Interpreting Poetry


“What the heck does that mean?” Many people have found themselves asking that question when reading poetry. So in order to help get a general idea of what poems say, it is necessary to look at some examples of poetry and try to decide what, if anything, the poet is trying to say. Three poems, each by a different author, which all basically follow the same theme will be discussed. Each author uses various literary tools, but for now the main focus will be that of meaning. The first poet to be discussed is Shakespeare.
The famous sonnet simply numbered eighteen, Shakespeare appears to writing (speaking) to a woman he is fond of.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more ...

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long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

In the simplest terms possible, Shakespeare is saying that the woman of whom this poem speaks of is beautiful. But even more than that, the eloquence in which he expresses her beauty demonstrates that Shakespeare loves the woman he is addressing.
In what seems almost a response to Shakespeare’s sonnet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem titled, “If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Naught”.

If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
“I love her for her smile – her look – her way
Of speaking gently – for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day” –
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee – and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/27/2007 01:30:23 AM
Category: Poetry & Poets
Type: Free Paper
Words: 688
Pages: 3

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