to me. They have evoked some emotions that made them memorable to me. This post could immediately be limited with a dot, but I just wanna say that a music lover could listen his music as long as he has a fire inside that burns passionately.

–Arch

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“Flowers” by Margaret Atwood.

“Flowers”

Margaret Atwood

Right now I am the flower girl.
I bring fresh flowers, dump out the old ones, the greenish water
that smell like dirty teeth
into the bathroom sink, snip off the stem ends
with surgical scissors I borrowed from the nursing station,
put them in a jar
I brought from home, because they don’t have vases
in this hotel for the ill,
place them on the table beside my father
where he can’t se them
becuase he won’t open his eyes.

He lies flattened under the white sheet.
He says he is on a ship,
and I can see it-
the functional white walls, the minimal windows,
the little bells, the rubbery footsteps of strangers,
the whispering all around
of the air-conditioner, or else the ocean,
and he is on a ship;
he’s giving us up, giving up everything
but the breath going in
and out of his diminished body;
minute by minute he’s sailing slowly away,
away from us and our waving hands
that do not wave.

The women come in, two of them, in blue;
it’s no use being kind, in here, if you don’t have hands like theirs-
large and capable, the hands
of plump muscular angels,
the ones that blow trumpets and lift swords.
They shift him carefully, tuck in the corners.
It hurts, but as little as possible.
Pain is their lore. The rest of us
are helpless amateurs.

A suffering you can neither cure nor enter-
there are worse things, but not many.
After a while it makes us impatient.
Can’t we do anything but feel sorry?

I sit there, watching the flowers in their pickle jar. He is asleep, or not.
I think; He looks like a turtle.
Or: He looks erased.
But somewhere in there, at the far end of the tunnel
of pain and forgetting he’s trapped in
is the same father I knew before,
the one who carried the green canoe
over the portage, the painter trailing,
myself with the fishing rods, slipping on the wet boulders and slapping flies.
That was the last time we went there.

There will be a last time for this also,
bringing cut flowers to this white room.
Sooner or later I too
will have to give everything up,
even the sorrow that comes with these flowers,
even the anger,
even the memory of how I brought them
from a garden I will no longer have by then,
and put them beside my dying father,
hoping I could still save him.

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