Thread: Withering
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:26 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,709

I would consider the diction of this poem literary but not archaic, because, excepting the inversions ‘forest wild’ and ‘do I know,’ the words and locutions do not fall outside the bounds of common use in prose writing. The lexicon seems drawn from philosophy and literature ‘time’, ‘earth,’ ‘oblivion’, which while distinct from colloquial is not therefore archaic. In everyday speech, we might not say ‘oblivion,’ insofar as metaphysics is not a common topic of conversation outside those involving philosophical inquiries; a word may be common enough but in certain contexts where it is more useful and pertinent. Here, there is certainly appeal to the practice of past masters and the traditional dialect of literature, whose graces it hones as Yeats and countless other poets.
The main issue, I believe, is rather that the poem condescends to illuminate the mysteries of the blind condition; yet, for all its pomp of diction, only to deliver a gloss without insight and claims that ring hollow. The man in his state is denied all ‘radiance and laughter,’ and all but condemned to walk the earth the ‘prey to nameless hopes and fears,’ and degraded to the level of ‘understanding of a child’ from that of an adult with its concomitant dignity. It is as if, writing on the deaf, my depiction reduced their actual pains to a life of interminable woe and privation of all joy.


Last edited by Erik Olson; 06-25-2018 at 09:17 PM.
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