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Summer Farm by Norman MacCaig

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by

Andreas Riisager

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Summer Farm by Norman MacCaig

"Straws like tame lightnings lie about the grass
And hang zigzag on hedges. Green as glass
The water in the horse-trough shines.
Nine ducks go wobbling by two in straight lines." Stanza 1 "A hen stares at nothing with one eye,
Then picks it up. Out of an empty sky
A swallow falls and, flickering through
The barn, dives up again into the dizzy blue." Stanza 2 "I lie, not thinking, in the cool, soft grass,
Afraid of where a thought might take me - as
This grasshopper with a plated face
Unfolds his legs and finds himself in space." Stanza 4 "Self under self, a pile of selves i stand
Threaded on time, and with metaphysic hand
Lift the farm like a lid and see
Farm within farm, and in the centre, me." Conclusion Stanza 3 He is "afraid" of where his thoughts may take him.
Grasshopper is significant in this stanza, acts as a metaphor for his thoughts. First line symbolizes how people emptily stare
"then picks it up" refers to the writer picking up a sudden thought or inspirational idea Examines portrayal of his perception of himself in the past and future
Gives a sense of the overall metaphysical idea used throughout the poem
His thoughts lead him to the idea that his past and future are entwined. This exploration is both descriptive and shows his thought process and how he considers the vast scale of the world. By Norman MacCaig Summer Farm Stanza 1: “Tame Lightnings” is a contradiction that describes the straws. “Green as glass” describes the speakers vision as clouded and cannot easily picture images. “Nine Ducks… in two straight lines” is an unbalanced image, where nine can’t be divided by two because one line will always be 5 and another 4. Stanza 2: “stares at nothing” shows that the speaker is distracted or day -dreaming (dosed off) “Then picks it up” shows an action of grasping or understanding nothing; it contributes to the overall tone of confusion. “Empty sky” out of no where. “A swallow falls…into the dizzy blue (lines 7-8)” represents a loss of hope but then flickers (a quick movement) through the barn and then rises up into a now filled and colourful sky. “I lie, not thinking, in the cool, soft grass”: forgetting/ignoring the perplex conceptions of his subconscious and the confusion he faces. “Grasshopper with plated face” is a representation of his thoughts shielded of identity or emotion. “Unfolds his legs and finds himself in space” is a personification of the grasshopper, the thoughts jumps and he finds himself trailing of in an empty, quiet solitude. Connects back to line 8. “Self under self” claustrophobic image, trapped within you. Contributes to the overall theme of self-reflexivity and putting yourself in an out of body perspective looking back on you. “Threaded on time” is unbreakable, strong and hard to get out of, stuck in time. “Farm within farm, and in the centre, me”, in the centre of his past and future worlds of thought he finds himself in a cloud a confusion. IMAGERY Similes in the first stanza
“Straws like tame lightnings”-Line 1“Green as glass”-Line 2‘Lift the farm like a lid’-line 15 Similes is used in the first stanza.
“like tame lightnings lie”-Line 1“Self under self”-Line 13 Repetition in the last stanza.
“Farm within farm”- Last line. Illustrates his metaphysical idea. Metaphor in the 2nd stanza
“hen”-Stanza 2“Swallow”-Stanza 2, line 7 Consonance
‘And hang zigzag on hedges. Green as glass.’-Stanza 1, line 2Rapid succession‘This grasshopper with plated face’-Stanza 3, line 3‘Threaded on time, and with metaphysic hand’-Stanza 4, line 2 Figurative languages 1. This Poem is very confusing when the reader first reads it. 2. There are calm and hectic moments, intermingled with paradoxes. “Self under self, a pile of selves. 3. There are many nonsensical moments “A hen stares at nothing with one eye, then picks it up.” 4. The Speaker also conveys a confused feeling. “Not thinking” 5. There is a distinct sense of imbalance, the speaker creates many strange images that seem to make Very little sense, hinting at a underlying meaning, just beyond reach. Feelings Metaphysics!?
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