Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Boudicca has kindly inspired me, with this post about Robert Frost. Thank you, sis!

My University degree was an Honours course in English and Education, and it had a poetry component. I remember one lecturer telling us that it wasn't always necessary to look for alternative meanings behind the literal words the poet had chosen. Sometimes, a poem is great just in it's craft. In the imagery used, and in it's structure.

However, we had another lecturer who was intent on carving up every single line. He was the sort of man you only find in English Universities. You really couldn't imagine him coping in the real world! Anyway, we're looking at this poem about a woman who has just given birth. I think it was Plath. My group consisted of a great many mature students. Women who had kids. They were the ultimate realists, and would often try to bring our professor down to earth.

So we get to this phrase: "Cow heavy in my floral nightgown". The first part struck a real chord with the group. Anyone who has suffered the indignity of leaky breasts can relate to that. So they're freaking this poor, sensitive academic guy out with graphic descriptions, and I'm laughing my arse off. Then he tries to continue.

"So the use of the adjective, floral. Why has the poet chosen this particular word? What does it represent?"

Quick as a flash, someone replies, "It's all you can get! They don't make any other type of maternity stuff, Professor."

I loved those people!

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