'Colloquy' by Weldon Kees
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In the broken light, in owl weather,
Webs on the lawn where the leaves end,
I took the thin moon and the sky for cover
To pick the cat's brains and descend
A weedy hill. I found him groveling
Inside the summerhouse, a shadowed bulge,
Furred and somnolent.—"I bring,"
I said, "besides this dish of liver, and an edge
Of cheese, the customary torments,
And the usual wonder why we live
At all, and why the world thins out and perishes
As it has done for me, sieved
As I am toward silences. Where
Are we now? Do we know anything?"
—Now, on another night, his look endures.
"Give me the dish," he said.
I had his answer, wise as yours.
Submitted by Marcellina
Editor 1 Interpretation
Colloquy by Weldon Kees - A Deep Dive into the Poem
Are you a poetry lover? Do you enjoy reading and analyzing poems that leave you in a state of wonder and awe? If yes, then you are in for a treat. Today, we are going to take a deep dive into a classic poem by Weldon Kees - Colloquy. This poem is a masterpiece that has fascinated poetry enthusiasts for decades. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and literary techniques used in the poem to unravel its true meaning.
Overview of Colloquy
Colloquy is a poem that was written by Weldon Kees in 1953. It is a dramatic monologue that features a conversation between two people - the speaker and an unnamed woman. The poem is divided into five stanzas, each with a varying number of lines. The conversation between the two characters takes place in an apartment, and it is clear from the outset that there is a sense of tension and unease between them.
The poem explores several themes, including love, loss, communication, and the search for identity. The central theme of the poem is the struggle to connect with another person. The speaker and the woman are unable to communicate effectively, and their attempts to do so only lead to frustration and confusion.
The theme of loss is also prevalent in the poem. The speaker is mourning the loss of a past love, and this loss has left him feeling disconnected from the world around him. He is searching for a way to reconcile his feelings of loss and move on with his life.
Throughout the poem, there are several symbols that help to convey the themes of the poem. The apartment, for example, represents the speaker's sense of isolation and detachment from the world. The fact that he is having this conversation in an apartment rather than in a public place highlights his sense of loneliness.
The cigarette is another symbol that is used throughout the poem. The speaker offers the woman a cigarette as a way to break the tension between them. However, the cigarette also represents the speaker's desire to numb his pain and escape from reality.
Kees uses several literary techniques in the poem to convey the themes and symbols. The most notable technique is the use of dialogue. The conversation between the speaker and the woman is the primary way that the themes are conveyed. The use of short, clipped sentences and pauses in the conversation also helps to create a sense of tension and unease.
Another literary technique used in the poem is imagery. Kees uses vivid imagery to create a sense of place and atmosphere. The use of imagery helps to bring the apartment to life, and it also helps to convey the speaker's emotions.
Now that we have explored the themes, symbols, and literary techniques used in the poem, let's take a closer look at the poem's meaning.
The speaker in the poem is struggling to communicate with the woman. He is trying to connect with her, but his attempts are met with resistance. The woman seems distant and uninterested, and the speaker is left feeling frustrated and alone.
The speaker's sense of isolation is further highlighted by the apartment's setting. The fact that the conversation is taking place in an apartment rather than in a public place emphasizes the speaker's sense of detachment from the world. He is alone in his apartment, and he is unable to connect with the woman.
The cigarette is another symbol that helps to convey the speaker's sense of isolation. The fact that he offers the woman a cigarette highlights his desire to connect with her. However, the cigarette also represents the speaker's desire to escape from reality. He is using the cigarette as a way to numb his pain and avoid dealing with his emotions.
The theme of loss is also prevalent in the poem. The speaker is mourning the loss of a past love, and this loss has left him feeling disconnected from the world. He is searching for a way to reconcile his feelings of loss and move on with his life. However, his attempts to connect with the woman are unsuccessful, and he is left feeling even more alone and disconnected.
In conclusion, Colloquy is a powerful poem that explores the themes of love, loss, communication, and the search for identity. The use of dialogue, imagery, and symbolism helps to convey the themes and create a sense of place and atmosphere. The poem is a masterpiece that has fascinated poetry enthusiasts for decades, and its themes and symbols are just as relevant today as they were when the poem was written.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Colloquy: A Masterpiece of Modern Poetry
Weldon Kees, an American poet, novelist, and painter, is known for his unique style of writing that often explores the themes of alienation, despair, and the search for identity. His poem "Colloquy" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that captures the essence of human existence and the struggle to find meaning in life. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.
The poem "Colloquy" is a conversation between two people, a man and a woman, who are discussing the meaning of life. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a different tone and mood. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the characters. The second stanza is the heart of the poem, where the conversation takes place, and the third stanza concludes the poem with a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty.
The first stanza begins with a description of the setting, which is a "room with a table and a lamp." The man and the woman are sitting at the table, and the man is smoking a cigarette. The description of the setting is minimal, but it sets the mood for the poem, which is one of introspection and contemplation. The man and the woman are not named, which adds to the sense of anonymity and universality.
The second stanza is the longest and most important part of the poem. It is a conversation between the man and the woman, where they discuss the meaning of life. The man starts the conversation by saying, "Life, friends, is boring." This statement sets the tone for the rest of the conversation, which is a reflection on the monotony and emptiness of life. The woman responds by saying, "We must not say so." This response shows that she is more optimistic and hopeful than the man.
The man continues by saying that life is like a "field of maize in which nothing stands out." This metaphor emphasizes the sense of sameness and lack of individuality in life. The woman responds by saying that life is like a "river flowing through a city." This metaphor emphasizes the constant change and movement in life. The man agrees with the woman but adds that the river is polluted and stagnant.
The conversation continues with the man saying that life is like a "movie in which everything is known beforehand." This metaphor emphasizes the sense of predictability and lack of surprise in life. The woman responds by saying that life is like a "book that we read backwards." This metaphor emphasizes the sense of mystery and discovery in life. The man agrees with the woman but adds that the book is written in a language that he cannot understand.
The conversation ends with the man saying that life is like a "journey that leads nowhere." This metaphor emphasizes the sense of aimlessness and futility in life. The woman responds by saying that life is like a "journey that leads to a destination that we do not know." This metaphor emphasizes the sense of adventure and possibility in life. The man agrees with the woman but adds that the journey is long and tiring.
The third stanza concludes the poem with a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty. The man and the woman are described as "two figures in a landscape." This description emphasizes the sense of isolation and detachment from the world. The man is described as "smoking a cigarette," which is a symbol of his existential angst and despair. The woman is described as "looking at the sky," which is a symbol of her hope and optimism. The poem ends with the line, "The sky is darkening." This line can be interpreted in different ways, but it adds to the sense of uncertainty and ambiguity in the poem.
The poem "Colloquy" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that captures the essence of human existence and the struggle to find meaning in life. The conversation between the man and the woman is a reflection on the monotony, emptiness, and futility of life, but it also emphasizes the sense of adventure, possibility, and hope. The poem is structured in a way that emphasizes the contrast between the man and the woman, and it uses metaphors and symbols to convey its themes. The poem is a testament to Weldon Kees's talent as a poet and his ability to capture the complexities of the human experience.
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