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Transcript of "Laughing Heart"
By: CHARLES BUKOWSKI
The Laughing Heart” speaks to the dark side of all of us. The part that wrestles with life’s meaning, the struggles with sadness, depression or even anger. The message in this poem is telling you to be the optimistic and to try to find the good in every situation, seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty, to try and find the light in all darkness. the more achieve this and learn to beat death in life , “the more light there will be."
While we read and analyzed the poem "Laughing Heart" you can get a better understanding of it if you think of a time where you thought you were lost to the darkness but someone showed you the path to the light.
Laughing Heart Analysis
• The Laughing Heart is still a powerful example of the life effect of acknowledging mortality
• In it, Bukowski urges the reader to embrace life fully, and with it embrace death because everyone and thing has to die.
• These are the first lines “your life is your life/don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission,” lines 6 and 7, it may not be much light/but it beats the darkness,” lines 12 and 13, “you can’t beat death but/you can beat death in life sometimes” and the final 3 lines, “you are marvelous/the gods wait to delight/in you.” In many ways, the entire poem could be summarized in those nine lines, which explain , the necessity of living life to its fullest in spite of the inevitability of death, and the uplifting ending.
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
• The very first line of the poem addresses the reader directly with a second-person possessive pronoun, as he announces, “your life is your life.”
• immediately causes the reader to question exactly what meaning is being asked
• He follows this with: “don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.” After grasping a hold on one’s life in the first line. The use of violent imagery of the word “dank” creates a feeling of protectiveness.
• We are encouraged to take hold of our life, then threatened by a possible attack on it.
How is "laughing heart" a didactic poem? To figure that out we first need to understand what a didactic poem is.
Didactic poetry is inclined to teach or lecture others. Primarily known for its instructional content.
The "laughing heart" is a didactic poem because it is a lesson due to the author telling you that you need to live your life to the fullest with no regrets and don't let your life be corrupted by darkness. In this poem it is all one stanza so its seems like one thought, one idea. Another point is that none of the beginning lines start with a capital, this could mean that the author portrays that he has no start to his thoughts and he's simply trying to teach.
Tone: The tone of this piece is a sense of hope. The author lets the readers know that despite the isolation(darkness), there is a "light" out there that they can turn to for comfort.
Rhythm: Lines 11 and 12 show rhythm when the author writes "know them" "take them."
Bukowski again reminds us of the certainty of death, but suggests that the only way to escape this morbid prediction is to live life as well as you can. The (often grating) phrase du jour, “YOLO: You Only Live Once”, could well be flipped to “You Only Die Once – you live everyday” in agreement with this poem.
The poem’s ending, announces “you are marvelous/the gods wait to delight/in you.” This is the only text that has to do with religion or spirituality in the poem, as the rest of the text refrains from discussing theory or faith. However, using the plural form of “gods” and having it lower-case creates a universal understanding for all readers for their concept of (god), although the writer lived in America which was a mostly Christian nation at the time. Having "gods" with a lower-case makes it inclusive to people of different faiths.
By: Ryan Stafford & Rae Taylor
Repetition: The lines "your life is your life" and "be on the watch" are repeated in the poem giving them an importance in the lesson.