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Michael Ryland
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Michael Ryland's last comments on poems and poets

  • POEM: O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (12/29/2016 4:27:00 PM)

    Mourning the death of Abraham Lincoln. Whitman here laments that his Captain is dead just as the ship has arrived in port. Lincoln was assassinated just days after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. Whitman served as a volunteer nurse during the war. Seeing the effects of battle, he was deeply affected. Whitman, through his epitaph of the fallen President, also paints the broader picture that, although the victory has been achieved, the dead remain dead.

  • POEM: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (9/15/2016 11:21:00 PM)

    Frost was the master of the light-hearted verse with the deep meaning. Here we have a lone rider, a quiet wood, and a somewhat anxious horse. If that were the whole of it, the reader might pull a small smile across his or her lips and turn the page. But Frost won't let us off that easy. The final line, writ once, is the source of the small smile. Writ twice, it is a haunting refrain. Why twice? , our reader asks. Certainly, it adds nothing to the meter of the verse. There is no rhyme scheme to conclude. So, why twice? Much like the neglected road of another work, Frost, I feel, is asking us to not ignore the totality of our lives. Stop, look down each road, enjoy the beauty of a winter wood for a few minutes before carrying on with the hurried pace of modern life. The woods are beautiful, and now I can move on.

  • POEM: The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke (12/28/2015 1:31:00 AM)

    I first encountered this poem while watching Awakenings. Robert DeNiro's character sends Robin Williams to the library to find this and it is used to explain the affliction DeNiro and the other patients are suffering. So, whenever I read these lines, my interpretation is twofold. It is brilliant imagery. One sees the great cat caged and stressed, awaiting a moment for the feeling of freedom to flow over him. It holds a quiet power.

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