A Mosaic of Emotion
ENG 125 Deborah Toroko
By: Brittany Tremblett
Table of Contents
Introductory Essay 2
After Apple Picking 5
A New-England Church 7
Wilton Agnew Barrett
Falling Snow 8
Sunset on the Waves
Juliana Makuchi Nfah
John Hall Wheelock
Imperfect Me 13
My Mother 15
Rain Clouds 16
Emmanuel Fru Doh
Nadain (2002) describes poetry as a puzzle: “you piece together words to form a beautiful image. When everything fits together perfectly, you are left with a breath-taking product” (p.31): a breath-taking, emotional experience. Poetry is used as a way of expressing and finding meaning in few words. A melody of passion flowing out onto the pages, words that flow into each other and yet express the inner most thoughts and feelings of those who read the words. It is a gift, being able to illuminate words so that they form a picture, express a feeling and share a thought in so few words. Unlike telling a story or writing a novel that explains every intricate detail, a poem leaves you to draw your own conclusion and create structure and order to your personal nature (Shaw, 2008. P. 175). Poetry can be a healing process, putting down on paper all the profound expanses locked up inside ones head, a way of remembering and a way of re-living. It has many forms from free verse, to sonnet, but all poems tell a story, a story of words, words wrapped around each other in such a way that they flow together, locked in meaning, creating a mystical world full of images, images that provoke emotion and connections that cannot be created in any other way; it is “anything and everything that affect’s ones emotions” (Nadain, 2002. P.31). In this anthology, I have carefully selected poems that give examples of how poets use images to suggest certain kinds of emotion within the readers.
Philosophers and psychologists have long debated the nature of emotions such as happiness. Are they states of supernatural souls, cognitive judgments about goal satisfaction, or perceptions of physiological changes (Shaw, p.175)? Suppose that something good happens: winning the lottery, getting admitted into Harvard, eating that big slice of apple pie that has been waiting in the fridge all day. Naturally, anyone would feel happy. Emotions seem to rule our daily lives. We make decisions based on whether we are happy, angry, sad, bored, or frustrated. We choose activities and hobbies based on the emotions they incite. Poetry is a way to inflict these types of emotions (Shaw, 2008). With the selections of poems I fashioned together, I noticed that the simplest of images brought the most multifarious stimulations to my emotional
Growing up in a Christian home, my brother and I were raised very differently from other people. My dad is the pastor of a small church in what seemed to be an even smaller town, which is why all of what I am about to tell you, makes sense. We were raised to stand strong in our faith. No matter what anyone said or did, I learned to never give up on my beliefs, on my dreams, and my passions. Now, this may sound quite cliché; shouldn’t any good parent raise their child to never give up on the things they care about the most in life? Indeed they should. However, as I grew stronger in my faith, this “cliché” statement began to mature. Believing in something as strong as a religion makes your entire aspect on life change. Faith changes your mindset, the way you view even the simplest of things. Faith has everything to do with feelings. I heard this quote in a movie I watched years ago and it basically wraps up everything I am saying in a few simple lines: “faith is like the wind; you can’t see it but you can feel it.” Everything about this quote is what I base my life on. I cannot see God, but the impact He has on people, on life, is more real to me than anything on this earth.
Emotion, feelings, gut instincts, indescribable sensations all go beyond scientific explanation. The life changing influence that poetry has on human beings depends on how deeply the expressive aspects are intertwined with its more structural elements. The more one focuses on the raw feelings he or she encompasses, the more powerful poetry becomes. By bringing this originality into poetry, we can fill our lives with the radiance and insight that poetry can provide (Blanchard & Sowbel, p.1). The poems in this anthology do just that. You will see how each poem, imagistically intricate, carries within them passion that goes beyond any sort of explanation.
Ever since I was a little girl, I gave dreamed of living on an apple Orchard. Driving along the back roads on my way home on a crisp, cool afternoon, passing the vibrant explosions of color coming from the trees, each intricately placed in lines among lines, I would find myself daydreaming of what it would be like to live in the little white house that sat peacefully on top of the hill. I would wake up each morning with the sun gleaming through my blinds; I would throw on a pair of blue jean overalls, matched with a red plaid button down shirt. With a rusty silver pail in hand, and black gumboots on my feet, I would begin picking every perfect apple and carefully place them in my pale. This poem brought me back to my fairy-tale land again. How the author even dreams of picking apples and being overwhelmed with the amount of apples he has picked gave a spin of silliness to the poem, enchanting me with a light and elated sensation.
