Poetry is one of the things I knew I would study in my English class, and I had been dreading it all semester. Before now, I didn’t really understand or appreciate poetry. I guess my issue with it before was that I felt like authors should just state what they mean. Poetry is often so short that so much is left up to interpretation. More often that not, I was confused after reading a piece of poetry, but I think that’s because I didn’t know how to read it. My English instructor simplified it in a way no other teacher had ever done for me, and going through her model, I have been able to pull so much out of so many different poems.
She taught me to start with the theme, the speaker, and the tone. Who is the poem about, what is he or she saying, and how is he or she saying it? From there, I look for diction and syntax, which is word choice and placement, as those things are usually chosen for a reason in poetry. Then I look at sound, figures of speech, and finally rhythm and meter. We looked closely at seven poems this semester and took our poetry test today. My favorite poems were “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden and “I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson. I identify so much with the former, and the latter is just so interesting to me. Dickinson personified death and wrote about him like he was a gentleman escorting her to her “eternity;” she was strangely upbeat about the whole idea.
Late October and early November is a time full of tradition. We have Halloween at the end of October, of course, but that doesn’t really affect me too much. October 31st was just another day of work and school, except for the fact that my English Professor brought us candy. I didn’t get excited about the candy as much as I did when teachers brought us candy in Middle or even High School. What does that say about me?
Around the same time is the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which celebrates so many things, but in the words I told my Sunday School class last Sunday, it’s a time to be thankful for the Bible. It wasn’t always accessible to everyday people, and people had to rely on interpretations from priests. It’s easy to see how they could and did take advantage of the power that gave them. Martin Luther came around, however, and translated the Bible into German, which made it accessible to everyone. He also made God accessible to everyone, at least through interpretation. He’s the one who pushed that one could be saved through grace rather than good deeds, and that every single person could have a relationship with God without a middle man (a priest). Okay, enough of the History lesson.