Off-topic request for opinion from all you literary types

mecha godscylla mechagodscylla at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 10 20:02:47 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.

I've read some but not all of the responses, so this reply may or might not 
be reiterative. Here's what I thought. Equinoctial is an interesting, 
awkward sounding choice by the author.  It stuck out to me as I was reading 
the poem, before I read your question. It leads me as a reader to think that 
it was a word that had to be used here, for reasons beyond what could be 
clear to me at the point it occurs in the poem.  Before reading your 
question, but after finishing the poem, I went back to consider that word 
because it is a focal point. Uh, this is all by way of lead up to my answer.

The only synonym I could think of was equilibrium, but I think that choice 
falls short for exactly the reasons 'equinoctial' is important.  It's a 
fleeting balance point in an endless, repeating cycle of change. It's on the 
down slope, the harvest. It's the grandmother's harvest and it is the 
granddaughter's planting.   When I finished the poem I pictured them as 
balanced on a see-saw.

Anyway, traveling back in time - if I had read this when I was younger 
(before I went off and studied literature) I would have thought that 
equinoctial was a weird choice and probably thought only in terms of time of 
year.  But I think I'm a typical enough English speaker and by the end of 
the poem I definitely can't think about it without the cycle-harvest-change 
aspect.

>
>2. How do you read the lines:
>
>She shivers and says she thinks the house
>feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
>
I read the lines two ways; (a) it's cold and/or (b) the shiver is internal/ 
emotional, with an attribution to a physical cause either as a lie to self 
or a cover up for her granddaughter. I assign the (b) meaning to this 
passage, but I can't avoid noticing that (a) is still possible.

>Please rewrite this in your own words.
>
I'd just restate what I wrote above, but probably with bullet points.   8-)


>
>I'll wait for a few responses to come in, and then explain our argument.
>Your input will be much appreciated.
>
>Gili
>

Can someone explain this part:

"...the child is watching the teakettle's small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove...."

What are the small hard tears on the stove?

Elise


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