MY long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
By Robert Frost
I grew up in a parsonage. My home was attached to the backside of a very small church, right next to cemetery with a big white fence wrapped around the parameter. My church was all white with a deep brown roof. Right under the peak of the roof sat a pure white cross that shined in the sunlight. My dad is the pastor of that church so growing up was almost a dream. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood; I was blessed to say the least. My favorite memories I have were on frozen fall evenings, fog settled over the cemetery. My Dad, my Mom, my brother and I bundled up in front of the fire place. My mom and I would make hot cocoa while the boys would pop in a movie. This poem reminded me of all the beautiful memories I shared with my family in that little white church, filled with unconditional love, joy, and pure serenity. A New-England Church
THE WHITE church on the hill
Looks over the little bay—
A beautiful thing on the hill
When the mist is gray;
When the hill looks old, and the air turns cold
With the dying day!
The white church on the hill—
A Greek in a Puritan town—
Was built on the brow of the hill
For John Wesley’s God’s renown,
And a conscience old set a steeple cold
On its Grecian crown.
In a storm of faith on the hill
Hands raised it over the bay.
When the night is clear on the hill,
It stands up strong and gray;
But its door is old, and the tower points cold
To the Milky Way.
The white church on the hill
Looks lonely over the town.
Dim to them under the hill
Is its God’s renown,
And its Bible old, and its creed grown cold,
And the letters brown.
By Wilton Agnew Barrett
Poets often use imagery of nature in their poems, which creates a powerful way of developing emotion in a reader. There is nothing greater than going for a walk in the fresh fallen snow, when all you can hear is your own frozen breath, or the crunch beneath your boots. Or even a walk alongside the ocean. “There is nothing so beautiful as the rays of The setting sun on a moving body of water” Nfah describes his poem “Sunset on the Waves”. Using images of nature can trigger memories of past experiences whether it a simple walk down a snow covered path, or spending a day at the beach followed by a beautiful sunset to top it all off. These next two poems “Falling Snow” and “Sunset on the waves”, although set in two opposite seasons of the year, carry with them a pleasant feeling of peace and warmth. Growing up on an island, I get to experience the best of both worlds.
Falling snow is beautiful
pristine, soft and white
a gentle flowing mantle
reflecting nature's light
Icy teardrops congregate
cling to bough and vine
glitter, sway and shine
Snowflakes on a frosted lake
become an artists dream
blanketing the silent dell
with perfect winter scene
Skies of heavy laden snow
will surely fall but soon
draping ghostly branches
silhouetted by the moon
The precious jewels of winter
are treasures rich and rare
the glories of the season
are there for all to share
Beauty all around to see
tiny seeds have sown
snowdrops soon will lift their heads
and flowers will be grown
Falling snow is beautiful
both peaceful and serene
holds promises of spring time
from white to budding green
Sunset on the Waves
The breeze came gently soothing
Caressing the little waves
Urging them on towards the shore,
And I knew a cool tender feeling.
As I stood consumed by that mood
I saw the golden rays of the setting sun
With timidly outstretched fingers touch
The lovely waves of the great expanse of water.
They now advanced at regular intervals,
The waves. Murmuring with the hum of bees
A melody that hastened the steps of a traveller
Obliged to tarry in awe, in admiration.
They now curled in, the waves,
Like an army of snakes riding to battle;
And on them, swaying in dance admirable,
Rode the boats of fishermen and villagers.
They were gliding along, the boats,
In stately dance to the melody of the waves.
And what greenery around them!
Of distant trees in the horizon.
Trees standing in stately pattern
Of the half-moon, their branches in
Humble bow, over the water, like mother
Over her crying baby, to the sun-god.
There I stood gazing in awe
At the boats and their men
The trees and their half-circle
The riding waves and the golden rays.
I knew not dusk was setting in
When came from within the pronouncement:
There is nothing so beautiful as the rays of
The setting sun on a moving body of water.
Juliana Makuchi Nfah
Music and dance have always been my passion. When I was a little girl, I was in a ballet class, and for the first time in my life, I knew I had fallen in love. As I grew older, my passion grew stronger. When I would dance, it was a way for me to close myself off, and escape from the outside chaos of the world. The way you body feels when it moves to the rhythm of a song is like ecstasy for your soul, an addiction you can never break free from. To me, dance is not a sport, it not an activity people do; dance is a feeling. It is an art form in which human movement becomes the medium for sensing, understanding, and communicating ideas, feelings, and experiences. I don’t dance anymore which crushes me beyond belief, but this poem “Like Music” gave me a small taste of dance again. Wheelock does a wonderful job in describing the essence of dance. Each word made me feel alive. Picturing a mysterious dancer float across the dance floor brings back emotions of joy and excitement, as well as remorse and heartache. Even though I don’t dance anymore, it will always be a part of me. Like Music
YOUR body’s motion is like music;
Her stride ecstatical and bright
Moves to the rhythm of dumb music,
The unheard music of delight.
