The poem belongs to the genre of lyric poetry. Poetry comes from the Greek "lyra" = "lyre", "harp-like plucked instrument".
Poems include sayings, songs, hymns, odes, sonnets, ballads.
Emotions play a greater role in the lyric poem than in other genres of literature. The lyrical speaker communicates his relation to the subject of the poem, to the world.
In many poems he writes directly in the first person. In some poems, the lyrical speaker is hidden behind or within other people or events, and yet is very present, evaluating what is happening, taking an emotional stand through apt word choices, for example, linguistic imagery, striking verbs and adjectives.
The sentence structure in poems does not always have to follow the rules of syntax, the poet is given some freedom.
The rhythm of the poem results from its sentence structure and the structure of verses and stanzas.
Interpreting a poem
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What is a poem?
The poem belongs to the lyric genre . Lyric comes from the Greek "lyra" = "lyre", "harp-like plucked instrument".
Poems include sayings, songs, hymns, odes, sonnets, ballads.
The lyrical speaker
Stronger than in other genres of literature the feelings play a role. The lyrical speaker shares his relationship to the subject of the poem, to the world.
In many poems I-form written. However, one must not fall into the idea of equating the I of the poem with the poet himself. The author of a poem creates his instance through which he communicates himself: the lyrical speaker.
Sometimes the lyrical speakers hidden behind or within other persons or events and yet very present, evaluating what is happening, taking an emotional stand through apt word choice, for example, through Linguistic images, impressive verbs and adjectives.
Task of the poem interpretation
The task of poem interpretation is to find the lyrical speaker, to comprehend his thoughts and feelings, his moods and impressions, and to understand his message, his statement (Content). There may also be Biographical background of the poet can be of interest, in which time he lived, when he wrote the poem, in which situation in life. However, the poet lyrical experience never experienced as he describes it in his poem. So it would be wrong to begin a sentence with "The poet wants to tell us with it. " etc.
Examples of the lyrical speaker in the first person:
Symptoms of love
Seem’st not like the blessed gods,
That man across the way, in front of you
Sitting may and near the sound of sweet
Hear the voice,
And laughter’s lovely charm! That has me
The heart in the chest made stiff with terror.
Just one look at you and not a sound comes out
From my throat.
Alas, my tongue is paralyzed, a tender one
Fire trickles under my skin suddenly,
My eye can see nothing, a murmur
Roaring in the ears,
And the sweat runs down on me, the trembling
Grips me whole, even more pale than grass of the field
I am; little lacking, and in deep swoon
I seem to have died.
Tarred barrels rolled from the thresholds
The dark store on the high barges.
The tugs pulled on. The mane of smoke
Hung sooty down on the oily waves.
Two steamers came with music bands.
The chimney they cut at the bridge arch.
Smoke, soot, stench lay on the dirty billows
The tanneries with the brown skins.
In all bridges, underneath us the Zille
Brought through, the signals sounded
As in drums growing in the silence.
We let go and drifted in the canal
Towards gardens slowly. In the idyll
We saw the giant chimneys night fanale.
Examples of a lyrical speaker who is not in the first person:
KAROLINE VON GuNDERRODE
Prehistory, and new time
A paltry rough path seemed otherwise the earth.
And on the mountains the sky shines above her,
An abyss to her side was hell,
And paths led to heaven and hell.
But everything has changed now,
The sky is overthrown, the abyss filled in,
And covered with reason, and very convenient for walking.
The heights of faith are now demolished.
And on the flat earth the mind strides,
And measured everything by fathoms and by shoals.
A fat boy plays with a pond.
The wind has caught in a tree.
The sky looks faded and pale,
As if he had run out of makeup.
On long crutches crookedly bent down
And two lame men crawl chattering in the field.
A blond poet may go mad.
A little horse stumbles over a lady.
A fat man sticks to a window.
A youth wants to visit a soft woman.
A gray clown puts on his boots.
A baby carriage screams and dogs curse.
Language of a poem
Furthermore, the poem interpretation deals with the linguistic form of a poem:
The poet expresses his thoughts, impressions, moods and feelings in bound language, that is very concentrated, condensed.
With relatively little language material he creates a large space for meanings.
Of all literary genres the poem is closest to music.
That is why most poems can be set to music.
Poets must be true masters of language, for on it depend the poem’s expressiveness and charisma. Even the Sound of sounds (sound painting) is significant.
The Sentence Structure
Sentence structure in poems does not always have to follow the rules of syntax, the poet is given some leeway. For example, words are omitted. ( ellipsis ).
Some poets deliberately repeat words of successive sentences, at the beginning of the sentence (anaphora) or at the end
( Epipher ).
