Would you explain the poem of "Song of Powers" by David Mason stanza by stanza?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem 'The Song Of The Powers' by David Mason is also about loneliness. Each 'powerful entity' steps forward alone to boast of it's attributes. The poem starts 'Mine, said the stone' as if we the readers have come upon a conversation that is already in flow - and the argument has already been initiated. The stone appears to be claiming a particular victory over which they are all arguing, rather than power universally ('mine is the hour.')It is as if the stone sees itself as 'owning ' Time.

The paper on the other hand 'owns' Language and all the powers of persuasion and propaganda that go with that. ('mine are the words') Each power goes on in the same vein, boasting of their particular remits. The poem ends with a reminder about the one big disadvantage of absolute power - it corrupts. To have the final say about world events, to look around and see nowhere to pass the buck on - has been said to be the loneliest place in the world. They should be working together as a team to minimize this and capitalize on their strengths. Countries can support each other to work towards peace, to resolve war and conflict.

kc4u | Student

Mason's poem divided into four parts is principally about the ironies of power. It teaches a very simple moral lesson--however powerful may one be, the real power is a power of unity. All the powerful entities would have to remain united to exercise their power or make something out of it. On the other hand, if they use their power against each other, they will only end up crushing each other, neutralizing their powers and all of them would have die all alone.

The stone, the first declares his power by saying that he is capable of crushing the scissors. He controls time over others. He is more powerful than the vanity of human wishes.

The paper is the second to announce its power of words which can crush a stone with anything that words are able to create. This is the subjective power as opposed to that of the objective, the stone. The stone may shape time but the paper shapes the mind.

The knife is the third announcer. His is a power of violence cutting across a paper, wounding it with all its energy, like tattering the vanity of human desires.

The final stanza tells the story of their mutual neutralization and thus comes the instruction at the end not to wage a war among them. One has to renounce the excesses of desire and destination, cutting them down not to die all alone.