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questions about a poem [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2009-1-18 09:35:50 |Display all floors
"Thread" by Dan Chiasson (New Yorker,12/22/2008)

I lack the rigor of a lightning bolt,
the weight of an anchor. I am
frayed where it would be highly useful—
and this I feel perpetually—to make a point.

* What does it refer to?
is 'make a point' a pun?
* what is the poet trying to say?

I think if I can concentrate I might turn sharp.
Only, I don’t know how to concentrate—
I know only the look of someone concentrating,
indistinguishable from nearsightedness.

It is hard for you to be near me,
my silly intensity shuffling
all the insignia of interiority.
Knowing me never made anyone a needle.

* why it is hard to be 'near me'?
* Why the need to make somone a needle?
* What is the poet trying to imply here?

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Post time 2009-1-20 14:44:34 |Display all floors
If you imagine yourself trying to thread a needle (with a thread of course, this how we say it in English, "to thread a needle" means to put a thread through the eye of a needle), hopefully it should make the poem more understandable to you.
If you are trying to sew something with a thread, you must make use of a needle to get the thread in and out of the cloth to sew something up. It would be difficult to do this without a needle.



"I am frayed where it would be highly useful—
and this I feel perpetually—to make a point."

In the above part, I think this is more metaphorical or allegorical as well as possibly a pun...as it refers to the needle. If the thread end was like a needle, you would not need a needle. When you are trying to put the end of the thread through the eye of a needle, the end of the thread is usually frayed, making is difficult. Also sometimes when you are looking closely and you think you have the thread near and going to go through the eye of the needle, you find that you missed.
This is a poem for those who sew.

Hope this helps a little.

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Post time 2009-1-20 15:12:23 |Display all floors
I will add this...

"It is hard for you to be near me"
This would mean it is hard for the eye of the needle to be near the thread, as when you are trying to thread it.

"my silly intensity shuffling"
You keep trying to put the thread through the eye of the needle, but the thread seems to keep moving out of the way the moment it is near.

"all the insignia of interiority."
similar to saying all the mark or evidence of being inside the eye of the needle (when the thread goes through).

"Knowing me never made anyone a needle."
This is difficult, so I would guess this could refer to when some one bothers someone else about something that they wish they would not. For example someone does badly on a test and would like to forget about it, and the other person keeps bringing it up, we call this "needling" someone.

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Post time 2009-1-20 16:00:30 |Display all floors
Thanks Pokikiko! I can sew, so I can understand you.

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