1 Jul 2014

Analysis: The Summer Days (Poem of the Week)

Note: this post was delayed in publishing due to my unreliable Internet connection provided by BT and Virgin Media. Please do not kill me. Thank you.

Dear Blogger followers:

Today I shall write you an analysis on my latest poem—which, as you may have guessed, is called the Summer Days.

Now, I normally write the analysis along with the publication of the Poem of the Week. However, fortune has conspired against me by draining our car battery; fixing this involved three ours of my time, which is why there has been no analysis until now. If you wish to complain, please address your concerns to:

Fates Building,
Mythical Greek Road,
La-La Land.

Thank you.

On to the Analysis

(Read the poem here if you have’t done so already.)

Now this wee poem of mine is a little unusual: first of all, it’s quite happy; and second of all, it’s a bit rambly at the beginning:

The summer days
are long and fruitful things;
lasting for days upon days
of bright, remorseless sun
and crops growing in endless circles

This is for a number of reasons. The biggest reason—if I’m honest—is that this poem took a bit of time to start revealing its... essence, as I describe it. Essentially, a poem is a creation of both my conscious mind (through the transcription and decision-making) and of my unconscious (in its inherent creation); and since the poem’s aim and direction is determined by the latter, I cannot ‘force’ the poem into becoming what it isn’t.

Therefore, it took a while for me to really get into it.

There is a second, more ‘literary’ reason as well—the poem relies very strongly on the imagery and atmosphere, which takes words to create. It is not until a while that the direction starts to become defined. (At stanza 9, to be specific.)

Quotational Analysis

Going on with the quoted stanza above, we’ll dissect the poem—especially with regards to some of the specific minutiae.

‘Long and fruitful things [the summer days]’ tells us not only the literal aspect of summer (i.e. lots of fruits are ready to eat then) but carries the second meaning—that summer is an easy time, devoid of scarcity and hardship. ‘Lasting for days upon days’ gives the poem the first taste of an aspect of summer: the fact that it seems to last forever—the fact that we think good times are forever.

The last two lines of this stanza are somewhat contradictory to the beginning. Indeed, the dichotomy manifests itself within line 4, with the opposing connotations of ‘bright’ and ‘remorseless’.

The last line—‘and crops growing in endless circles’—gives summer an almost Sisyphean nature: you can enjoy it all you like, but you won’t get far.

The first stanza is therefore a taste of what the rest will bring. We know summer—the quintessential time when trees overflow with fruit and money seems to grow on them—isn’t quite the great thing it is.

Going further on the ‘bright, remorseless sun’: the sun represents passion; and the adjective reveals that such Dithyrambic pursuits are not easy ones.

More Analysis...

Let’s go through some more stanzas.

golden lights of ebullient suns
shine carelessly upon lovers embracing
in grass and
the shadows of traitor trees

I should mention the structure before I go further. Those of you who have read my other poems will know that I’m usually a firm no-licentiousness kind of guy—you won’t see any missing periods or weird line structures in my poems.

Well, this one’s slightly different.

There are no periods until towards the end of the poem. And much of the poem has no capitalisation either, and is written in free verse.

The reason is simple: the summer days represent a time of freedom and carelessness, and the writing is free and careless to show that. Even the use of a sans-serif typeface is relevant—it breaks the usual serif-only conditions imposed upon fiction writing.

Anyway, this stanza is the first mention of sex. Not in a crude manner, mind you; and the inclusion is not for vulgar purposes, especially when you consider the fact that all of the lovers are young.

And this is a poem about young people, to a degree. No other group hates authority more, nor likes sex so much, (nor is so free) as young people. Summer is meant to be our time, and for many of us—it is.

Another literary point to observe is the ‘traitor trees’. Aside from starting the alliteration (writers love alliteration, if you didn’t know) it portrays the trees as... against the wishes of summer!

Now, bear in mind that summer does not disapprove of the lover’s behaviour; on the contrary, it likes it. Trouble is, it doesn’t want it happening under where it has little control (i.e. where the sun doesn’t shine). This reveals a manipulative, controlling aspect of summer that is concurrent with many elemental poems, and contrasts with its otherwise blasé attitude.

So, really: you may think you’re free, but in fact you’re doing what summer wants you to do.

Analysis, Analysis—Are You Getting This?

The stanza after that is a tribute to alliteration, so I won’t go too much into it. (Enjambement also works well, if you’re the type who knows what that is.)

seas of sparkling, shining glory
glimmer to the song
of delightful dolphins and
singing sailors

No, let’s skip to stanza 9:

life is a wonder to behold;
death is a worry forgotten;
and purpose can be anything
and nothing

The last line is crucial here. We now see the direction the poem is going in. It is better illustrated, however, in the next stanza:

as we kiss
and caress
peachy gold skin warm
with a tenacious, undying life;
we lose ourselves
in deepest pleasures
and most perfect illusion

Aside from the sibilance (geez, this could be an English Lit lesson now) this stanza reveals two major things.

Firstly, the line ‘tenacious, undying life’ is really rather ironic: yes, summer seems to give its denizens a startling energy and alacrity (in contrast to winter chthonians) but really—it’s not a natural life. It’s the energy of summer; and it has possessed them utterly.

Secondly—and most importantly—we are told that what we have experienced now is... an illusion. A summer mirage, so to speak.

The method by which we are deluded is interesting as well: pleasure. (Especially through sex, but that is more a product of it being one of the higher and more self-evident pleasures, rather than any specific succubus-like properties of summer.)

I suppose that it is through our most Dithyrambic experiences—our most passionate, energic, and powerful moments—that we are fooled.

Get On With It

In the final stanzas, we learn something simple: winter may be cold and it may be hard, but it is true and real. Be careful of losing yourself in something good. There may not be an autumn to wake you up.

Final Words

This has been a lengthy post, and a rather dry one at times. I hope you have stuck with me, and listened to what I have to say. I may be just a teenager—but I’ve learned a few things in my short time on Earth. Perhaps I am right; perhaps I am not. Either way, I hope you have read in between the lines, and gleaned whatever knowledge I have missed, omitted or not understood.

I’m getting all heavy and philosophical now aren’t I?

I’ve been reading Aristotle’s Poetics and—although not terribly deep or accurate in my opinion—it has gotten me thinking. I’ll post some fancy essay on that too when I’m done with it: keep an eye on the info centre for that.

I’ve also had a very strange, vivid dream. It’s not uncommon for me to get them, but this one was different.

I went through the same journey on a dream a few years back; except that this time, I knew I was dreaming, and exerted some control over it. I made it… more desirable. I visited only the places I liked. I even used telekinesis.

I’ll probably blog about that too. And tell me if I sound crazy—we artsy types aren’t the most down to earth people on the planet.

Anyway, here concludes this post. Tell me if you have any other thoughts on it.

Oh, and FOSS stands for ‘free and open source software’. The poem was created under Linux Mint using Gedit and LibreOffice, if that means anything to you. I could go into further detail, but this is not a geek blog.

PS: I shall probably make a few revisions to this poem; come back later.

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