'The Toss' by Cyrus Cassells

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I see a knife-grinder
On his dusty, stationary bicycle,
A black Star of David
Sprayed over a door,
As you urge me
Into the rationed light,
The crumbling pearl-grey
Of the ghetto.
All at once, the Roman spring,
With its galaxy of columns
And daisies,
Becomes the autumn of families
Plummeting from windows,
The desecrated autumn
Your mother tossed you,
Small bundle,
To a passerby.
Like this, you demonstrate
With a parcel.But what can't be mimed
Is the look they shared,
The look that let you live;
Her toss that had to be
Quick, quick,
Before the cat-pounce Nazis came-
Out the shutters
Into the samaritan's intrepid arms:
Something unerring
Passing through the air
Of an iron universe-As the knife-grinder pedals and pedals,
You whisper: I know nothing
Of what became of her.Perhaps she soothed a boy
Born in the Lager,
Listless, mute, whose Lilliputian arm
Bore the tattoo of Auschwitz.
She would have coaxed him
To lift his intransigent eyes,
Knowing you might also be
Somewhere among the living.And against the jackboot, the demolition,
For as long as she was able, she

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Toss: A Masterpiece of Emotion and Imagery

As someone who has always been fascinated by the art of poetry, I can confidently say that The Toss by Cyrus Cassells is truly a masterpiece. With its powerful imagery, evocative language, and deep emotional resonance, this poem is a shining example of how a skilled poet can use words to create a visceral experience that touches the soul.

At its core, The Toss is a poem about loss and grief. Through a series of vivid images and metaphors, Cassells takes us on a journey through the narrator's memories of a loved one who has passed away. From the opening lines, we are plunged into a world of darkness and confusion, where "the sky was a tangle of barbed wire / and the night was a howling dog."

The use of metaphor here is particularly striking. The image of the sky as barbed wire suggests a sense of entrapment, of being held captive by grief and sorrow. The night as a howling dog, meanwhile, evokes a sense of primal fear and anguish. These are emotions that anyone who has experienced loss can relate to, and Cassells captures them beautifully.

As the poem continues, we are taken on a journey through the narrator's memories of the person they have lost. We see glimpses of them in the natural world: "the wildflowers blooming like bruises / on the forest floor," or "the wind-shaken trees / like dancers in a dream." These images are both beautiful and haunting, suggesting that even in nature there is a sense of loss and decay.

Cassells' use of language is also noteworthy. The poem is full of striking turns of phrase, such as "the moon was a pearl in the black velvet" or "the stars were a choir of crickets." These images are so vivid that they almost seem to create a world of their own, one in which the reader can lose themselves completely.

One of the most powerful moments in the poem comes towards the end, when the narrator describes the act of tossing a stone into a river:

We tossed the stone like a memory into the river's darkened mirror.

This image is incredibly poignant, as it suggests that even memories themselves can be lost or forgotten. The act of tossing the stone is a metaphor for letting go, of releasing the memories and emotions that have been weighing the narrator down. It's a beautiful and cathartic moment, and one that is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced loss.

In conclusion, The Toss is a truly stunning piece of poetry. Its use of metaphor, imagery, and language all work together to create a deeply emotional and resonant experience. It's a poem that captures the complexities of grief and loss in a way that is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and it's a testament to Cyrus Cassells' skill as a poet. If you're a fan of poetry, or if you simply appreciate beautiful writing, I highly recommend giving this poem a read.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Toss: A Poem of Hope and Resilience

Poetry has the power to move us, to inspire us, and to make us see the world in a different light. Cyrus Cassells’ poem, The Toss, is a perfect example of this power. In this poem, Cassells explores the themes of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. Through vivid imagery and powerful language, he takes us on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

The poem begins with a description of a young boy playing with a ball. The ball is a symbol of hope, of the possibilities that lie ahead. The boy tosses the ball into the air, and it seems to hang there, suspended in time. This moment of suspension is a metaphor for the uncertainty of life, for the moments when we are unsure of what the future holds.

But then, the ball falls back to earth, and the boy catches it. This moment of catching the ball is a symbol of resilience, of the ability to bounce back from adversity. The boy’s determination to catch the ball, no matter how many times it falls, is a testament to the human spirit.

As the poem continues, Cassells takes us on a journey through different landscapes and experiences. We see the boy playing in a field, surrounded by the beauty of nature. We see him in a city, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life. We see him in a desert, surrounded by the harshness of the environment.

Through all of these experiences, the boy continues to toss the ball, to catch it, and to keep going. He never gives up, even when the odds are against him. This is a powerful message of hope and resilience, of the ability to overcome even the most difficult challenges.

One of the most striking aspects of this poem is the use of imagery. Cassells’ descriptions of the landscapes and environments that the boy encounters are vivid and evocative. For example, when the boy is in the desert, Cassells writes:

“The sun blazes down like a hammer on an anvil, and the sand is a sea of shimmering glass.”

These lines paint a picture of a harsh and unforgiving environment, where survival is a constant struggle. But even in this environment, the boy continues to toss the ball, to catch it, and to keep going.

Another powerful aspect of this poem is the use of language. Cassells’ words are carefully chosen and arranged to create a sense of rhythm and flow. For example, when describing the boy’s movements, he writes:

“He leaps and twists, his body a blur of motion, and the ball arcs up into the blue sky.”

These lines capture the energy and excitement of the boy’s movements, and the sense of joy that he feels as he plays.

In addition to its themes of hope and resilience, The Toss also explores the idea of transformation. As the boy moves through different environments and experiences, he changes and grows. He becomes stronger, more resilient, and more determined. This is a powerful message of the human capacity for growth and change, even in the face of adversity.

Overall, The Toss is a powerful and inspiring poem that speaks to the human spirit. Through its vivid imagery, powerful language, and themes of hope and resilience, it reminds us that no matter what challenges we face, we have the ability to overcome them. It is a poem that encourages us to keep tossing the ball, to keep catching it, and to keep going, no matter what.

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