What can be said about the denotative level versus the connotative level of the poem "Summer"?1 It is so white. It divides under the snow. It wakes alone, a sensational pleasure. 2...

What can be said about the denotative level versus the connotative level of the poem "Summer"?

1

It is so white.

It divides under the snow.

It wakes alone, a sensational pleasure.

2

Supposing this page is a paddock

under snow, or rather supposing

this page is snow

blanketing the paddock

then these lines

must be tracks in the whiteness

left by animals late at night.

Or fences, or trees

just risking the surface.

3

Possibly the bodies of lovers are also present,

though almost invisible to the naked eye.

4

See?

And occasionally, one supposes,

some marriage may be celebrated.

5

Or, this word may be a boulder,

or this, or this

or this, which is a stone,

on which the poet sits, somewhat alone,

saying, ‘Hell, another masterpiece.’

Expert Answers
lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The denotative level of this poem would be the literal blank whiteness of the page until a word is written. Then the word becomes a boulder or stone on which the poet "sits," declaring his poem as yet "another masterpiece."  The denotative level is that the poet uses a blank white page to write expressions which take on a connotative level. Paddocked expressions which are contained on a single white page become connotative expressions containing the corralled thoughts of the poet. The literal occasions of marriage are celebrated on the paddocked page of snow after the poet has written about them.  The poet can see the "bodies of lovers" present although these images are "almost invisible to the naked eye." On a denotative level, a true poet can see what most people cannot see. On a connotative level, the blank white page of snow becomes filled with "tracks" of written expression, thus the poet declares it as yet another masterpiece. One might connote the written masterpiece as an egotistical work of the lone poet who shouts accolades to himself.