What does this poem, Free Flight, mean and how would you punctuate it and why? Free Flight Like the phoenix from the ashes she is flying again emerging from inside herself a metamorphosis of...

What does this poem, Free Flight, mean and how would you punctuate it and why?

Free Flight

Like the phoenix from the ashes she is flying again emerging from inside herself a

metamorphosis of strength from agony sun reflecting gold on gold wings blinding

eyes with brightness and beauty flying above all

Asked on by wonderer

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

Posted on

As far as capitalization goes, whilst the rule would traditionally be to capitalize the first word of each line, it is not necessarily adhered to by many poets. As this poem is informal, it may suit the poem to only capitalize the first word of any sentences that may be created by full stops, should you choose  to use full stops. This would suit the tradition of normal prose writing and poets use this style depending on the effect they wish to create.   

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

Posted on

In considering a style in poetry, imagery, metric structure and word association are important aspects to contemplate depending on the intention and message of the poem. In early days, poems were a way to pass on stories due to oral traditions. Using rhyme or structure ensured that the story was easily remembered and retained its authenticity. Often there would even be a musical element to the oral repeating of stories. The style used in poetry is often unique to the person writing. Established poets often have a preferred style, emulating styles made popular by others such as Shakespeare, sometimes using strict structures and other times writing in free verse.

Free verse allows the poet to create his or her own emphasis by breaking lines at seemingly inappropriate times, creating or changing emphasis. In this poem, for example, you could consider a line break before the"...flying again.." This may seem incorrect but introduces the word "flying" as a significant consideration in this poem. It also changes the emphasis on the preceding words "...she is." Anyone who becomes stronger after a trauma and "rises like the phoenix" needs the word "is" emphasized. In keeping with the theme of recreating something or recovering from something, the next break could be after "inside" because this will add emphasis to "herself" and a semi-colon would also add to this; similarly, depending on emphasis, the semi-colon could follow "herself" instead. The use of commas in poetry is not always readily understood so it would be acceptable to omit them, if preferred, allowing the line breaks to create the pause. 

Punctuation and line spacing of this poem could be as follows:

Like the phoenix from the ashes she is

flying again, emerging from inside;

herself a metamorphosis of strength from agony

sun reflecting gold on gold wings

blinding eyes with brightness and beauty

flying above all.

The phoenix is the mythical creature which rises from the ashes of its predecessor. It is effectively cleansed by fire, unstoppable and powerful. This poem is, therefore, a tribute to a woman who has been able to overcome something. Her transformation has been powerful as she has undergone a "metamorphosis" and so dramatic as to cause "blinding eyes with brightness and beauty."  Whatever happened to her must have been "agony"  but now the reader is left with the image of the sun's reflection. The simile ("Like the phoenix" ) is extended as this woman is "flying" like a bird, obviously soaring.  

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wonderer | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

Thanks!  Forgot to ask about caps? Would you put a capital letter at the beginning of each line, or not.  What are the rules on caps in poetry?

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Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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Like the Phoenix from the ashes

She is flying again emerging

from inside herself a metamorphosis of strength

from agony sun reflecting gold on gold wings

blinding eyes with brightness

and Beauty flying above all

You can change the meaning of the poem by capitalizing specific words. The words Phoenix, She, and Beauty are now linked together and have a different connotation. Instead of beauty being an abstract concept, now it is personified as the woman herself. The phoenix is also given a more personal identity now that its capitalized.

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