In the poem "Cherrylog Road" poem by Charles Dickey, identify the lines with the use of the 5 types of imagery:  visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and feeling (tactile).

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Cherrylog Road" by James Dickey is both a delightful and poignant poem that spins memories from the backseats of old vehicles in a junkyard where dreams are acted out. But there is a reality to it as well, as the passion of youth are subjected to age and its deterioration.

Much of the delight and emotive quality of this poem about youthful fancies emerge from colorful imagery. Here are some examples of the imagery (stanzas are numbered in parentheses):

  • Visual Imagery - words that the reader can "see"

"Smothered in kudzu"(1); "red leather"; "blue"; "rust" (2) "building blocks"; "weedy heart of the junkyard" (3); "sun"; "abandoned chassis"; "wild stock-car race"(4); "toad" "kingsnake" "Pierce-Arrow"; "platters of blindness"(6) "nickel hubcaps"; glass panel"; (7) "back-seat phone"(8) Cracked mirrors and gear-knobs:(10) "red-haired father"; pale skin"; (12) "wrench in her hand" (13) "dust";"blacksnake";(14) "beetles"; "glued together"; "gray"(16) "junkyard" (17) 

  • Auditory Imagery - words that create the impression of hearing

"stock-car race"; (4) "crickets"(5) "scrape"; tapping like code; (9) "talking over the interphone"; "Praying" (11) "squalling barn"; (12) "blast"; (13) "car's door inexplicably/Close" (14) "breathless batting" (16)

  • Tactile Imagery - words that create the impression of feeling something

"Smothered in kudzu"(1) "Crept into an Essex"(2) "same body heat"(3)tender upholstery"(7) "trembling" (11) "jagged windshields" (13) held her and held her (15) "Wringing the handlebar...." (18)

  • Olfactory Imagery - words that create the impression of smelling

"Smothered in kudzu"(1)[kudzu is a rapidly growing vine with a purplish flower] Green vine plant smell "radiator cap" rusty, anti-freeze smell (5)

  • Gustatory Imagery - words that create the impression of being able to taste

"Drunk on the wind in my mouth" (18)

One of the stanzas that is replete with imagery is Stanza 6 in which the speaker conjures a fantasy about a Pierce-Arrow, in which a grandmother is chauffeured to an orphanage where she will distribute toys to the children. Pierce-Arrow is a luxury car from the early twentieth century that was a status symbol with its distinctive arrow welding cherub that emitted "platters of blindness forth" as the hood ornament reflects the sun. This metaphor of the sun and the cherub suggest the avatars of love.

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