'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.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Colloquy by Weldon Kees: A Multilayered Exploration of Human Nature
Poetry can be a mirror that reflects the realities of the world, or a lens that magnifies them to reveal the hidden nuances and complexities of human existence. Colloquy, a poem by Weldon Kees, is a prime example of the latter. In this 68-line masterpiece, Kees weaves together themes of love, identity, memory, and mortality to create a multilayered exploration of human nature.
The Language of Love and Loss
The poem opens with a vivid description of a couple making love in a hotel room. The language is sensual, yet also tinged with melancholy:
The hotel room is almost like a home. They do not think of the words that flung them there, Nor yet of love. They have come here to hide Where there is no love and nothing to decide.
The use of the word "hide" suggests that the couple is not in a happy, committed relationship, but rather seeking refuge from the outside world. Yet the fact that they have chosen to be together in this moment implies that there is some level of affection or attraction between them.
As the poem progresses, the language becomes more abstract and introspective. Kees explores the idea that love is an illusion, a construct that we create in our minds to fill a void:
Love is a myth we invented for ourselves To keep us from tearing each other apart.
This cynical view of love is balanced by moments of tenderness, such as when the speaker muses on the "soft, sweet flesh" of his partner's "lovely body." These moments of vulnerability and intimacy serve to humanize the characters and make the poem more relatable to readers.
The Search for Identity
Identity is another major theme in Colloquy. The speaker is grappling with questions of who he is and what his place in the world is:
Who am I, and what is it that we are, That lies beyond the reach of word or thought, Inarticulate in sleep, obscure in dreams?
The use of rhetorical questions here underscores the speaker's sense of confusion and uncertainty. He is searching for a deeper understanding of himself and the world around him.
Kees also touches on the idea of societal expectations and how they can shape our sense of self. The speaker laments that "we play our roles until the day we die," suggesting that we are all trapped in predetermined roles and unable to break free.
Memory and Mortality
Memory and mortality are intertwined throughout the poem. The speaker reflects on past experiences and how they have shaped him:
All of us are scarred with what we have done, The wounds invisible, the pain eternal.
The use of the word "eternal" here suggests that these scars and pains will stay with us until the end of our lives, and perhaps even beyond.
As the poem comes to a close, the focus shifts to mortality. The speaker muses on the inevitability of death and the legacy we leave behind:
We are all dying, and that is the story That we tell in our own way, to each other.
The use of the word "story" here is significant. It suggests that our lives are a narrative, a series of events that we create and shape. And just as we can shape our own stories, we can also shape the stories of those around us.
In Colloquy, Weldon Kees uses beautiful, evocative language to explore some of the deepest questions and concerns of human existence. Through his vivid imagery, poignant insights, and richly layered themes, Kees invites readers to reflect on their own lives and experiences, and to consider the ways in which we are all connected to each other and to the world around us. This is a poem that rewards careful reading and reflection, and that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries, and it has always been a way for people to express their emotions and thoughts. One of the most famous poems in the world of poetry is the Poetry Colloquy by Weldon Kees. This poem is a masterpiece that has been analyzed and discussed by many scholars and poets over the years. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Poetry Colloquy and explore its meaning and significance.
The Poetry Colloquy is a poem that was written by Weldon Kees in 1953. It is a poem that is often described as a conversation between two people, one of whom is a poet and the other is a critic. The poem is divided into two parts, with the first part being the conversation between the poet and the critic, and the second part being the poet's response to the critic's comments.
The poem begins with the critic asking the poet about his poetry. The critic is curious about the poet's work and wants to know more about it. The poet responds by saying that his poetry is not meant to be understood by everyone. He says that his poetry is meant to be read by people who are willing to take the time to understand it.
The critic then asks the poet about the meaning of his poetry. The poet responds by saying that his poetry is not about the meaning, but about the feeling. He says that his poetry is meant to evoke emotions in the reader, and that the meaning is not as important as the feeling.
The critic then asks the poet about the structure of his poetry. The poet responds by saying that his poetry does not follow a specific structure. He says that he writes his poetry in a way that feels natural to him, and that he does not force it into a specific structure.
The conversation between the poet and the critic continues, with the critic asking more questions about the poet's work. The poet responds with thoughtful and insightful answers, and it becomes clear that he is a true artist who is passionate about his work.
In the second part of the poem, the poet responds to the critic's comments. He begins by saying that he appreciates the critic's interest in his work, but that he does not agree with everything that the critic has said. He says that he believes that his poetry is meant to be interpreted in different ways, and that there is no one correct interpretation.
The poet then goes on to explain his philosophy of poetry. He says that poetry is not about the words on the page, but about the emotions and feelings that those words evoke. He says that poetry is a way for people to connect with each other on a deeper level, and that it is a way for people to express themselves in a way that is not possible with other forms of communication.
The poet ends the poem by saying that he will continue to write poetry, regardless of what the critics say. He says that he writes for himself, and that he hopes that his poetry will touch the hearts of those who read it.
The Poetry Colloquy is a masterpiece of poetry that has stood the test of time. It is a poem that is both thought-provoking and inspiring, and it is a testament to the power of poetry to connect people on a deeper level. The poem is a reminder that poetry is not just about the words on the page, but about the emotions and feelings that those words evoke. It is a reminder that poetry is a way for people to express themselves in a way that is not possible with other forms of communication.
In conclusion, the Poetry Colloquy is a poem that is a must-read for anyone who is interested in poetry. It is a poem that will inspire and challenge you, and it is a poem that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. If you have not yet read the Poetry Colloquy, I highly recommend that you do so. You will not be disappointed.
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