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17                            Enjoying a Poem

Things about a poem that we enjoy are rhyme and rhythm on other twigs of the Tree, and metaphors or imagery. Long ago, a poet heard behind his shoulder "... Time's winged chariot hurrying near." Today, if one parks at the side of an expressway, traffic roars up from behind and sweeps by regardless, like the onrush of Time, pausing for nobody. "The moving finger writes ... nor all thy piety nor wit can call it back to cancel half a line." As with enjoying art, if the poet's imagery links to something in oneself it has an impact; otherwise it leaves one cold.

        Beside rhyme (well understood) and imagery (somewhat understood), there is a third level at which a poem may have an effect, the sublime or ineffable or something like that. The night sky is referred to in connection with enjoying a view, and "higher things" are mentioned in the Conclusion. In poems as well, I speculate that attending to the effects in our minds of, first, rhyme and then imagery may help us toward understanding where our more mysterious intimations come from.

 

 

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