Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"The Song of Death" Analysis (6)

Death: such a cold, spine-chilling word that brings out fear and makes the heart sink.  Why do we die? Well, there is the scientific answer, and then there are the religious answers. Who dies? Well, ultimately everyone, but our time to go, once again, depends on the scientific answer, but then may connect to religion.
Gabriela Mistral takes an approach on death that gives a whole new perspective.  She imagines death as a "trickster", "anti-mother", "people collector"... which, upon analysis, is more than true. This poem focuses on the passing death of a child, and how a mother fights to keep death away from her child.  This "anti-mother" is taking the child away for her selfish purposes, and trying to take away the child's food source (the milk). Gabriela talls the "anti-mother" to find another source of food, just not the one that will keep the child alive. 
When Gabriela Mistral mentions the child's baptism name, it is a name given at birth that is or reflects the name of a saint or a religious figure. For example, if you name your child Michael after Michael the Arch Angel, you have a baptism name. It is your real name.  If you name your girl Marie, it is still a baptism name because you are reflecting the name of St. Maria, or Mary the Mother of God.  While you keep this in mind, Gabriela Mistral made this bold statement to tell the "anti-mother" that God will keep the baby, and that it is not his/her time to leave the earth. It is only a child, and has not yet had a life to live to the fullest.  She is telling the "anti-mother" to forget the name of the child, and pass by without taking the life. 

The Song of Death
Old Woman Census-taker,
Death the Trickster,
when you're going along,
don't you meet my baby.

Sniffing at newborns,
smelling for the milk,
find salt, find cornmeal,
don't find my milk.

Anti-Mother of the world,
People-Collector -
on the beaches and byways,
don't meet that child.

The name he was baptized,
that flower he grows with,
forget it, Rememberer.
Lose it, Death.

Let wind and salt and sand
drive you crazy, mix you up
so you can't tell
East from West,

or mother from child,
like fish in the sea.
And on the day, at the hour,
find only me. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"The Sad Mother" Analysis (5)

It is always hard to lose someone you love, and often are not at peace until time takes over, though this may never happen.  One thing that helps some overcome the fear of losing a loved one is the person realizing they are in a better place. 
Gabriela Mistral worked with many children through teaching, though never had a child of her own.  Her work must have filled the empty space in her heart for the desire of a child.  One can only imagine the unbearable pain and horror that a parent experiences when losing a child.  I am sure that Mistral became a motherly image to her students, therefore giving Mistral insight into the world of being a mother. Working with children at a young age develops a connection with them, and you grow to love any child you come upon.  I babysit and volunteer at places where there are many children, and I have grown to love them so much, no matter the amount of time I have known them. I think it has to do with a girl's natural motherly instinct. With this in mind, Gabriela Mistral most likely fell in love with the children she worked with and could only image what would happen if she lost one. Her poem describes the perspective of a mother during her painful loss, and how her child's happiness in heaven (one can assume) or the afterlife of whatever faith brings her joy and helps heal the physical loss of the child. 

The Sad Mother
By Gabriela Mistral

Sleep, sleep, my beloved,
without worry, without fear,
although my soul does not sleep,
although I do not rest.

Sleep, sleep, and in the night
may your whispers be softer
than a leaf of grass,
or the silken fleece of lambs.

May my flesh slumber in you,
my worry, my trembling.
In you, may my eyes close
and my heart sleep. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Those Who Do Not Dance" Analysis (4)

Expression through artistic ability is to be desired for.  For those who do not have a forte in the arts, or disabled in their ability to perform the art, they must perform in another way.
Gabriela Mistral, in her poem "Those Who Do Not Dance",  gives a different perspective into the ways one can express themselves artistically.  If you cannot physically dance, let your heart dance. If you cannot physically sing, let your heart sing.  Go to others and share yourself and your talents.  
Looking at this poem from a different perspective, I also found it to be a bold statement to society's take on expression and living life to the fullest.  "Just be you"; "YOLO"; "Live While We're Young"... all terms that are commonly spoken. Now, Gabriela Mistral was not a writer in this era, but as a teenager in the present day, it is easy to relate. Just be yourself, be free, do as you wish.  Mistral says in her last two lines, "And the heart of him who joins us not/ Is turned to dust, to dust."  In my opinion, this line is the boldest and most significant line in the poem, because one must live their life how they want and do what they want to do.

Mistral's poem is listed below:

Those Who Do Not Dance
A crippled child
Said, “How shall I dance?”
Let your heart dance
We said.

Then the invalid said:
“How shall I sing?”
Let your heart sing
We said

Then spoke the poor dead thistle,
But I, how shall I dance?”
Let your heart fly to the wind
We said.

