Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Well?

New semester. This is my 4th year at BYU. I can't even believe it. It seems like I was checking into the freshman dorms not so long ago.

I've been to all my classes now, looking like it won't be too bad. In my GE class (my last one I have to take), English 230: Intro to Literature, Poetry, and Fiction, we're starting with poetry and we had to write a one page summary on a poem. At first, I thought I was going to really struggle to write a full page on such a short poem, but as I wrote, the easier it got and the quicker the end of the page came up.

Trapped
By Adelaide Crapsey

Well and
If day on day
Follows, and weary year
On year... and ever days and years...
Well?

Now, don't dismiss this so quickly. When I first heard it I was waiting for a long drawn out poem. The way it stopped so quickly caught me off guard, and caught my attention.


What I noticed in Adelaide Crapsey’s short poem entitled Trapped is this: It starts out as a poem of slight despair. The reader or listener nods their head in agreement; they too have had weary days and years following each other. Then the poem alludes to a rising moment, where the poet will come in with an inspirational lift, an answer to life’s biggest questions. Anything that the reader will read and feel hope. However, it does not. It ends abruptly and flat. It ends simply “Well?” 
It is not an inspirational poem. It is a poem about how many people feel. The poet asks “Well?” Well, what? I wonder if the author is asking, “Is this the way life is supposed to be? Is it supposed to be hard and weary and without a hopeful and joyful end? Well, what? That’s just the way things are in this life? Shouldn’t I just give up? Well, what do you want me to do about it?” 
Or, the thought just occurred to me as I read the poem for the umpteenth time and as I was writing this, is the author asking for help? Is the author saying, “This is my life. I don’t know how it got to this dreary and terrible point. But since it has, what am I supposed to do? Well? Advise me please on how to find hope and joy and pull myself out of these dreary days and years. I do not know how to do it myself. I simply need help; I simply need someone to notice how lost and broken I am. Well? Who will help? Who will answer?”
I notice the pauses between the words and the simplicity of the words. It is not meant to be eloquent and frivolous. It is meant to be real. It is meant to be relatable to every reader’s running dialogue in their head, because this poem echoes what many think at different times in their life. Well? What next? What now? What am I supposed to do? What am I doing here? It is a poem that could have been written by anyone.

No comments: