Chose any one of Webb’s poems that we explored in class and say what it is that you find most attractive in it. This is not a lit. crit. essay, but your own personal response to the power of poetry.
Francis Webb was a famous poet born in 1925. My favourite poem of his is titled Five Days Old and was dedicated to Christopher John.
For this blog post, I am simply going to pull out certain quotes from the poem and interpret their meaning.
“You are given into my hands out of the quietest, loneliest lands” This line paints the picture of a mother giving birth and the persona depicting his emotions felt after the first physical contact. The mention of the quiet and loneliest lands has two meaning for me: firstly, the newborn was hope personified. The land was lonely until this baby breathed its first. And secondly, time stood still throughout this moment of birth to highlight the importance and significance of this child.
“The tiny, not the immense” something so great has been taught and caught through a creation so tiny. This line continues in to say, “will teach our groping eyes” which emphasizes the loss and lack that man has, that has been so confidently replaced by the wisdom that this baby has brought.
“Humbly and utterly lost in the mystery of creation” ‘creation’, meaning the baby and the earth both guiding the persona to reach his deepest thoughts. This also can link to his acceptance and realization of his experience through the mental ward.
“Too pure for my tongue to praise, that sober, exquisite yawn” this line could capsulate the entire essence of the poem as it refers to the innocence of the baby. The term ‘sober’, meaning untouched, unaffected and uninfluenced by the world – purely fresh, almost a blank canvas with a whole lifetime ahead of good choices and purity.
“Tell me what I hold – Myrrh? Frankincense? Gold?” This line was particularly difficult for me to understand, after much thought I have concluded that this line radiates the revelation that this newborn baby holds more than materialistic objects. This baby is priceless.
“Out here by the manger. In the sleeping, weeping weather we shall all kneel down together” sense of the end of suffering and acceptance taking over.
This poem was said to be his best poem. I agree with this statement as I enjoyed the simplicity in wisdom discovered through creation. His journey of acceptance of his experience in the mental ward is represented in the moment he held this baby. I particularly admired how the quick moment of the first physical touch could not be expressed in the same length of the time that it happened, but rather, in poetry form.
sleeping 5 days old baby
Francis Webb Commemorative Reading of his Poetry- this Saturday 12 September, 2015.
I have decided to contrast the two photos of Francis Webb and a five-day-old baby to portray the differences in their lifetime. Webb, looks weighed down by the world – carrying heaviness and burdens. The baby, on the other hand, looks the complete opposite – fresh and ready to start a brand new chapter. Physicalising Webb’s poem with these two photos enhances my understanding of the journey he went through. His journey seemed so detrimental that I believe the flawed minds of humans can only understand a fraction of it.