*** SPAM *** Re: Off-topic request for opinion from all you literary types

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Sun Jan 9 17:27:35 EST 2005


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> |1. In the first line of the second stanza, the poem refers to
"equinoctial
> |tears". Please give a synonym for "equinoctial" which you think could be
> |appropriate for the poem.

Equinoctial. My grandfather (b. 1880s and therefore about 20 years older
than E. Bishop) would often talk of 'equinoctial gales' - it was received
wisdom in our house that the week around the autumn equinox was likely to be
marked by storms and high winds. But I don't know whether that was just a
family thing, or a just a British thing, or maybe even a sailor thing (for
that is what my grandfather was), or in more general use. So, for me
'equinoctial' always connotes storms, which fits well with 'tears', but this
may not be a typical association.

> |She shivers and says she thinks the house
> |feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
>
2. I'd only add to what Deborah said that the 'house' seems to be (in a
submerged sort of way) a metaphor for the person (houses aren't usually
inscrutable either), and that saying the house feels chilly is a way of
commenting on her own frailty and age. Maybe I'm foisting this meaning onto
the lines, but it's a pretty common metaphor, and made reminds me of that
great analogy between the crumbling house and aged body in Ecclesiastes 12:
"In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong me
shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those
that look out of the windows be darkened."

Again, this is all probably a bit idiosyncratic, mind!

Charlie

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