'Shirt' by Robert Pinsky
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The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or MalaysiansGossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the bandOf cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blazeAt the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes--The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her outAway from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at onceHe stepped up to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers--Like Hart Crane's Bedlamite, "shrill shirt ballooning."
Wonderful how the patern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tackedCorners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord. Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartansInvented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
to wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fitAnd feel and its clean smell have satisfied
both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Shirt" by Robert Pinsky: A Masterpiece of Modern Poetry
Shirt, written by Robert Pinsky, is a poem that captivates the mind and soul. It is a piece that is so powerful in its simplicity, yet so complex in its interpretation. The poem illustrates the transformation of a shirt, from its creation to its eventual disposal, and the message is one that resonates with humanity.
As a reader, one is drawn immediately into the poem by the opening line, "The back, the yoke, the yardage." The use of alliteration here is striking, and it sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The reader is introduced to the three main components of the shirt, and the language used is vivid enough to create a clear image of the shirt in the reader's mind.
The poem is written in free verse, and this affords the author the freedom to play with form and structure. The lines are not constrained by rhyme or meter, and this allows the author to focus on the content of the poem. The poem is divided into six sections, each representing a stage in the life of the shirt.
In the first section, the shirt is introduced to the reader. The reader is taken through the process of how the shirt is created, from the weaving of the cloth to the cutting and stitching of the material. Pinsky uses vivid imagery to describe the process, and this helps the reader to get an idea of the amount of work that goes into creating a shirt.
The second section of the poem focuses on the shirt as a product of labor. The author highlights the fact that the shirt is not just a piece of cloth, but a product of the hard work of those who create it. The reader is reminded that the shirt is a result of the sweat and toil of those who work in the factories.
The third section of the poem takes a more personal turn. The author describes the feeling of wearing a new shirt for the first time. This is a feeling that is familiar to most people, and Pinsky manages to capture this sensation perfectly in his writing. The reader is transported back to their own experiences of wearing a new shirt, and this creates a sense of intimacy between the reader and the poem.
In the fourth section of the poem, the author introduces the concept of the shirt as a symbol of identity. The shirt is not just a piece of clothing, but it is a reflection of the person who wears it. The author highlights the fact that the shirt is not just an object, but it is an extension of the self.
The fifth section of the poem takes a darker turn. The author describes the shirt as it is discarded and forgotten. This is a powerful image, and it serves as a reminder of the transience of life. The shirt, which was once new and full of promise, is now nothing but a piece of trash.
The final section of the poem is a call to action. The reader is urged to consider the value of the shirt and the work that goes into creating it. The author asks the reader to remember the people who create the shirt and to appreciate the effort that goes into making it.
The message of the poem is one that is universal. It speaks to the value of hard work and the importance of appreciating the things that we have. The shirt serves as a symbol of the labor that goes into creating the things that we use every day.
In conclusion, Shirt by Robert Pinsky is a masterpiece of modern poetry. It is a powerful and thought-provoking piece that speaks to the human experience. The poem captures the essence of the shirt, from its creation to its eventual disposal, and it invites the reader to consider the value of the things that we use every day. The language used in the poem is vivid and evocative, and it creates a clear image of the shirt in the reader's mind. The poem is a reminder of the importance of hard work and the value of the things that we possess.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Poetry Shirt by Robert Pinsky is a classic poem that has captured the hearts of many poetry enthusiasts. This poem is a perfect example of how poetry can be used to express emotions and ideas in a creative and unique way. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and literary devices used in this poem.
The poem begins with the speaker describing a shirt that has a poem printed on it. The poem on the shirt is described as being "a poem you can wear." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is focused on the idea that poetry can be a part of our everyday lives.
The first stanza of the poem describes the shirt in detail. The speaker notes that the shirt is made of cotton and has a collar and buttons. The poem on the shirt is described as being "a poem that tells a story." This line suggests that the poem on the shirt is not just a collection of words, but a narrative that has a beginning, middle, and end.
The second stanza of the poem explores the idea that poetry can be a part of our everyday lives. The speaker notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem you can read." This line suggests that poetry is not just something that we read in books, but something that can be a part of our daily routines. The speaker also notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem you can share." This line suggests that poetry can be a way for us to connect with others and share our experiences.
The third stanza of the poem explores the idea that poetry can be a source of inspiration. The speaker notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem that makes you think." This line suggests that poetry can be a way for us to reflect on our lives and the world around us. The speaker also notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem that makes you feel." This line suggests that poetry can be a way for us to connect with our emotions and express ourselves in a unique way.
The fourth stanza of the poem explores the idea that poetry can be a way for us to connect with our past. The speaker notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem that remembers." This line suggests that poetry can be a way for us to remember our history and the people who came before us. The speaker also notes that the poem on the shirt is "a poem that hopes." This line suggests that poetry can be a way for us to look towards the future with optimism and hope.
The structure of the poem is simple and straightforward. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each with four lines. The use of short, concise lines gives the poem a sense of urgency and immediacy. The repetition of the phrase "a poem" in each stanza reinforces the idea that poetry can be a part of our everyday lives.
The poem also makes use of several literary devices. The use of imagery in the first stanza, where the speaker describes the shirt in detail, helps to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind. The use of repetition throughout the poem helps to reinforce the central theme of the poem. The use of metaphor in the second stanza, where the poem is described as "a shirt you can wear," helps to create a sense of connection between the reader and the poem.
In conclusion, The Poetry Shirt by Robert Pinsky is a classic poem that explores the idea that poetry can be a part of our everyday lives. The poem is structured in a simple and straightforward way, with each stanza reinforcing the central theme of the poem. The use of literary devices such as imagery, repetition, and metaphor helps to create a vivid and engaging poem that has captured the hearts of many poetry enthusiasts. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry to inspire, connect, and enrich our lives.
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