English

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota?
What is the significance of this poem? What does the author mean by the last line?
I don't understand what this poem is about and any help would be greatly appreciated!
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

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asked by Joe
  1. I interpret this poem on its surface -- as descriptive of a bucolic scene. However, as these sites point out, that's only one way to interpret this poem. Read them, especially the first site.

    (Broken Link Removed)

    http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/j_wright/hammock.htm

  2. Here are more sites with interpretations that you might like to study:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Lying+in+a+H+ammock+at+William+Duffy%27s+Farm+in+Pine+Island%2C+Minnesota&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    The wonder of poetry is that there can be so many interpretations, depending upon the reader's experiences.

    Have you ever spent time lying in a hammock? One interpretation is that the poet wasted his life by not doing something more productive. But, I choose to interpret it that he wasted his life by not doing MORE of that.

    Just look at the colors, sounds you can imagine. The beauty of a butterfly at rest, the sound of a hawk floating, but always looking for prey.

    The title seems very long for this poem, but since I've been where he was (although not on that farm), I can still see the countryside.

    You need to FEEL a poem and that is easier if you actually read it out loud, imagining each line. A poem has to tell an entire story but in very few lines, and that is much more difficult to do than prose!

    Sra

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