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Friday, March 28, 2014

Comment on Prose Poem "Dragonfly"

Dragonfly
(Prose Poem)

Gone is the rain chased by sky candle.  Everywhere is blooming, on bird-road the dragonfly, devil's darning needle, ear cutter, snake doctor. Earth dwellers' dreadful names you wear; your translucent wings soar in the sun.  You stalk. You prey, in broad daylight. You open mouth to prey, a predator on the loose. Mosquitoes, gnats are in your noose.  Flying high, you search for a mate. Rest, you must on blade of grass. In careful watch, you must; children passing by, your wings wishing to pluck. How they laugh at you, you standing on your head on the grass; tail straight, the giraffe.  In the groove, in the notch you, conjugate. Mating wheel is clear to watch. Audible impact, the lust; teasing and fussing a dragonfly on my callaloo; oh ho! you are the tantaboo.

Comments on – Dragonfly

The poem “Dragonfly” is a Prose Poem defined by rhythmical prose.  Prose poems are set on the page in continuous sequence of sentences without line brakes. It establishes its poetic qualities through cadence, heightened imagery, parataxis and emotional effects as shown in Table below.


Dragonfly


Version One –Prose Poem

Version Two – Prose


Gone is the rain, chased by sky candle.  Everywhere is blooming, on bird-road the dragonfly, devil's darning needle, ear cutter, snake doctor. Earth dwellers' dreadful names you wear; your translucent wings soar in the sun.  You stalk. You prey, in broad daylight. You open mouth to prey, a predator on the loose. Mosquitoes, gnats are in your noose.  Flying high, you search for a mate. Rest, you must on blade of grass. In careful watch, you must; children passing by, your wings wishing to pluck. How they laugh at you, you standing on your head on the grass; tail straight, the giraffe.  In the groove, in the notch you, conjugate. Mating wheel clear watch. Audible impact, the lust; teasing and fussing a dragonfly on my callaloo; oh ho! you are the tantaboo.


The rain is gone and the sky glows in the sun. Everywhere is blooming and in the sky is the dragonfly. The dragonfly is also known by such names as the “devil’s darning needle” ear cutter and snake doctor.

 These names have been given to the dragonfly by people who have seen the way it behaves. People have observed that dragonfly is a predator for mosquitoes and gnats while flying in the air.

 When not searching for food the dragonfly can be seen perched on the grass with a keen eye out for its predators. When the dragonfly is not preying on mosquitoes and other flying insects it can be seen perched on the grasses in a provocative stance. Its head is down on the grass or whatever, and its tail is straight in the air like the neck of a giraffe and kids find this stance of the dragonfly to be amusing while they plot to sneak up quietly while its head is down on the ground and pluck its wings so to proof if the dragonfly can still fly.

The dragonfly mate in the air in what is known as the mating wheel. The baby dragonfly is called a larva but it proper name is a nymph and is an aquatic insect because the female dragonfly lays its eggs in stagnant water where they hatch and fly away as dragonflies. 

Parataxis is what defines Prose Poetry. Normal Prose is defined by subordination conjunctions; line breaks and paragraphs. Parataxis is a poetic device that favors short, simple sentences, with the use of coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions.  Examples of the use of paratactic syntax and as taken from poem “Dragonfly” are shown underlined in the excerpt below:

Gone is the rain, chased by sky candle. Everywhere is blooming, on bird-road the dragonfly, devil's darning needle, ear cutter, snake doctor. Earth dwellers' dreadful names you wear; your translucent wings soar in the sun.  You stalk. You prey, in broad daylight. You open mouth to prey, a predator on the loose. Mosquitoes, gnats are in your noose.  Flying high, you search for a mate. Rest, you must on blade of grass. In careful watch, you must; children passing by, your wings wishing to pluck. How they laugh at you, you standing on your head on the grass; tail straight, the giraffeIn the groove, in the notch you conjugate. Mating wheel clear watch. Audible impact, the lust; teasing and fussing a dragonfly on my callaloo; oh ho! you are the tantaboo.
                          
Parataxis also refers to a technique in poetry in which two images or fragments usually startle dissimilar images or fragments, are juxtaposed without a clear connection. Readers are left to make their own connections implied by the paratactic syntax. Here are two examples taken from “Dragonfly” below:

Flying high, you search for a mate.
tail straight, the giraffe.
Audible impact, the lust

Simile is a poetic devise found in poems. In order to be a simile the word “like” or “as” must be present.  This rule is broken in paratactic syntax; for example, take this excerpt from the prose poem, Dragonfly:

...you standing on your head on the grass; tail straight, the giraffe...

Would you not say that “tail straight, the giraffe” is a special kind of simile, the “implied simile”?  Some would say it is not a simile because it does include “like” or “as”.  Some would say the phrase simply says that the giraffe tail is straight...and that would be correct. Some would say that the phrase is a simile because it is in a paratactic syntax. You know what, the answers supplied are correct because parataxis creates heaps of ambiguity and is only used in prose poetry and not used in regular prose or rhetoric. So yes, “tail straight, the giraffe” is an “implied simile”.

Bear in mind that “parataxis” is a poetic device that favors short, simple sentences with coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions. Parataxis also refers to a technique in prose poetry in which two images or fragments usually startle dissimilar images or fragments, are juxtaposed without a clear connection. Readers are left to make their own connections by the paratactic syntax. The “implied simile” can be found in prose poetry.

Another poetic device used in Prose Poetry is “kenning” were a phrase is used to describe a common thing. Some kennings can be more obscure than others, and then grow close to being a riddle. Kenning is a much-compressed form of metaphor; an object is described in a two-word phrase. Here are some examples:

 ‘valley-trout’ for ‘serpent’
‘fly-stalker for ‘spider’  
‘sky-candle’ for the ‘sun’   
‘battle-sweat’ for ‘blood’
‘mind’s worth for ‘honor’  
‘gallows-bait’ for ‘hook’                                      
‘breaker of trees’ for ‘wind’ 
‘wound-hoe’ for ‘sword’                                           
‘whale-road’ for ‘sea’                        

Those poets who wrote “Beowulf” used kenning. Here are examples shown in Table below: 


Epic Poem – Beowulf

Kenning
Meaning

Life-lord
bed-companion
kin-slaughter
wave-rider
sea-currents
battle-shirts
hearth-companions
earth-dwellers
gift-throne
sea-skilled
battle-dress
word-hoad
shield-bearer



pitch-black
fire-hardened
war-gear
war-chess

living Lord
spouse
killing of relatives
boat
waves
mail
friends
humans
throne
sailor
armor
vocabulary
thane (in Anglo-Saxon community member of class between freemen and nobility

dark
forged
armor
amor


Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon poem, and the fight at Finnsburg. This epic poem consists of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia. It is considered one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. The reasons given for this is because it is the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and also the earliest vernacular English literature. The poem's plot centers on Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia. Beowulf comes to the aid of Hrodgar, the king of the Danes whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attacked by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays the monster, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland.

Here are examples of kenning found in prose poem “Dragonfly”:

‘bird-road’ for ‘flying’
‘air-cutter’ for ‘dragonfly’
‘earth dwellers’ for ‘humans’
‘sky-jewel’ for the ‘sun’

Cadence is another feature in Prose Poetry. It is the fall in the pitch of the intonation of the voice, and its modulated inflection with the rise and fall of the voice. In Pose Poetry the rhythm relies on cadence. In Fixed Form poetry the rhythm comes from cadence and metrical rhythms. Metrical rhythm is produced from the sound effects flowing from the various foot types in use and the rhyming pattern of words.

Here are some facts concerning the dragonfly. It is an insect in the order odonata; with multifaceted eyes, two pairs of transparent wings and an elongated body. It is different from the damselfly because the damselfly’s wings are not held along and parallel to the body when at rest and its eyes are separated. They do share similar morphing skills. The dragonfly is an important predator feeding on mosquitoes and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, wasps. Very rarely does the dragonfly eat butterflies. Stagnant water because an army of dragonflies keep hovering it. The dragonfly’s egg is the larva and the proper name for it is nymph and lives in the water for a long time before morphing into a dragonfly and is therefore aquatic.  Though the dragonfly is predator, birds, lizards, frogs, spiders, fish, water bugs and even other large dragonflies are its predators.


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