Today I went into work - I'm currently on the Pulmonology service at the children's hospital - and my only patient had been transferred to the PICU where intensivists will take care of them. For me, that meant a day off! While hanging around the resident work station awhile to make sure nothing else was due to come up, I thought more about my post yesterday, about the "language charged with meaning," which stated another way could be stated "poetry is composed of layers of meaning." Layers of meaning to me is a bit clearer.
I was revisiting poems I love. One, Wallace Stevens' The Snowman, to me contains many possible meanings, and toward the end it's filled with emotional ambiguity that really excites, in me, the intellect (probably because the last section has less of the vivid imagery is a bit more abstract). Another poem, very pleasing to read, very impressive to analyze (as Frost points out at readings, "That's a single-sentence sonnet."), is Robert Frost's The Silken Tent. (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-silken-tent/) The strangeness of the metaphor aside, and the beauty of the images and metaphors within the metaphor (ropes for love and thoughts that create a connectedness), what really gets me about this poem is the ending, or as I like to think of it, the poem's punchline. Is there anything more unexpected, more emotionally ambiguous and full of possible interpretations than that idea of bondage?! We're presented with this silken tent metaphor, representing the sturdy soul of this woman, her connection to the earth via love and thought (the ropes) - the woman becomes a sort of symbol of the ideal: virtuous, spiritual - and her life is a form of "bondage" that she's made aware of in the "capriciousness of summer air." So many questions arise: What is the summer air? Is it the ideal we strive for that comes with bondage, or do lesser beings (without such sturdy souls and connectedness with the world) also experience a sort of bondage, and to a comparable or differing degree? He doesn't state it directly, but after letting the line settle for awhile in my mind, it almost seems to say the virtuous life is a form of bondage, and the capriciousness of summer air could be that wild streak we all feel inside at certain times, something the virtuous female character would likely not allow herself to satisfy. But that is just my interpretation of course, and the poem does not immediately release that meaning, but rather the poem had to sit down inside me awhile before it began whispering its possibilities.