Homework Help

Any one can help me please give me  example of a poem in which multiple meanings, or...

user profile pic

cocooooo | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:34 PM via web

dislike 0 like

Any one can help me please give me  example of a poem in which multiple meanings, or  polysemy, is used?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 21, 2011 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Perhaps the easiest way to answer your poem would be to lead you in the direction of Metaphoric poetry.  Metaphor poems are poems which use either simple metaphors to compare two typically unlike things or are compounded metaphors where the entire poem exists as a metaphor for something else.

One example of a metaphor poem is "The Garden Hose" by Beatrice Janosco:

In the grey evening

I see a long green serpent

With its tail in the dahlias

 

It lies in loops across the grass

And drinks softly at the faucet.

I can hear it swallow.

Here, Janosco is comparing a garden hose to a snake. Therefore, the poem contains a multiple meaning when looking at the poem with and without the title.

As for poetry which contains polysemy (characterized when a word alone has multiple meanings), this is a little more difficult. Given that poetry interpretation is typically left to the reader, many readers may not agree on the meaning of an entire poem or of the use of a word within the text of a poem.

To give you one example of this, examine the poem "The Waste Land" by T.S.Elliot:

I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

The key spoken of in the excerpt of the poem can hold two very distinctive meanings.

First, the key can represent an actual key which releases one from an actual prison.

Second, the key can represent a metaphorical key which all must find in order to release them from a mental or emotional prison which they exist within.

I hope that this answers your question. Again, it is very hard to pinpoint polysemy in a specific poem because of personal interpretation.

 

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes