Author: changzhou007

Notes from a poetry appreciation class [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2008-3-16 12:43:25 |Display all floors
"But observe
the oppressive weight
of the squat edifice!
the jasmine lightness
of the moon."

Weight is a downward force, something heavy presses down on whatever is under it. The church is "squat". The downward force of the church is contrasted with "the jasmine lightness / of the moon" The moon floats above. The smell of jasmine blossoms floats upward. And the moon is the flower, the jasmine flower.

Does the interpretation make sense to you?

to be continued...

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2008-3-17 10:48:41 |Display all floors
let's go back to where we left off in "The Jasmine Lightness of the Moon", Look into the deeper layer of the poem, as recalling the last stanza of the poem.

But observe
the oppressive weight
of the squat edifice!
the jasmine lightness
of the moon.

The "squat edifice" is the church building. Here a metonymy at work: The Building Stands For The Institution, which we see in expressions such as "The White House is responsible for that policy."

The "oppressive weight" can be understood via the metaphor Difficulties Are Burdens, which is linked to other common metaphors, such as Purpose Are Destinations, and Being Controlled Is Being Kept Down. If you are trying to get somewhere, then carrying a heavy weight will make it harder to do so. Thus we have many common expressions which view difficulties in terms of weights,

My job is weighing me down.

Don't burden me with your problems.

Get off my back.

Just as physical burdens keep one down physically, so metaphorical burdens are seen as constraints on f reedom, which is up, or F reedom Is Up. As in phrases like

Rise up and cast off your chains.

S-lavery kept the blacks down.

Thus, "the oppressive weight / of the squat edifice!" refers to the constraints or burdens imposed by the Church.

The last two lines, "the jasmine lightness / of the moon.", represent freedom. There is nothing to hold it (the freedom) down, just as there is nothing holding down the moon, because the smell of jasmine comes from something living flower, light and rising upward from the ground, not heavy.

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Post time 2008-3-18 18:51:03 |Display all floors
The poem is too difficult from me to read them and I'd like to read it later...thank you for your sharing
Talk in English rather than talking about English.

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Post time 2008-3-23 16:21:55 |Display all floors
You may say i'm a dreamer,but i am not the only one!

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