The silent splendor of the creation
Speaks through your body’s stately strength,
And the lithe harmony of beauty
Undulates through its lovely length.
And rhythmically your bosom’s arches,
Alternately, with every breath
Lift lifeward in long lines of beauty,
And lapse along the slopes of death.
By John Hall Wheelock
Poetry can also portray emotions of hurt and betrayal, unrequited love, loss and great suffering. Just putting these feelings onto paper helps to unburden the mind and the heart. Offloading the grief one feels, if only for a moment. The next two poems titled “Sorry” and “Imperfect Me” display emotions of loss and sorrow. Sorry
why did you go so quickly
I didn't say I love
why did you go so quickly
now my heart won't think of anything but you
the love I felt was torn so quick
my heart is grieving and now I am love sick
why did death take you?
you of all my love, my sweet, my very all
I am so so sorry my love I didn't say I love you
I am so sorry death forced you to go from me
but just to say one more time
I am sorry my love I will love for all time
By: Jay Sullivan
I knew that when I met you
I’d found a special soul
A lifetime of love
To have and to hold
But all you got from me were struggles
A path of ups and downs
And you patiently waited
As I tried to figure it out
I tried so many times
To give you the perfect me
But somewhere deep inside
I was lost internally
You were such a perfect love
And an even better friend
Everything I could ever want
But I would never let you in
I tried so hard to overcome my fear
The thought of losing you
But still I was afraid
Of what allowing you in would do
I’m sorry if my insecurities
Caused pain inside your heart
It was never my intention
To leave a lasting scar
I regret every single day
That I wasn’t what you need
And all I ever gave
Was the most imperfect me
A mother is the truest friend we have, when we go through trials and tribulations; when hardship takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble is all around us, our mother is always there to hold us. She is always there to counsel us to dissipate the clouds of darkness. She brings peace back into our hearts. I am who I am because of my mother. My intelligence, my strengths, my happiness, all came from the unremitting love of my beautiful mother. I owe so much to her; everything that I am comes from her and for that I am eternally grateful. When reading this poem, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. My mother is truly an amazing woman, and I can honestly say I would be nothing without her.
When in my life there is sadness,
When in my life there is sunshine,
At every phase of my temperament,
In every drop of my blood,
There is this dear figure,
Who is my mainstay and my all.
Between towering gigantic trees,
Shading a clearing large.
From which a serpentine smoke
Rockets into the blue sky.
She, bent with a cutlass and a hoe,
Cuts and digs in toil and sweat;
She tills, and plants and reaps for me.
Once she would sit and sew on her machine,
At her window from rise to set,
Or sit in a hut behind bottles of palm wine;
To sell and fetch some coins home;
To sit there all day long, watching and calling,
‘Tis crippling for time moves on crutches;
Yet, she does it all for me.
When I lie writhing in agony,
When I toss and twist about in pain,
When I am near the frontiers of this world,
She runs far and wide to get herb and counsel;
As I sit on this lonely day,
Faced with the trials and controversies of this life,
I think of your invulnerable love,
And crave with an inextinguishable passion,
To share with you always,
My love, my wealth, my all,
O my mother.
April, 1882, Yaounde
This poem does a remarkable job at painting a beautiful picture of one of the finest sights of nature: a thunder storm. A few years ago, my family and I went on a trip to Edmonton, Alberta. When we were there the news had called for thunder and lightning storm that would be passing in the evening. At that time, I had no idea what I was in for. You could literally see the huge black clouds rolling in across the sky, thunder getting louder and louder until the entire house shook. The blue sky, within minutes, was engulfed in an angry, terrifying war between the gods of the sky. Thinking about it now sends chills down my spine. It was a daunting yet exhilarating experience that I will never forget.
That face of the earth,
the sky, bright and radiant,
then anger rises, the cloud
darkens and the thunder
rumbles and, like the
locomotive engine, gives steam
to the thick black clouds.
Gently this train glides out
of its station, heading, for
the onlooker, to an unknown
destination. But the frown on
that face is unmistaken as
the rain clouds like wrinkles converge.
Unable to accommodate it any more,
the steam is let loose and
the tears flow freely
flooding away the wrinkles from
the face of the earth.
Emmanuel Fru Doh