What is the irony in the last stanza of this poem and what does it suggest about poetry and poets?

What if

your english teacher

says its time to

cast away the rules

to follow your heart

to look into your soul?

does the nerdy kid ask if theres a test?

and what if

its a sunny day

does the class

gleefully cheer

we're going outside

and what if

its poetry

on the menu for the next few weeks

and the lucky students

get the opportunity to examine and write poems?

does the nerdy kids shudder uncontrollably?

and do the cheers subside

quicker than you can say

please shoot me

just shoot me now and put me out of my misery

Expert Answers

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It seems to me the irony in the last stanza of the poem stems from this line: "to look into your soul."  The English teacher is finally allowing students the freedom to explore and examine and reflect (much to the nerdy student's dismay, as he's the one who only loves true and false, right and wrong).  The second stanza sets the reader up for great things.  It's a sunny day, students are gleefully cheering, they get to have class outside--and the studies will revolve around poetry. Everything sounds like it will be a glorious time of reading and writing poetry, of introspection and discovery.  Only the nerdy student shudders at the thought, perhaps understanding that what he will soon discover is not going to be pleasant.  That's why the last stanza is ironic--the much hoped for break from facts and data and the opportunity for introspection (self-examination) has led to self-discovery, and what they find isn't pretty.  In fact,

the cheers subside

quicker than you can say

please shoot me

just shoot me now and put me out of my misery.

The joy is gone in the face of discovering what lives inside our hearts and souls.  This is, of course, a one-sided view of the power of poetry, for it also has the power to inspire and create passion where there was none.  In this poem, though, poetry is used as a mirror into what we'd prefer not to see in our own souls. 

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what does the first stanza reveal about the poem's intended audience? what does the third stanza reveal about the students? use examples What if your english teacher says its time to cast away the rules to follow your heart to look into your soul?   does the nerdy kid ask if theres a test?   and what if its a sunny day does the class gleefully cheer we're going outside   and what if its poetry on the menu for the next few weeks and the lucky students get the opportunity to examine and write poems?   does the nerdy kids shudder uncontrollably?   and do the cheers subside quicker than you can say please shoot me just shoot me now and put me out of my misery  

The first stanza of the poem you quote seems to indicate that the audience is a student or students.  The use of the second person "your" is unusual in imaginative literature, and indicates that the speaker is addressing a single student, or a group of students, since "your" can also be plural.  The opening stanza also may indicate that the student or students have only a simplistic understanding of poetry, aware of the "rules" and such of poetry, but no more. 

In the third stanza, the "gleefully cheer" suggests younger students.  Even if, for instance, high school students like going outside for class, they wouldn't be expected to gleefully cheer.  Of course, in addition to indicating the young age of the students, the stanza may indicate that the students are more interested in where the class takes place than in what the class is about.  This may be a negative reflection on the students.   

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