Poetry Explication

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Poetry Explication
20 May 2012
Questions Entwined into “The Summer I Was Sixteen”
Words often have meaning behind what is said, regardless of those particular words. Emotions can be extrapolated from statements. A close reading and analysis of the poem “The Summer I Was Sixteen’ reveals more to the reader than just what sits on the page.

Whilst reading this poem, a feeling of unusual melancholy and normalcy arises from a point in time which should be a substantial amount more upbeat. During the summer, kids are off school and carefree mostly, but from the writer of this piece I feel strangely a dull sense of action. The entire poem is of one single day, start to finish. However, the title includes the entire summer, hinting to me that perhaps every day in this summer feels just like this one day repeated over, so that every day feels just like the rest.

The rhythm of this poem also has the feeling of an onward rolling through normalcy, with no breaks for excitement or any particular deviation. This gives the perception that the speaker is rolling through this day like any other. In line 7, the speaker writes a sentence containing only the word “Afternoon”. This addition to the poem illustrates the point that the day goes by very quickly, pointing to the rapid switch in time frames.

Visual patterns indicate a bored feeling, as if everything is a run on sentence. This is seen by the chopped look of the poem itself, having lines cut off mid-sentence to start a new line with the continuation of that same sentence. Throughout the poem, lines describe items flowing by like they mean nothing to the speaker, items that would, in any other case, cause happiness. Visuals in the poem itself are contradicting at times. The speaker says the pool was turquoise, while the “afterthought” of the slide was mere silver. Perhaps the pool was the only thing that gave delight, seeing as that was the only thing described as bright or even colorful at all.

The speaker says...
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