Saturday, July 26, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Bi-Focal" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for July 26, 2014 is "Bi-Focal" by William E. Stafford, Poet of the Month.  In addition to the reviews this month, Mr. Stafford's work has been examined previously here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/04/poem-of-day-once-in-40s-by-william.html, where a brief biography and references may be found.  The text of "Bi-Focal" may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171501.

"Bi-Focal" is a modern take on the ballad form.  As with most ballads, it is presented as a series of quatrains.  Each line has three metric feet.  In lieu of the traditional balladic rhyme scheme, the even lines of each quatrain end in rhyme, assonance, or consonance; the odd lines do not.  It is also interesting to note that the poem ends with "the way it is," the title of the collection in which the poem was published.

The poet explains that there are two aspects to observable objects.  We perceive an object in one way.  "The way it is," however, may be an entirely different thing.  We see the surface, what the poet, interestingly, calls "love."  However, "the way it is" is something deep beneath the surface, what the poets calls "legend."  A legend contains an element of truth.  The poet reveals that what we perceive as truth contains in reality only an element of legend.


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