Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Building Nests, Making Metaphors

An Artist
by Amy LV

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

I received a lovely note from Musician and English Professor Gart Westerhout who "has a regular habit of doing what might be called a cold singing of poems, in other words singing the poem before even having read it." Below you can enjoy Gart, who runs a community theater (( in Japan, singing "Robin." 

Students - Robins won't be back to Holland, NY for a while, but that doesn't keep me from thinking about them.  Around our house, trees are getting browner and browner before the world will (soon) turn white.  We'll all stay hunkered down for a many months, feeding the fire with wood and ourselves with chili and crusty bread.  And then...many months from now...we will once again see that little red chest of a hopping robin, pulling spring up from the south in her beak.

Today's poem is not about something I can see outside right now, but it is about something I can see in my heart's eye.  One of the great gifts of poetry is that through the lines of a poem, we can relive our best moments and resee our favorite people and times.  The robin may not be in our yard...but I can still keep her close.  Can you think of something that is not happening right now, maybe something from a long time ago, something you would like to hold onto?  Close your eyes and try.  You can hold that thought, that place, that person...with a poem.

You may have noticed that today's poem compares a robin to an artist.  Making a comparison in a poem like this is called a metaphor, and if you read and listen carefully, you will find metaphors everywhere.  Life and writing is made more interesting when we can learn to see things as other things, when we can tie different experiences together in magical and unexpected ways.

Did you notice the repeating line in this poem?  It just appears twice, but it's there.  

For any of you wondering about the title of "Robin," this is a case where the title gives a reader a wee bit of information than the poem.  The poem does not actually name the type of bird at all, though careful readers would probably guess from one particular clue.  Which one?

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  1. Being a nature lover, I really enjoyed this, Amy!

  2. Me too. It's lovely. The last time I saw the robins, they were sitting in the holly outside my office window gulping down berries.