Then God spoke from above
“How shall I descend from the blue?”
Come dance for us here in the light
We said.

All the valley is dancing
Together under the sun,
And the heart of him who joins us not
Is turned to dust, to dust. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Interesting Fact and How it Connects to her Poem (2/3)

Hello bloggers and viewers,

Today, I will be analyzing Gabriela Mistral's poem "To See Him Again" (the poem is pasted at the bottom of the blog post).

This is a little history on Gabriela Mistral’s life that I believe influenced the formation of this poem.  She had a lover named Romelio Ureta. Gabriela Mistral met him while teaching at La Cantera. Ureta was a railway worker. When he was 26 in the year 1909, he committed suicide. When he died, he had a postcard in his pocket addressed to Lucila Godoy, her real name, for Gabriela Mistral is her pseudonym.  His sudden death left Mistral heartbroken, and she never put herself in another relationship again. She continued teaching. Mistral wrote a collection of poems called DesolaciĆ³n, and Ureta and his suicide influenced some of the poems. This poem, I believe is written about her feeling of abandonment and her desire to physically take out her emotions in any setting at any time.

I read the poem and (while keeping the meaning in the back of my mind) found that the poem’s underlying meaning plays a role into why Gabriela Mistral chose to use the device, or why she may have not used a device.

Her use of the dash is emphatic in her fourth stanza. Gabriela Mistral made this a very dramatic part of the poem, and the dashes enforce a harsh pause; “Oh no. To see him again -- / it would not matter where -- / …” The context of this stanza is rough, painful, and heartbreaking.  Gabriela Mistral is angry, and the dashes add to the drama of this poem, and allow the reader to grasp a sense of the hate and anger Gabriela Mistral is pouring out into the poem.

Now, as a teenager, I cannot say I have been in love before.  Though, I have watched all those crazy love movies where boy meets girl and boy loses girl and boy gets girl back.  This poem is not like that. It is not predictable-- it is relatable, not fantasized in any way. It is a real, unscripted story and filled with real passion.
Now, with this in hand, I feel that she didn’t use any rhyme schemes, syllable counts or poem structures because love is crazy and hectic. It unformatted and unpredictable; this contrasts what rhyming, syllable counts and structures provide in a poem. Rhyming, syllable counts, and structures are set, clear, and predictable, and they limit the poet’s ability to push out emotions without trying to sound formed.

Gabriella Mistral used personification, as well, which gives a certain feeling of emotion that cannot be described elsewhere.  In her second line, “Not on nights filled with quivering stars,” she describes the stars as shaky. Was she staring into the night sky, longing for Ureta and shedding tears of hatred and sorrow? When she was staring at the “…rim of the trembling fountain,” (7), was she pouring her heart out, creating an abundance of forceful and powerful emotions, like a fountain pushes out the fountain? Why did she use the word trembling? Was it shaking through the tears in her eyes? Simple uses of personification give this poem mystery.

Never, never again?
Not on nights filled with quivering stars,
or during dawn's maiden brightness
or afternoons of sacrifice?

Or at the edge of a pale path
that encircles the farmlands,
or upon the rim of a trembling fountain,
whitened by a shimmering moon?

Or beneath the forest's
luxuriant, raveled tresses
where, calling his name,
I was overtaken by the night? 
Not in the grotto that returns
the echo of my cry? 6

Oh no. To see him again --
it would not matter where --
in heaven's deadwater
or inside the boiling vortex,
under serene moons or in bloodless fright!  

To be with him...
every springtime and winter,  
united in one anguished knot
around his bloody neck!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mistral's History (1)

Hello everyone, my name is Angelica, and I will be analyzing the poetry of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. 

Below is a brief history of her life.  If you wish to learn more, the link is pasted below:

Gabriela Mistral was a Chilean poet. She was the first Spanish American woman who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. At the young age of 3, her father abandoned her family, and was then raised by her mother and older sister.  Her father had played little songs on his guitar and wrote short poems, influencing her love of poetry.  She started attending school at the age of 9, and after 3 years was home schooled by her sister.  Then she started writing her own poems. Her sister inspired her to become a teacher.
Gabriela received her diploma to teach in secondary schools in 1912 at the age of 13.  She passed the exam after her sister's teachings and studying the courses on her own, because she did not have a formal education.  Her degree opened an opportunity to travel to other regions in Chile. 
Later in her career, she started educational programs for the poor in Mexico. In 1923, Mistral was given the title "Teacher of the Nation" by the Chilean government. She continued her poetry and started to publish her pieces. Her work continued to spread. 
She died in 1957.