Perception of the Reflection
Without even reading a word of John Hollander’s poem “Swan and Shadow”, the reader is promised to be entertained simply by the form. Undoubtedly the poet demonstrates creativity and meaning by formatting the words to create the silhouette of a swan floating above its reflection in the water. Each line and word in the poem is substantial to its imagery. “Swan and Shadow” is and open formed crux. This format gives the reader a variety of different ways to read it. The missing punctuations promotes creativity and imagination to the perception of the reader. While some may find this poem a bit challenging to read, others will surely notice John Hollanders astounding techniques. With the use of shapes, lineation form, and imagery, this poem effectively seizes the mind of the reader and thus allows it to be a remarkable poem. The unique shape this poem takes assists in its meaning. The swan represents beauty, grace, and relationships. The shadow represents the dark, absent, and the mysterious. The shape of the poem when deeply analyzed will show the importance of capturing a moment in perfect time. At one point there was a perfect swan and its reflection, then it slowly vanished into the dark beneath the surface of the water. This simply explains the significance in capturing the moment, because nothing can last forever. John Hollander’s lineation form says a lot in the poem. While physically the poem is reflective, syllabically it is not. The poems open form permitted the unique shape that it took in order for it to match the subject. With every line-break and spacing Hollander had to alter the material of his poem. This was not done merely to make the poem look pretty or appealing. The lineation creates a bridge between the reader and the author’s reality to change. While Hollander sacrificed contents of his poem in order for it to create a picture of a swan, one may assume he expects the reader to sacrifice what has already passed....
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