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Can you respond critically to this poem, Strangely Fresh? I'd like to focus on the text...

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queened | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2013 at 4:25 AM via web

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Can you respond critically to this poem, Strangely Fresh? I'd like to focus on the text itself; the meaning of the text, the way it has been written (the lack of capitals and punctuation in the poem, as seen below, are correct in how I've been presented it via textbook). I have a hard time figuring out what the story behind this poem is. What is it telling the reader?

 

Strangely Fresh
Poem by Kuroda Saburo

it appears quite unexpectedly
from the depth of oblivion
like a lost object
that comes out
from under fallen leaves
piled up by winter winds -

the strangely fresh memory
of a moment of a day long gone by
why is it so?
what does it mean to me?
it is a simple thing
almost too simple a thing-

a deserted white country road in midsummer
which I saw from the train window traveling alone
the tune of someone's bright whistling I heard
on a station platform after an air raid
the faint scent of perfume
of a woman I passed by in the fog-filled valley of a night

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 14, 2013 at 6:59 AM (Answer #1)

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In this poem, a memory "from the depth of oblivion" surprises the writer as the memory comes to him "like a lost object." Although he is remembering "a day long gone by" and although the memory "comes out from under fallen leaves piled up by winter winds-" as if it has been stored in the very back of his mind, he remembers it as if it was something that happened recently because it is "strangely fresh."  The writer is not sure why he has remembered it now .

The memory is a pleasant one as the tone of this poem is calm and lingering - as supported by the poet's simple, straight-forward style -  as the man recalls what he sees from the train on which he is travelling. The man feels nostalgic although there is no indication why as he reminisces over simple images of the "country road,...bright whistling..." and "the faint scent..." which obviously had a lasting impression on him.

Although it was a "fog-filled valley of a night" the memory appears to have  stirred some other thoughts or events as he questions himself, confused perhaps, as to why he remembers this specific train ride. It could be a "simple passing thought BUT maybe that's "almost too simple " to believe.

 

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