Robert Graves — And if no more than only you and I. Counting the slow heart beats,. The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,. Yet the huge storm will burst upon their heads one day. She whispers where shall we be,. When death strikes home, O where then shall we be.
As we are, here, together, now and here,. The volta, or "turn," at the beginning of the line colors the tone of his question, apparently confirming his suspicion that their love has limitations and exists in isolation, rather than his asking something for which he seeks an answer. Besides isolation, his statement also suggests loneliness and negativity.
Reflection dominates as opposed to action or involvement between the pair, which appears as negative: "bleeding to death" tells us of a slow demise, one of entropy. Our two protagonists allow life, and with it love, to escape from them in slow, measured time, as indicated by the slow beats of their hearts. The ambiguity of the scene, wherein we know nothing of the place, circumstances, or identities of the couple, seems secondary to other considerations, most notably the voltas encountered in the poem and the bleak direction they lead the reader: "And if no more" continues an ambiguous thought, but it leads nowhere.
Other phrases are just as telling in indicating the overall negative feel of the poem. So too, the opening line of the twice-repeated stanza—"Counting the beats"—does not supply a subject as to who does the counting or why it becomes necessary. We must suspect that the implied subject of the line points to the couple themselves, as they count the beats of their wakeful hearts in a quiet, still time that does not give rest or bring them closer together. The two have few words to exchange with one another and, because they apparently do not wish to disturb each other further, each whispers.
Moreover, their love seems to flow in the wrong direction as their blood does not stimulate, "course" through them with passion, but bleeds out like slow suicide, like self-inflicted wounds. So it is that the simple events and intimate setting of the man and woman, those that often situate couples in love poems, here suggest love as a negative: do they force one another into despair? Once again, the simplicity of the language indicates that feel or impression.
To her question of where they shall be "When death strikes home," he responds "Not there but here. His rejoinder of a negative and contradiction—"Not there but here"—not only summarizes their predicament, it limits the range of how much we as readers should care. After all, no specifics are available: where would "there" be and why should we care? We remain all too familiar with the "here" of the lovers, a depressing place of limitation, absent passion, and the entropy of love—wasted energy that affords no use.
Indeed, the narrator underscores this fatalism, who, as an omniscient observer possesses more knowledge of the future than do they. How this information may be possible does not interest us as readers, because we focus on the simplicity—the language, the setting, the ambiguous but unfettered relationship—and thus take for granted that any future for the pair must be as uncomplicated in its inevitability as are the events and conversation that precede it.
Students need to concentrate on the central theme, the climax and the turning points of the chosen text. Explicating is about slowly revealing the meaning of some passage, verse, poem or text. The first step is to choose that passage from one of the choices given by your college or university professor. The next step is to identify key scenes, a statement of theme, a crucial conservation as well as opening and closing sections of the chosen piece of literature.
The other step is to interpret the passage in a sequential step-by-step, line-by-line manner. It is necessary not only to notice the significance of the details but also to show how they connect to larger elements of the overall story, poem or verse. Thus, a preliminary analysis of the theme, the characters, motives, or symbols is necessary.
The best way to start explication essay or paper is to quote the major passage and identify the page and paragraph in parenthesis. Once the writing started, students can proceed with the line-by-line explication. One can also use another approach to explicating text and start with the general assessment of the plot of the story, paying much attention to background and exposition.
Things like the climax, denouement and resolution are to follow.
An essential part of the explication process is analyzing and explaining how a specific text is constructed. Without a paragraph that includes close analysis and examination of the story's construction, a successful explication essay is difficult to write.
A successful explication essay contains a paragraph that outlines and clarifies sections of the focus piece that are difficult to digest. The examination and clarification of a text's construction and ambiguity offers your reader a developed understanding of the work as a whole, and once this has been achieved, your interpretations can be submitted. Several paragraphs in an explication essay should make assertions related to your thesis and provide supporting examples from the text.
After your interpretation paragraphs have been written, the conclusion paragraph should re-state your thesis and wrap up all of the ideas and points presented in your essay. Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College.
His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. Does the poem have an identifiable speaker or addressee? Is the poem attributed to a specific speaker, or is this unclear or ambiguous? Is the speaker clearly addressing a specific second person audience, or a general one, or does this not come up?
Is there a specific dramatic motivation driving the speaker to speak? What seems to be the larger theme, or point, of the poem? This is the first question to try to address. Does the poem seem to be an attempt to understand something? To appreciate something? To express a feeling? To work through a complex idea? To convey an image? Some combination of motivations? In fact, this sense of mystery can encourage further thought when trying to explicate a poem.
Keep thinking carefully about the intricacies of the language and you may be able to convey some of this sense in your explication. Some of the details we should consider include the following:. Some of the most common patterns include the following:. Meter from the Greek metron, meaning measure refers principally to the recurrence of regular beats in a poetic line.
In this way, meter pertains to the structure of the poem as it is written. The most common form of meter in English verse since the 14th century is accentual-syllabic meter, in which the basic unit is the foot. The following are the four most common metrical feet in English poetry:. Any number above six hexameter is heard as a combination of smaller parts; for example, what we might call heptameter seven feet in a line is indistinguishable aurally from successive lines of tetrameter and trimeter To scan a line is to determine its metrical pattern.
Perhaps the best way to begin scanning a line is to mark the natural stresses on the polysyllabic words. Rhythm refers particularly to the way a line is voiced, i. Often, when a reader reads a line of verse, choices of stress and unstress may need to be made. If we determine the regular pattern of beats the meter of this line, we will most likely identify the line as iambic pentameter. If we read the line this way, the statement takes on a musing, somewhat disinterested tone.
However, because the first five words are monosyllabic, we may choose to read the line differently. In fact, we may be tempted, especially when reading aloud, to stress the first two syllables equally, making the opening an emphatic, directive statement. Note that monosyllabic words allow the meaning of the line to vary according to which words we choose to stress when reading i.
In this way, the poet forges a tension between meter and rhythm: does the word remain contained by the structure, or do we choose to stretch the word out of the normal foot, thereby disobeying the structure in which it was made? Such tension adds meaning to the poem by using meter and rhythm to dramatize certain conflicts. In this example, Milton forges such a tension to present immediately the essential conflicts that lead to the fall of Adam and Eve.
The explication should follow the same format as the preparation: begin with the large issues and basic design of the poem and work through each line to the more specific details and patterns. The first paragraph should present the large issues; it should inform the reader which conflicts are dramatized and should describe the dramatic situation of the speaker.