Poetry Explication Essay

872 words - 4 pages

Poetry Explication The second sonnet in Mark Jarman's group of sonnets entitled The Word "Answer" can be interpreted two different ways. Is there a "right" way from which to view this poem, or is the poet simply exercising his God given right to ambiguity? Sonnet 2, as I will refer to it, revolves around someone sitting in a bathtub when suddenly there is a knock at the door, which soon turns into ringing and pounding, and finally the sound of breaking glass. Throughout the poem the person bathing debates whether or not to answer the door. By poem's end, the reader knows no more about the outcome than before the book was opened. Yet the importance lies not in a climactic conclusion, but ...view middle of the document...

Then again, it could be God in the bathtub while we stand outside wondering, while we pray, if God hears us, or if He is even there; a legitimate fear we all experience at some time in our lives.The next few lines state that, "nobody's here to answer it but him. Perhaps they'll go away. But it's not easy, relaxing in the tub, reading the paper, with someone at the front door…" (Jarman 171). The question here is discovering who is the "him" being discussed. By saying, "nobody's here to answer it but him" gives sufficient evidence that the bather is not be God, otherwise "him" would be capitalized. Furthermore, the responsibility to respond, or answer God's knock lies solely on our shoulders. Truly, nobody else can answer it. Yet on the other hand, isn't it God who answers our prayers? Furthermore the importance of capitalizing "him" seems insignificant within the context of the entire poem. Again the reader is left with yet another ambiguity.The bather next hears, "ringing and pounding, and-that sounds like glass-breaking in. At least the bathroom door's securely bolted. Or is that any assurance in this case" (Jarman 171)? The last of the first twelve lines of Sonnet 2 represent one of two possibilities. The first...

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