Close Reading

Topics: Feeling, Poetry, Question Pages: 2 (586 words) Published: March 6, 2013
I have chosen to do a “close reading” on the first poem in the book, “Land To Light On” by Dionne Brand, for Reading Journal one. After reading this poem, I cannot help but find myself correcting the English grammar in some of the phrases. Such as “If I am peaceful in this discomfort, is not peace, is getting used to harm. Is giving up.” It should be “it is not peace, it is getting used to harm. It is giving up.” Also the last line in the poem should be “My eyes are not mirrors”. Maybe the poet’s limited language abilities are used in this type of phrasing to create a feeling of isolation. Firstly, not being able to speak the language fluently, and secondly, using that to help create and effectively portray her feelings of a woman alone in a new land. By using an awkward phrasing, we see that the speaker is an “outsider” in language. She can’t articulate her feelings without revealing her outsider status.

The first two lines say, “Out here I am like someone without a sheet, without a branch but not even safe as the sea.” It is like she feels cold, barren and exposed to this new land, without a branch or limb, all alone without the familiarity of the sea, as if the sea is a part of her life. “Without the relief of the sky or good graces of a door.” Growing up in an environment where the sky meets the sea and having such clarity at night to see the stars must have been very comforting, almost like paradise. To leave that for a foreign land, and one as cold as Canada, can be very disheartening. Therefore, even the landscape leaves her feeling vulnerable. “If I am peaceful in this discomfort, is not peace, is getting used to harm.” It is like she is trying to comprehend how she is going bear with the current situation, dealing with the discomfort in a non-violent way, yet dealing with it painfully. Both her language and her environment have left her exposed and vulnerable. In the verse, “so standing in a doorway I cannot summon up the yard,” she is looking out of...
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