Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear

Preparing Elizabeth Bishop's "At the Fishhouses" for class next week with a digital version of the poem, I was underlining words and making marginal comments about all kinds of things in the poem. So in a sense, I wasn't really reading the poem.

And yet when I got to the beginning of the third stanza, I gasped anyway:

Cold  dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,

Perhaps that's a test of just how great a poem is: if it blows you away even when you're not reading it in search of being blown away.

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