Off-topic request for opinion from all you literary types

Otter Perry ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com
Sun Jan 9 21:02:05 EST 2005


On Sunday, January 9, 2005, at 01:14 PM, Gili Bar-Hillel wrote:

>
> I have a little disagreement with someone, about the reading two 
> particular
> lines in the poem "Sestina" by Elizabeth Bishop. I'd appreciate it if 
> you
> could read the poem (which we both think is a lovely one), mull it 
> over a
> little, then go down and read the questions after the spoiler space. 
> Our
> argument has to do with how a typical English speaker would read the 
> poem,
> neither of us qualify.
>
> Full text of the poem can be found here:
> http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/03/ahead/sestina.html
> and several other places online.
>
>
> S
> P
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> R
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> S
> P
> A
> C
> E
>
> P
> L
> E
> A
> S
> E
>
> S
> C
> R
> O
> L
> L
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> D
> O
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> N
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> S
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> M
> E
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> M
> O
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> E
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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.

A synonym?  There isn't one that I can think of.  The equinox is Sep 21
or thereabouts, and connected in folklore [which means my father
thought it was nonsense] with rains.  That is, there are supposed to
be rain storms at this time of year.  So the grandmother's tears are
being compared to those rain storms.

> 2. How do you read the lines:
>
> She shivers and says she thinks the house
> feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
>
> Please rewrite this in your own words.

This seems straightforward to me.  The grandmother shivers.  This
is a normal reaction to cold.  She says she thinks she shivers because
the house is cold and adds wood to the stove to make it warmer.



---------------------------------------------



- It doesn't make any difference what you do in the
   bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street
   and frighten the horses.

                                    -- Mrs. Patrick Campbell

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