Even a uniform sentence structure ( parallelism ) can pursue a certain intention.
It is effective to juxtapose opposite words or sentences ( antithesis ).
The rhythm of the poem results from its sentence structure and the structure of verses and stanzas. If one speaks a poem line, one notices the change of stressed (elevation) and unstressed syllables (lowering). This meter is called metre (verse meter).
The most common verse measures are:
the iamb: An unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed one:
v – v – v
My heart beats to the earth
(Goethe, "Welcome and Farewell")
the trochee: Here the stressed syllable begins, followed by an unstressed one:
– v – v – v – v
Hat der alte Hexenmeister
SIch doch einmal wegbegeben!
(Goethe, "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice")
of the anapaest: Two unstressed syllables precede a stressed syllable:
vv – vv –
Give grob or klein, but Immer gediegen.
the dactyl: A stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed ones:
– vv – vv
HImmlish life in the blauen Gewande
(Novalis, "The Poem")
The verses of a poem can rhyme, but they don’t have to.
If a rhyme closes with an emphasis, one speaks of masculine end rhymes, he closes unaccented, it is a Female End rhyme .
The three most important rhyme types are
soap bubbles (THEODOR FONTANE)
Children to show their desire,
let soap bubbles rise,
How that shimmers in the sunshine,
ein’ge grob and ein’ge klein.
The blown with average mouth,
Held a full second;
But there were several,
Yes, that lasted until two.
One rose as high as the house,
There she bumped, there it was out.
Longing (first stanza, FRIEDRICH SCHILLER)
Alas, for this valley’s reasons,
Which the cold fog presses,
If only I could find the exit,
Oh, how happy I feel!
There I behold beautiful hills,
Eternally young and eternally green!
If I had wings, I would have wings,
After the hills I hesitate.
embracing rhyme :
The appearance (first stanza, CHARLOTTE VON AHLEFELDT)
Is it your shadow, that with gentle waving
Quiet often, and whispering around me floats,
That my heart trembles forebodingly
And tears stand in my eyes?
A special form of rhyme is alliteration (Stab rhyme):
The initial letter of several consecutive words or stressed syllables sounds the same.
Konrad kommt with Kind and Kegel.
We wothers at Wind and Wetter.
The timbre in a poem can convey moods.
The vowels e and i as well as the diphthongs ei and eu sound bright, while the sound of a, o, u, au is darker. With the consonants there are softer sounding (b, g, l, m, n, w) or harder sounding (e.g., e, e). sharper (k, p, t, voiceless s, b).
For interpretation, the timbre of individual sounds is significant when it is striking, as in Novalis’ poem:
It colored the Wiese grun
And around the hedge I saw it bluhn . (1. Verse)
Meadow, green, blossom – The i- and u- sounds make the verse bright.
And always dunkler ward der Wald,
Also bunter Sanger Aufenthalt . (2. Strophe)
Darker, ward, forest, more colorful, singer, stay – u, a, a, au lift the brightness in the second stanza.
BERTOLT BRECHT (1898-1956)
Also onomatopoeic words (Onomatopoeia), which imitate sounds or sounds of nature, create mood in a poem.
WILHELM BUSCH offers a prime example of this:
Max and Moritz not at all idle,
Sawing secretly with the saw,
Scribble! full of guile,
In the bridge a gap.
And already he’s on the bridge,
Cracks! The bridge breaks into pieces;
Again it sounds "Meck, meck, meck!"
Plumps! There the tailor is gone.
Further Wilhelm Busch has in the offer: Ratch. Puff!, Crack. Slosh. Ruff. Crunch crunch!, Rab’s!,
Go with the mill Cracking.
Also Verbs can paint sounds: clang, growl, crash, crackle, rattle, rattle, roar.
sounds from nature (animal noises): meow, cuckoo, gurr, gurr, mah, woof.
The bound language forces the poet to give great effect to few words. Thereby he helps himself of figurative expressions.
metaphor : facts are rendered figuratively by transferring names of similar facts to them. A figurative image is created.
Booksworm, someone demonize, Nosesbicycle, Flowersqueen, Crammer, Gods in white.
Personification : It is a special form of metaphor. Objects or natural phenomena take on human characteristics or behave like human beings.
The sky cries, Mother Earth, my heart laughs.
Pictorial comparison : Facts are directly compared with similar facts, which allow a pictorial imagination.
Proudly like a peacock, it shines like thousand stars, it roared up – like the sea, to me was, As if I were dreaming.
Especially in humorous poems poets play with words.
Wordplay : words are rearranged, interchanged, changed, the meaning used in a different sense, by changing their Ambiguity is exploited. Playing with words is done with witty intention.
according to the criteria discussed:
At the forest tree the pine dreams,
In the sky white clouds only;
It is so quiet that I hear them,
the deep silence of nature.
