(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:
- 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.
- 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 value
s 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.