next to of course god america i

Discussion in 'Community' started by goodtimes5, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a

    goodtimes5

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    "next to of course god america i
    love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
    say can you see by the dawn's early my
    country 'tis of centuries come and go
    and are no more what of it we should worry
    in every language even deafanddumb
    thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
    by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
    why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
    iful than these heroic happy dead
    who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
    they did not stop to think they died instead
    then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

    He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water.

    Wow. I heard this was a great poem, but I'm dumbfounded. Too bad my homework is to analyze it.
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
    try reading it like this

    next to of course god
    america i love you
    land of the pilgrims' and so forth
    oh say can you see by the dawn's early
    my country 'tis of
    centuries come and go and are no more
    what of it
    we should worry in every language
    even deafanddumb
    thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
    by jingo
    by gee
    by gosh
    by gum
    why talk of beauty
    what could be more beaut-
    iful than these heroic happy dead
    who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
    they did not stop to think they died
    instead then shall the voice of liberty be mute?




    i basically see it as a criticism of American policies taking away freedoms and Americans trying to be too Politically Correct as well as an attempt by the author to criticize the pointlessness of war

    thats just a quick read-through though so good luck and i hope this helps

    ~Tim
     
  3. goodtimes5 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    goodtimes5

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    Apr 4, 2004
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    Bay Area
    #3
    thanks a lot, I see it as poking fun at political speeches and yes, the taking away of freedoms
     
  4. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    #4
    It could go both ways. Perhaps I am buried to deep into bitterness and cynicism to recognize a finer gloss of it, but this could be an honest motivator.
     
  5. ExoticFish macrumors 6502a

    ExoticFish

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
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    The inner depths of madness, aka Kent, OH
    #5
    sheesh, i sure have noticed that a lot of your posts i've crossed refer to you being bitter and a cynic... you ok over there? :confused:
     
  6. topher macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    #6
    why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
    iful than these heroic happy dead
    who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
    they did not stop to think they died instead
    then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

    He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water.


    This last third always seemed the most important, most specifically because the final line is structurally segregated from the rest of the text (not only because it follows the only skipped line, but because it gets to be two full, gramatically complete sentences (marked with as much punctuation as the first 20 lines combined)). It's a ventriloquist. Puppetry. Somebody has taken great care, advanced skill, to make sure that the words are very disconnected from any source. There is no ownership of what is being said, as the craft of deference takes precedence over the message itself (in real life, even when a ventriloquist is funny, it's usually only impressive in a way that's equivalent to (or less impressive than) the illusion that the dummy really is speaking.

    Interestingly, this skill allows for the schizo kind of dialogue seen earlier in the poem. The dummy can say one thing, the ventriloquist can say another. And since we are resigned to believing in the illusion, it's ok that they don't match.

    Which is the only way I've ever found to approach the earlier parts of the poem. Especially the lines immediately preceding this last one. Look the references to voices. "Why talk," "be mute."

    Read it this way.

    Ventriloquist: "Why talk of beauty? What could be more beautiful than these heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter. They did not stop to think, they died instead."

    Dummy: "Then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

    If the question means "It is pointless or futile to speak of beauty"
    and the answer means " If it is pointless or futile to speak of beauty, then the what do you think the voice of liberty is supposed to talk about?"

    Then we have a poem with a very different tone. The heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter are beautiful if that unthinking death was in the defense of liberty.

    Anyway, I could keep going (as you've probably guessed). What I guess I'm suggesting is that the imagery of puppetry and deference and string-pulling is important and immensely intertwined with the rest of the poem (in fact, the entire meaning is dependent upon who might be doing the speaking).

    Good luck in class.
     
  7. comictimes macrumors 6502a

    comictimes

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    Jun 20, 2004
    Location:
    Berkeley, California
    #7
    Am I the only one who is incredibly confused? I must have missed something, because I have no idea what you guys are talking about. Could someone enlighten me please?
     
  8. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

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    #8
    I dont know for sure
    but
    it looks like ee cummings

    i would analyze it with respect to the time period in which it was written
    ie
    post wwii probably
    or
    the early cold war

    maybe draw parallels
    unwinnable war in iraq/on terror
    and
    cold war or fascism

    throw in some dead
     
  9. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #9
    Huh. If I had to re-write this with normal punctuation and such, I'd interpret it this way:

    I know the second sentence doesn't seem to make sense the way I have it, but the line's basically a concatenation of phrases from patriotic songs with the last word omitted from each: Land of the pilgrims' (pride), oh say can you see by the dawn's early (light), my country 'tis of (thee). You could say that the speaker is showing patriotism, or that the abbreviation is similar to saying, "Land of the pilgrims' pride, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda." Your call.

    You could say that it's the latter, and that the use of "by gorry, by jingo, by gee, by gosh, by gum" is a thematic continuation of the sarcastic tone. "By gosh" and such similar exclamations are associated with 50's-era idealism that is now considered not merely corny, but a willful denial of social problems.

    That theme carries over, a little less blase, to the turn of phrase "heroic happy dead." Are the dead really happy? Or could you argue that they died happy, unthinking, because they died for the country they loved?

    Carried onward by their unthinking patriotism, America's sons have thrown themselves towards death, by golly. Is such patriotism a good thing? And should Amercians, given freedom of speech, say something about it? Should the voice of liberty be raised against the slaughter--or in praise of the heroic dead? Is the answer one, the other, or a little of both?

    And--for extra credit--can this be related to the war in Iraq? the war in terror in general?

    Fun!! :D

    As to the last line of two sentences: yes, it's meant to stand out. To me, it immediately conjures the image of a coffeeshop poetry reading where the speaker has just finished their bit, and pauses for a drink of water. It also makes the reader pause, holding attention for just that extra second while the rest sinks in, like the moment of silence between speaker's sip of water and any applause.
     
  10. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

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  11. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    Sep 13, 2003
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    #11
    Quite alright.

    If we spirits have offended think but this and all is mended
    that.. blah blah blah.... yielding but a dream
     
  12. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #12
    Poetry is meant for self expression. Hopefully the person feels relief after having been able to put their feeling on paper. Can be a great cathartic.
     
  13. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #13
    As poopyhead guessed, it's e. e. cummings.

    You can hear cummings reading this poem (along with several others) here. His reading of "next to of course god america i" starts about two minutes into this clip, after the reading of "a man who had fallen among thieves".
     

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