"The Fantasy Echo", by John Ciardi

Jody Gomez

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I thought there are many here who would appreciate the humor in this poem. By the way, I'm reading Ciardi now, so expect more from this wondeful poet.

The Fantasy Echo

Miss Merely asked me about "the fantasy echo"

-was she getting it in her poems. "The What?" I said.

"The fantasy echo," she said. "What Doctor Tull

keeps talking about in Post-Rom. Lit." "What is it?"

-"It's sort of, well, how everything in a poem

chimes back to everything else. In "Bud," for instance-

no, this one-'flair and fade' is supposed to echo

'fair and frayed' in line one. Have I got it?"

I saw Joe Tull at lunch. "I'm getting pings

on your 'fantasy echo'" I said, "what the Hell is it?"

"Fantasy echo?-do you mean fin de siecle?"

When I saw her on Wednesday I told her, yes, she had it.

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That was very amusing. So many poets try to insinuate things that simply are not there and a poem becomes something like a crossword puzzle.

However, I am a strong believer in the "between-the-lines" non-verbal messages of great poetry. These are the things that make them powerful on an emotional level.

For instance:

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Threre is a subconscious connection betweent the "ka ka ka" and "aaw aaw" calls of wild birds with the "k" alliteration in the first verse (clasps crag crooked close) and the end rhymes of the last verse (crawls walls falls), respectively. This is definitely a bird poem.

When I find time to write poetry, I go to a great deal of trouble nagging the words to death if there is no "between-the-lines-whisper."

(Oops... That should have been fantasy echo... echo... echo... echo... echo... )



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That's one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets. One would be hard pressed to find better imagery from a poem, and it is brought to life even more with the movement, and the meter and words used to mimic the action...the weak iamb at the beginning of the last line causes it to quickly fall with the eagle. Demonstrates how the best poems, not only sing, but dance as well.

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Thank you so much. I know of some of your favorite fiction authors, but I would love to know who your favorite poets are if you have a spare moment or two to piss away. ;)

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