Share
View previous topicGo downView next topic
avatar
Admin
Messages : 605
Date d'inscription : 2007-10-20
View user profilehttp://secondlife.1fr1.net

"Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:46 pm
Litany
by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

_________________
avatar
Messages : 15
Date d'inscription : 2010-11-24
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:56 pm
XD WTH, this is like you are the moon, I am the sky... You are sunshine in my life... blablabla...
A love poem.
avatar
Messages : 21
Date d'inscription : 2010-05-13
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:05 pm
Yeah! Famous lines that consists to compare a lover with objects and nature tend to be something that is collectively considered more beautiful than bread and knife. What Collins means by object that are less attractive than "moon" and "sunshine", and probably what Crickillon meant, is:

Bread: basic and essential food.
Knife: basic and essential tool (to cut the bread and for self protection)

The crystal goblet can be the connotation of beauty and attractiveness. And for the wine, I think it must be connoting entertainer and addictiveness.
avatar
Messages : 17
Date d'inscription : 2010-05-05
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:23 pm
Spoiler:
This is so sweet. I feel like eating breakfast. Num num num...
Check this post-poet kid.
avatar
Messages : 6
Date d'inscription : 2011-02-18
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:27 pm
Litany: noun
1 a series of petitions for use in church services or processions, usually recited by the clergy and responded to in a recurring formula by the people.
2 a tedious recital or repetitive series.

avatar
Messages : 18
Date d'inscription : 2010-04-24
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:28 pm
A litany, in Christian worship, is a form of prayer used in church services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions. The word comes from the Latin litania and the Ancient Greek: λιτανεία (litaneía), which in turn comes from Ancient Greek: λιτή (litê), meaning "supplication".
avatar
Messages : 27
Date d'inscription : 2010-02-14
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:56 pm
Some of my assumptions

You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.

Dew is something delicate and fragile, while the burning sun is something aggressive and energetic. It's a characterization of the lover; that person is weak and strong.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
I think that must be related with the smell. When you pass by the countryside you can smell animal sent, which is really disturbing.

or the house of cards.
A house of card is easy to breakdown.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

I think he means artificial pine-scented air, that is the person is not manufactured, not artificial.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner

The boots must mean something used, ugly and unwanted.

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
Again, something used, and unwanted.

The rest I don't know. Crying or Very sad
avatar
Messages : 163
Date d'inscription : 2007-11-17
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:57 pm
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.


Dew is water and sun his fire. Are you sure it's not 'that person is wet and hot'? Laughing
avatar
Messages : 17
Date d'inscription : 2010-11-12
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:59 pm
Spirit wrote:You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.


Dew is water and sun his fire. Are you sure it's not 'that person is wet and hot'? Laughing
XD If that's what Collin meant, then I think this must be the most subtle way to say that.
avatar
Messages : 18
Date d'inscription : 2010-07-13
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:01 pm
Spirit wrote:You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.


Dew is water and sun his fire. Are you sure it's not 'that person is wet and hot'? Laughing
Hahahaha!
Or maybe it that person's Hot N Cold. Cool
avatar
Messages : 20
Date d'inscription : 2010-05-16
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:20 pm
Hm, Spirit, if you're approach is in the right direction, then the next line would make perfect sense;
You are the white apron of the baker,
That person is white, pure, (virgin).
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
Bird mating?
avatar
Messages : 21
Date d'inscription : 2010-05-13
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:22 pm
WHAT? NO! That so dirty, man!

Read this:
Spoiler:
Someone asked me for help deciphering this poem. What follows is my interpretation:
In the first paragraph Collins is saying “you are like the everyday beautiful things in my life” which is a wonderful thing.

In the 2nd stanza, he says BUT you’re not “ordinary” all the time.

In the 3rd stanza the reader begins to realize that Collins is playing with us (you are…, you are certainly not…) He means that the person he loves is ordinary, extraordinary, everyday, and special.

By the way his loved one is not the “boots in the corner” a plodding image, brown and not so sexy.

Then in the 5th stanza he tells us what he’s really doing in the poem…he’s using all kinds of images “speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world” and he’s doing it in a novel, interesting way…you are, you are not. He also means to be humorous. Then he talks about himself in the same way as he talked about his loved one. He’s clever..making the poem so much more interesting than just saying you are this, you are that.

Then at the end, again, we smile at him telling his loved one…”don’t worry only you are the bread and knife (essentials for life) and the crystal goblet (a beautiful metaphor) and the wine. What does that somehow do? He’s saying he doesn’t know how his loved one does it but he/she is the wine.

