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Atlantis--A Lost Sonnet
Transcript of Atlantis--A Lost Sonnet
Near the beginning of the poem, the speaker's tone is very hesitant, unsure, and soft. The speaker asks how an entire city could just disappear one day. Near the end of the poem, the narrator speaks with realization, coming to the conclusion that Atlantis is most likely just a symbol to describe the feeling of losing something that's gone forever, and never being able to get it back.
Atlantis-A Lost Sonnet
By Eavan Boland
How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder
that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades,
not to mention vehicles and animals—had all
one fine day gone under?
I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then.
Surely a great city must have been missed?
I miss our old city —
white pepper, white pudding, you and I meeting
under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe
what really happened is
this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey that what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of
where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.
Sonnet - A type of poem; usually 6 lines
Colonnade - A row of columns, usually supporting a roof
White Pepper - A condiment made from dried beans and berries instead of the pepper plant
Fanlights - A window over a door or another window, in the shape of a semi-circle
Metaphor - They gave their sorrow a name and drowned it.
Hyperbole - The world was small then.
Imagery - You and I meeting under fanlights and low skies.
Symbolism - White Pepper; White Pudding - purity & hope
Symbolism - Atlantis - A feeling of needing something that is gone forever and never finding it again.
Poem Summary- Part 1
In the first stanza, the narrator begins the poem by asking herself how an entire city could just...disappear. How could an entire city, animals, cars, and buildings, just melt into the ocean--never to be seen again?
In the second stanza, the narrator again, asks how a whole city could suddenly disappear. She reminded herself that way back when, the world seemed "smaller", so surely a huge city disappearing would be a big deal! The narrator then flashes back to her old city when she grew up.
In the third stanza, the speaker thinks back to her hometown, with the amazing food and boardwalks, and having friends to go home to. Then the narrator makes a guess about really happened to Atlantis.
Poem Summary- Part 2
In the forth stanza, the narrator tells herself that it would be impossible for an entire city to be lost. Then she guesses that maybe, Atlantis is just a symbol that people made up to describe the feeling of losing something, and never getting it back.
In the fifth and final stanza, the narrator convinces herself that Atlantis is just a metaphor, used to give emotions a name and a reason-not an actual city.
Atlantis--A Lost Sonnet
By: Eavan Boland
Presentation: Abby Yon
The theme of this poem is to look beneath the surface. The author ended the poem by saying, "They gave their sorrow a name and drowned it. I think Eavan Boland was trying to say that you have to look deeper to find the hidden meaning of things.
Eavan Boland was born in Ireland in 1944. She published her first collection of poems in 1962, called "23 Poems". Boland's work was inspired by her personal experiences as a young wife and mother. Although in the 1960's, most women were not usually poets, Boland was just motivated further to prove herself. She loved to write about myth, love, and history. As you can see, the poem Atlantis is kind of all three!
I chose this poem because...
I chose this poem because I can relate to the author. I used to be completely fascinated with the myth of Atlantis, but I also had my doubts, just like Eavan Boland. I like this poem because it has deep hidden meanings that describe the "heart of the message" for the story of Atlantis. And who knows, maybe the lost city of Atlantis
real... because it could be.