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Spring in the Classroom

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on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of Spring in the Classroom

Spring in the Classroom
Sophia Yoo

Mary Oliver
-Born in 1935
-Attended both Ohio
State University and
Vassar College, but
didn't get a degree
-known for writing
poetry about
Elbows on dry books, we dreamed
Past Miss Willow Bangs, and lessons, and windows,
To catch all day glimpses and guesses of the greening woodlot,
Its secrets and increases,
Its hidden nests and kind.
And what warmed in us was no book-learning,
But the old mud blood murmuring,
Loosening like petals from bone sleep.
So spring surrounded the classroom, and we suffered to be kept indoors,
Droned through lessons, carved when we could with jackknives
Our pulsing initials into the desks, and grew
Angry to be held so, without pity and beyond reason,
By Miss Willow Bangs, her eyes two stones behind glass,
Her legs thick, her heart
In love with pencils and arithmetic.
Structure & Rhyme
2 stanzas
26 lines ( 15 in first, 11 in second)
no rhyme scheme
stream of consciousness
free verse
Stanza 1
"Miss Willow Bangs"
- it has two juxtaposing words: soft, flowing “willow” and the harsh “bang”.
-It is similar to the overall poem’s comparison between nature and classroom, but it also suggests the teacher’s oppression of nature.

“To catch all day glimpses and guesses of the greening woodlot” (line 3)
-The emphasis is on the changed description of the spring. The spring and nature is much more lyrical, poetic, and flowing.

So it went — one gorgeous day lost after another
While we sat like captives and breathed the chalky air
And the leaves thickened and birds called
From the edge of the world — till it grew easy to hate,
To plot mutiny, even murder. Oh, we had her in chains,
We had her hanged and cold, in our longing to be gone!
And then one day, Miss Willow Bangs, we saw you
As we ran wild in our three o’clock escape
Past the abandoned swings; you were leaning
All furry and blooming against the old brick wall
In the Art Teacher’s arms.
“her eyes two stones behind glass, her legs thick” (line 13-14).
-Eyes are the most emotional and personal feature, but her eyes are described to be stones. She has no feelings or vision for care and nature, because her heart is stolen by the square and flat arithmetic.

Stanza 2
"“captives… chalky… hate… mutiny… murder… escape… abandoned” (line 16-23). "
-The words have a much more piercing sounds, and they indicate the boiling anxiousness of the students due to the classroom’s obstructions. The first stanza was more descriptive and observant, but the second stanza is much more emotional and violent.

“Oh, we had her in chains,/ We had her hanged and cold, in our longing to be gone!” (line 19-20)
-The repetitive commas connecting short phrases and the exclamation of “oh” indicate fast-breath and excitement.

"you were leaning
All furry and blooming against the old brick wall"
-people or the obstructions that appear evil are also just as human. They can appreciate and blossom in the sweetness of spring just like everyone else.
Full transcript