Collins is not making fun of anything. He’s making us marvel at his use of words. And of course what he’s just given us in the poem is a litany, a listing, a recitation or recital. But very often a litany is a prolonged or tedious account but Collins poem is anything but tedious the way he wrote it.

maryt
http://mypoetry.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/litany-by-billy-collins/
avatar
Messages : 163
Date d'inscription : 2007-11-17
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:25 pm
KiSS-THe-SKy wrote:WHAT? NO! That so dirty, man!

Read this:
Spoiler:
Someone asked me for help deciphering this poem. What follows is my interpretation:
In the first paragraph Collins is saying “you are like the everyday beautiful things in my life” which is a wonderful thing.

In the 2nd stanza, he says BUT you’re not “ordinary” all the time.

In the 3rd stanza the reader begins to realize that Collins is playing with us (you are…, you are certainly not…) He means that the person he loves is ordinary, extraordinary, everyday, and special.

By the way his loved one is not the “boots in the corner” a plodding image, brown and not so sexy.

Then in the 5th stanza he tells us what he’s really doing in the poem…he’s using all kinds of images “speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world” and he’s doing it in a novel, interesting way…you are, you are not. He also means to be humorous. Then he talks about himself in the same way as he talked about his loved one. He’s clever..making the poem so much more interesting than just saying you are this, you are that.

Then at the end, again, we smile at him telling his loved one…”don’t worry only you are the bread and knife (essentials for life) and the crystal goblet (a beautiful metaphor) and the wine. What does that somehow do? He’s saying he doesn’t know how his loved one does it but he/she is the wine.

Collins is not making fun of anything. He’s making us marvel at his use of words. And of course what he’s just given us in the poem is a litany, a listing, a recitation or recital. But very often a litany is a prolonged or tedious account but Collins poem is anything but tedious the way he wrote it.

maryt
http://mypoetry.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/litany-by-billy-collins/
What does that supposed to contradict? That loved person is still wet and hot.
avatar
Messages : 15
Date d'inscription : 2010-11-24
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:29 pm
There is another interpretations on that web site that KiSS-THe-SKy just sent.
Spoiler:
I feel like there is a slightly different interpretation thats intended. I beleive this is not written to a lover, but rather to a past lover, or past loved one. Perhaps a significant other than has died s no longer a part of his life, or maybe even a friend or relative no longer around but still a major part of his life.
I beleive in the first stanza the writer is saying this person is all of these things; the bread, the goblet, the wine; all things relevant to their relationship and the beauty of it that he admires. Probably all of these things are very personal to their relationship.
Then in the second stanza, he says the things this person is not. Perhaps these things are symbols of qualities the other person lacks. As if to say ‘You may be bread, wine, or dew, but you were never pine scented air’.
The rest of the poem, the author says the things this person is not. He even says he, himself is the rain of the roof, as if to say he has an identity and beauty as well. Not just the person the poem is written to.
He then adds at the end that ‘you’ are still the bread and the knife and somehow the wine. Saying that this person will always be those things, those memories or qualities, to him. As in, this person will always be an important piece of his past.
I think its also important to see that this poem is written to another person, making it much more intimate and emotional. Pastorial imagery is used to create a comfortable and homey feel suggesting the author has a deep emotional connection to the person written to/about.
--------

The power of the creator is in the hands of humans – simple messages are best…

Here is my Litany:

You are the many creative, life sustaining, life giving and awe inspiring things we believe you to be.

You are not the fruit of destruction or the unstable man made foundations in our world.

You may be the freedom to let go, and the courage to give peace a chance. Your presence is made clear to us in these things.

Upon reflection, we see that cleanliness isn’t necessarily next to godliness. Life is the party, not the party pooper.

We are all special in our own way and we each have something to say unique to our own life experience. We are here for a time, planting seeds for tomorrow as part of the circle of life.

We are not perfect. You will always be the many creative, life sustaining, life giving and awe inspiring things we believe you to be.

S. Abbott
avatar
Messages : 6
Date d'inscription : 2011-02-16
View user profile

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:16 am
If some or most metaphors are related with memory of Collin's relationship with his wife (or any possible other), it makes impossible to know Collin's intended meaning for this kind of metaphors. If that's the case, we should stop here, because the details are confidential. Very Happy
Sponsored content

Re: "Litany" by Billy Collins [poem analysis]

View previous topicBack to topView next topic
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum