'A Visitor' by Mary Oliver
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Dream Work1986My father, for example,who was young once
on the darkest of nights
to the porch and knocks
wildly at the door,and if I answer
I must be prepared
for his waxy face,for his lower lip
swollen with bitterness.And so, for a long time,I did not answer,but slept fitfully
between his hours of rapping.But finally there came the night
when I rose out of my sheets
and stumbled down the hall.The door fell openand I knew I was savedand could bear him,pathetic and hollow,with even the least of his dreams
frozen inside him,and the meanness gone.And I greeted him and asked him
into the house,and lit the lamp,and looked into his blank eyes
in which at last
I saw what a child must love,I saw what love might have done
had we loved in time.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry: A Visitor by Mary Oliver
Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries. It allows the writer to express themselves in a unique way and can be interpreted in many different ways. Mary Oliver's poem, "Poetry: A Visitor," is a wonderful example of how poetry can be used to convey deep emotions and thoughts.
"Poetry: A Visitor" is a short poem that describes the experience of a poet who is visited by poetry itself. The poem begins with the speaker saying that poetry has come to her in the night, "with its feet of webbing." She then describes how poetry comes to her quietly, "slipping through the window / like a shadow."
The speaker goes on to describe how poetry is a visitor who comes and goes as it pleases, never staying for too long. She says that poetry is "always a surprise," and that it can come at any time, "even in the middle of sleep."
The poem ends with the speaker saying that she welcomes poetry whenever it comes to her. She says that poetry is a gift that she treasures, and that she is grateful for its presence in her life.
"Poetry: A Visitor" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of what it means to be a poet. The poem is written in simple language, but it has a depth of meaning that is not immediately apparent.
The first thing that stands out about the poem is its use of imagery. The speaker describes poetry as having "feet of webbing," which gives it a sense of lightness and grace. She also describes it as coming in quietly, "slipping through the window / like a shadow." This image creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, as if poetry is something that is not quite tangible.
Another aspect of the poem that is noteworthy is its use of repetition. The phrase "Poetry: A Visitor" is repeated throughout the poem, emphasizing the idea that poetry is something that comes and goes. The repetition also gives the poem a sense of rhythm and structure.
One of the most interesting aspects of the poem is its use of personification. The speaker describes poetry as if it were a person, with its own thoughts and feelings. She says that poetry is "always a surprise," as if it has a mischievous nature. This personification makes poetry seem more real and tangible, as if it is something that can be interacted with in a meaningful way.
The theme of the poem is the power and importance of poetry in the life of a writer. The speaker says that poetry is a gift that she treasures, and that she is grateful for its presence in her life. This theme is universal, as it speaks to the importance of art and creativity in the lives of all people.
The beauty of poetry is that it can be interpreted in many different ways. "Poetry: A Visitor" is no exception. Here are a few possible interpretations of the poem:
1. Poetry is a muse.
One interpretation of the poem is that poetry is a muse that visits the speaker in her dreams. The idea of poetry having "feet of webbing" and "slipping through the window" gives it a mystical quality. The speaker says that poetry is "always a surprise," which suggests that it is not something that can be summoned at will. This interpretation emphasizes the idea that creativity is something that cannot be controlled, but must be allowed to flow freely.
2. Poetry is a gift.
Another interpretation of the poem is that poetry is a gift that is given to the speaker by the universe. The speaker says that poetry comes to her "even in the middle of sleep," which suggests that it is something that is beyond her control. The fact that poetry is described as a "visitor" emphasizes the idea that it is something that is given freely, rather than something that can be earned or bought.
3. Poetry is a reflection of the self.
A third interpretation of the poem is that poetry is a reflection of the self. The speaker says that poetry comes to her "with its feet of webbing," which suggests that it is something that is part of her. The fact that poetry is described as a "visitor" emphasizes the idea that it is something that is separate from the self, yet intimately connected to it. This interpretation emphasizes the idea that art is a reflection of the self, and that the act of creating is a way of exploring and expressing one's innermost thoughts and feelings.
"Poetry: A Visitor" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of what it means to be a poet. The use of imagery, repetition, and personification create a sense of mystery and intrigue that draws the reader in. The theme of the poem, the power and importance of poetry in the life of a writer, is universal and speaks to the importance of art and creativity in the lives of all people.
This poem is a testament to the power of poetry to inspire, to enlighten, and to bring joy to the lives of those who create and appreciate it. Whether it is viewed as a muse, a gift, or a reflection of the self, poetry is something that has the power to connect us to our deepest emotions and to the world around us. And for that, we should be truly grateful.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Exploring the Beauty of Nature in Mary Oliver's "A Visitor"
As a lover of nature, Mary Oliver has always been fascinated by the beauty of the natural world. Her poems are a reflection of her deep connection with nature and her desire to share its wonders with others. In "A Visitor," Oliver invites us to explore the beauty of a simple moment in nature and to appreciate the small things that often go unnoticed.
"A Visitor" is a short poem that captures a moment of stillness in nature. The poem begins with the speaker observing a small bird perched on a branch. The bird is described as "small and brown" with a "sharp beak" and "bright eyes." The speaker watches as the bird moves its head back and forth, as if searching for something.
The second stanza of the poem describes the setting in which the bird is perched. The branch is described as "bare" and "black," suggesting that it is winter or early spring. The sky is also described as "gray," adding to the sense of stillness and quietness in the scene.
In the final stanza, the speaker reflects on the beauty of the moment. She describes the bird as a "visitor" who has come to "sing" and "be alive." The speaker is grateful for the bird's presence and for the opportunity to witness its beauty.
At its core, "A Visitor" is a poem about the beauty of nature and the importance of appreciating the small things in life. The poem invites us to slow down and take notice of the world around us, to appreciate the beauty of a simple moment in nature.
One of the most striking things about the poem is its simplicity. The language is straightforward and unadorned, yet it is also incredibly evocative. The descriptions of the bird and the setting are vivid and precise, allowing the reader to picture the scene in their mind's eye.
The poem is also notable for its use of imagery. The descriptions of the bird and the setting are rich with sensory details, allowing the reader to experience the scene in a visceral way. For example, the description of the bird's "sharp beak" and "bright eyes" creates a vivid image of the bird in the reader's mind.
Another important aspect of the poem is its use of metaphor. The bird is described as a "visitor," suggesting that it is a temporary presence in the speaker's life. This metaphor highlights the fleeting nature of beauty and the importance of appreciating it while it lasts.
The final stanza of the poem is particularly powerful. The speaker's gratitude for the bird's presence is palpable, and her description of the bird as a "visitor" who has come to "sing" and "be alive" is both poignant and uplifting. The poem reminds us that even in the midst of a bleak and gray world, there is still beauty to be found.
In "A Visitor," Mary Oliver invites us to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a simple moment in nature. The poem is a reminder that even in the midst of a busy and chaotic world, there is still beauty to be found if we take the time to look for it. By using vivid imagery and metaphor, Oliver creates a powerful and evocative poem that celebrates the beauty of the natural world and the importance of appreciating it.
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