(skip down to the next writeup to read the poem)

My English class had a bit of a dispute over this poem. There are two general trains of thought that most readers of this poem seem to fall into:

  1. The author is one of those neat, orderly people who needs everything to be in its right place. She is struggling against a force that she cannot handle and hubristically trying to achieve dominince over chaos. I hate this poem.
  2. The author is using the power of poetry to conquer a seemingly invincible force. She simply exposes chaos for the fraud that it is: something that we dismiss as incomprehensible merely because we are currently unable to understand it. "(Chaos) is nothing more nor less/Than something simple not yet understood." I love this poem.
I solidly belonged to camp #2, while my teacher was a defender of camp #1. When looking back and reading the poem, I can see his point in several places. What's so great about creating more order, anyway? What about the last line, "I will only make him good"? Is this statement a goal that the poet values or disvalues?

But my admiration of this poem comes mainly from the speaker's voice. Her faith is in the power of poetry (truly "the pen is mightier..."). She writes like a knight setting off to fight a dragon, wielding the power of poetry like a sword. What the speaker accomplishes in this poem should be the goal of all arts (and sciences): to illuminate the unknown, to provide hope, and to use power against evil in order to create good.