I Stopped Writing the Poem

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I’m still a woman.
I’ll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I’ll get back
to the poem. I’ll get back to being
a woman. But for now
there’s a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it’s done.



I liked this poem because it’s literal meaning is what the poem is really about.  Normally the poem says something, but you need to dig to find out the meaning.  This one I liked because the meaning is right there.  It’s only a matter of realizing what it is instead of digging and decoding the verse.


This poem says that everything is poetry.  She stopped writing the poem to fold clothes, the folding the clothes became poetry.  It became an intricate art of tenderness and womanhood.  Through this folding the shirt became a poem of its own within this poem about folding.  It’s kind of difficult to explain, but this poem makes everything poetry.


The little girl is watching her mother fold.  She watches the process and is learning how to become the woman that her mother is.  Her growth also becomes a poem itself, within the larger poem of the mundane things of life.  These mundane things take on a grandeur scale when presented in this poem. Life itself becomes poetry.  Life itself becomes art.



Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,

Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.

They do not fear the men beneath the tree;

They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.


Aunt Jennifer's fingers fluttering through her wool

Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.

The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.


When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie

Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

The tigers in the panel that she made

Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.


Alright.  It's been a while since I've done this so I'm 

a little rusty.  I'll just dive right in.

I think that this poem deals with domestic violence.  While 

it does not come right out and say it, there is evidence 

throughout the poem.

The first thing that indicated this to me was the presence of 

the tiger.  The tiger is a strong animal, on top of the food 

chain.  Tigers don't take no crap from anyone.  They stand up 

for themselves.  Aunt Jennifer weaves these tigers over and over, 

though it's difficult to pull the ivory needle.  The tigers, 

dancing, proud, and unafraid, are what Aunt Jennifer struggles 

to be.  She fails, so that's what she struggles to produce.

The next thing that made me believe that the Uncle in this poem 

beat her was the massive weight of the Uncle's wedding band.  

The massive weight implies that it's big and overbearing, not a 

light ring that's a constant reminder of love.  It is a burden, 

a constant pressure to always be her best out of fear of how her 

husband will react.  

The last clue dealt again with Aunt Jennifer's hands and her 

wedding ring.  "Her terrified hands will lie" is a use of 

synecdoche.  Her hands are terrified because every part of her 

is terrified of her husband.  "Still ringed with the ordeals she 

was mastered by" deals with the wedding ring.  He used his power 

to master her, the ring was a reminder at how subdued she was 

under his strength.