How Do Poems Use Language to Create Imaginary Worlds That Question Our Understanding of Human Nature?

1000 Words Nov 29th, 2012 4 Pages
Poppies by Mary Oliver and A Martian Sends A Postcard Home by Craig Raine, with the use of unconventional metaphors and extremely detailed observation encourage us to look upon the ordinary in a way that leads us to explore our own human nature.

Unexpected connections between a previously ordinary object and something that at first seemed totally unrelated can paint a picture of another context within which we can better examine our own existence (Hirsch). This is demonstrated quite well in A Martian Sends A Postcard Home in nearly every stanza, with the alien viewpoint of everyday things leading to considerable thought about the things we take for granted. The line, “At night, when all the colours die” is a particularly vivid way of
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In a slightly different vein, A Martian Sends A Postcard Home is suggesting that we pay closer attention to the world around us, a world in which “Mist is when the sky is tired of flight and rests its soft machine on the ground” and also provokes feelings of nostalgia of when the reader was young and looked up at the clouds, the “soft machines”, for long periods, looking at them in a new way (Williams 454).

The poets also have an eye for incredible detail in the world around us that they use to paint a picture of a scene in layers, allowing the reader to form a three dimensional picture of the scene in their head in vivid detail. In Poppies, for example, the one field of poppies is focused on in at almost every angle; the way they sway in the wind, the way the shine, their “yellow hair” and “rough and spongy gold” leading to almost a baptism of flowers, “washed and washed in the river of earthly delight”. This seeming progression of wonder, joy, light and rebirth through the steady application of description after description of the one object (the field of poppies) give the reader pause to think on their own progression through life. With the occasional interjection about the “darkness” and the “deep, blue night” we are reminded that death is looming but it is the happiness we can create beforehand that is important, and we should pay attention to that detail (Wu).

A Martian Sends A Postcard Home does

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