Rings of sunshine on meadows and paths,
the tops silent, no breeze awake,
And yet, it sounds as if a rain is pouring
Quietly sounding on the canopy.
After reading the poem, you let it sink in.
Which Basic mood convey it? Especially nature poems are very atmospheric.
Fontane’s poem radiates peace and tranquility.
You can speak the poem to yourself again, and you will notice that your own voice also becomes quiet.
To interpret it, read the poem again and look more closely at its structure and means of composition.
conspicuousness of stanzas, verses, rhyme forms and in the choice of words you can mark or note down. For longer poems, summarize the content of the poem.
Afterwards you think about lyrical speaker. Is he speaking as "I" or commenting on an event?
"It is so quiet that I hear it", at this one point the lyrical speaker speaks up personally. But also otherwise one feels his presence as a reader. He paints a picture, a picture at noon time. Man and nature have taken a break and take time and rest to contemplate – and to contemplate the image of nature. The pine tree, the white clouds in the sky, the sunshine on the meadow and paths, the tops, the canopy – the speaker sees all this, contemplates it, enjoys the sight, absorbs it deeply and paints a picture in poem form. The reader may take part.
Certainly allows the Mood of the lyrical speaker to indulge in this tranquility. He has the time (or he takes it) to surrender to this moment of beauty and peacefulness.
The Poet Theodor Fontane was at home in Brandenburg. He loved the landscape and wrote about it. So one can imagine that he wrote this little poem "Noon" somewhere at the edge of a forest in his homeland. Surely the environment was familiar to him. But it is also possible that he – at his desk at home – wove several places into one literary place from memory.
The "pine tree" "dreaming" at the "forest edge" is a very well-known image at that time. By using the scenic name pine instead of pine, Fontane expresses his attachment to his landscape.
He writes the pine and not a Pine. He suggests, his lyrical speaker seems to know it well. Fontane, too, could mean a very specific pine tree, and he had perhaps already experienced it differently than at this moment, in storm and rain or snow, disheveled and in motion. Now she dreams. Actually only humans can dream. Fontane uses here the linguistic device of personification.
At the "Waldessaume" (Metaphor) creates a stronger image than at the edge of the forest, and it sounds softer, warmer.
Can you actually hear silence? And the lyrical speaker even hears "deep silence". With this deliberately chosen contrast silence – listening, the poet reinforces the impression that seems unreal to him. He is completely sunk in the depth of silence, sleepy, dreaming. At midday a normal state.
In the first line of the second stanza, the speaker looks up from his absorption. He sees again the bright splendor, which the "sunshine" conjures everywhere "on meadow’ and ways". But the silence remains. Again, phenomena from nature humanized: "The tops mute, not a breeze awake". If one chooses the counter-words, "the treetops speak, no breeze sleeps", one recognizes the humanization even more clearly.
This calm resembles standstill. At such moments, the question can creep up on you: Is one still alive at all?? But! There is still life, for the speaker hears a soft sound: "it sounds as if a rain / were pouring softly on the leafy canopy." The linguistic device of Comparison ("as if a rain was pouring") illustrates to us the new impression. The picture we had before our eyes changes with it. And it makes the impression of the sound audible. The subjunctive strome (Fontane has omitted the e because of the rhythm) creates distance to reality. It is not really raining. The speaker only imagines it, because he knows it cannot remain so immaculately beautiful. Perhaps he is tired of this perfect beauty and wishes for variety. Perhaps it is only his lunch break that has come to an end, and the softly rising rain would be a signal for it, a softly sounding one. "Tonend" paints the sound so that the reader hears the Sound likewise suspects.
The metaphor "canopy of leaves" tells us that it is summer, high summer; the treetops are lush. This suggests that they offer the lyrical speaker shade, refuge from the sun as under a roof. There he feels well.
The phonetic and content Harmony The main character of this poem is determined by the regular Rhyme form coined:
Equally regular is the Rhythm:
iamb (v – v – v – v)
The lines end predominantly feminine, that is, with an unstressed syllable (lowering). Only the last line of the first stanza ("nature") and the second line in the second stanza ("awake") end with a stressed syllable (masculine). All other lines end unstressed (feminine) and contribute to give the poem a soft character to lend.
Alliteration can be found in two places: "white clouds", "on meadows and paths". The W in the initial sound is also soft, which is again reinforced by the repetition.
Interesting in the first stanza is the length of the lines: They become shorter and shorter. Parallel to this, the speaker increasingly sinks into the "silence of nature" and into himself. Only the "sunshine" at the beginning of the second stanza wakes him up, brings him back into the world of the senses.