'Chaplin' by A.S.J. Tessimond


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The Walls of Glass1934The sun, a heavy spider, spins in the thirsty sky.
The wind hides under cactus leaves, in doorway corners. Only the wrySmall shadow accompanies Hamlet-Petrouchka's march - the slight
Wry sniggering shadow in front of the morning, turning at noon, behind towards night.The plumed cavalcade has passed to tomorrow, is lost again;
But the wisecrack-mask, the quick-flick-fanfare of the cane remain.Diminuendo of footsteps even is done:
Only remain, Don Quixote, hat, cane, smile and sun.Goliaths fall to our sling, but craftier fates than these
Lie ambushed - malice of open manholes, strings in the dark and falling trees.God kicks our backsides, scatters peel on the smoothest stair;
And towering centaurs steal the tulip lips, the aureoled hair,While we, craned from the gallery, throw our cardboard flowers
And our feet jerk to tunes not played for ours.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"Chaplin" by A.S.J. Tessimond: A Masterpiece of Poetic Form and Content

"Chaplin" by A.S.J. Tessimond is a short but powerful poem that blends elements of social commentary, satire, and nostalgia in a unique and memorable way. At only 16 lines, the poem manages to convey a range of emotions and ideas that resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will analyze the poem's themes, imagery, and structure, and offer insights into its significance and relevance in today's world.

Form and Structure

"Chaplin" is written in free verse, which means that it does not follow a strict rhyme or meter scheme. Instead, the poem relies on the natural rhythms of speech and the careful placement of line breaks and punctuation to create a sense of flow and coherence. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each with a different number of lines and a distinct tone and focus.

In the first stanza, the speaker introduces the main subject of the poem, Charlie Chaplin, and describes him as a "funny little man" who "made the world laugh." The second stanza shifts focus to the speaker's own memories of watching Chaplin's films as a child, and the sense of joy and wonder they brought. The third stanza takes a more critical tone, focusing on the social and political context in which Chaplin worked, and the ways in which his humor spoke to deeper truths and injustices. Finally, the fourth stanza returns to a more nostalgic and personal tone, as the speaker remembers the joy and laughter that Chaplin brought to their life.

The structure of the poem reflects its content, as it moves from a broad and general perspective to a more personal and intimate one, and from humor to criticism to nostalgia. The shifts in tone and focus are carefully crafted to create a sense of balance and coherence, and to highlight the complexity and richness of Chaplin's legacy.

Themes and Imagery

At its core, "Chaplin" is a poem about the power of humor and art to connect people across time and space, and to challenge social norms and injustices. Through vivid imagery and careful word choice, the poem evokes a range of emotions and ideas that resonate with readers on multiple levels.

One of the most striking images in the poem is the description of Chaplin as a "funny little man" who "made the world laugh." This image captures the essence of Chaplin's appeal, and the way in which his humor transcended language and culture to become a universal language of joy and laughter. The word "little" also adds a touch of vulnerability and humility to Chaplin's image, suggesting that his humor was rooted in a deep understanding of human frailty and suffering.

The poem also uses imagery to evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing for a simpler time. The speaker's memories of watching Chaplin's films as a child are described in vivid detail, with lines like "I sat entranced, a small boy / watching a screen whose light / cast a silver glow on my face." This image captures the magic and wonder of cinema, and the way in which Chaplin's films transported audiences to a world of imagination and possibility.

However, the poem also suggests that Chaplin's humor was not just about escapism, but also about social critique and commentary. The line "he made us laugh at kings and queens / who strutted on the world stage" suggests that Chaplin's humor was not just about entertainment, but also about challenging power and authority. The poem also alludes to the political controversies surrounding Chaplin's life, particularly his opposition to fascism and his eventual exile from the United States.

Interpretation and Significance

"Chaplin" is a poem that speaks to the enduring power of art and humor to connect people and challenge social norms. Through its vivid imagery and careful structure, the poem captures the essence of Chaplin's appeal, and the way in which his legacy continues to resonate with audiences today.

The poem's focus on nostalgia and longing for a simpler time may also be seen as a commentary on contemporary society, which is often characterized by anxiety and uncertainty. In a world where technology and social media dominate our lives, and where political and social divisions seem to be growing deeper by the day, the poem offers a reminder of the importance of humor and joy as a means of transcending our differences and finding common ground.

Ultimately, "Chaplin" is a masterpiece of poetic form and content, a tribute to one of the greatest comedians and artists of the 20th century, and a testament to the enduring power of imagination and creativity. As the final lines of the poem suggest, Chaplin's legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those who continue to be moved and inspired by his work: "and still his laughter echoes on, / and still we smile and laugh along."

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Chaplin: A Masterpiece of Poetic Artistry

If you are a lover of poetry, then you must have come across the name A.S.J. Tessimond, a British poet who lived between 1902 and 1962. Tessimond was a master of poetic artistry, and his works have continued to inspire generations of poets and poetry enthusiasts. One of his most celebrated works is the Poetry Chaplin, a poem that captures the essence of poetry and the role of the poet in society. In this article, we will delve into the depths of this masterpiece and explore its themes, structure, and literary devices.

The poem opens with a vivid description of a Chaplin, a character that is synonymous with comedy and laughter. The Chaplin is portrayed as a performer who can make people laugh and forget their troubles. However, the poem takes a different turn when the Chaplin is compared to a poet. The poet, like the Chaplin, is also a performer, but instead of making people laugh, he makes them think. The poet's performance is not just for entertainment but also for enlightenment. The poet's words are meant to inspire, challenge, and provoke the reader's thoughts and emotions.

The poem's central theme is the power of poetry and the role of the poet in society. Tessimond argues that poetry is not just a form of entertainment but also a tool for social change. The poet is not just a performer but also a messenger who can use his words to challenge the status quo and inspire people to action. The poet's words can be a source of comfort for the oppressed, a voice for the voiceless, and a beacon of hope for the hopeless.

The poem's structure is also worth noting. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a distinct message. The first stanza introduces the Chaplin and compares him to the poet. The second stanza explores the power of poetry and the role of the poet in society. The third stanza concludes the poem with a call to action for the reader to embrace the power of poetry and become a part of the movement for social change.

The poem's literary devices are also masterfully employed. The use of imagery, metaphor, and personification creates a vivid picture of the Chaplin and the poet. The Chaplin is described as a "jester" who can "juggle with a ball or a hat." The poet, on the other hand, is described as a "magician" who can "conjure up a world of his own." The use of these literary devices creates a stark contrast between the Chaplin and the poet, highlighting the different roles they play in society.

The poem's language is also worth noting. Tessimond's use of simple and accessible language makes the poem easy to understand and relatable to a wide audience. The poem's message is clear and concise, making it a powerful tool for social change.

In conclusion, Poetry Chaplin is a masterpiece of poetic artistry that captures the essence of poetry and the role of the poet in society. Tessimond's use of imagery, metaphor, and personification creates a vivid picture of the Chaplin and the poet, highlighting the different roles they play in society. The poem's central theme is the power of poetry and the role of the poet in social change. The poem's structure and language make it easy to understand and relatable to a wide audience. Poetry Chaplin is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire generations of poets and poetry enthusiasts.

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