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Word Count: 755
The title of this specific piece of poetry is A Small Elegy Now this title does not really give a reader much to go on The only thing one would know about this poem is that it is a small one and that it may be about a deceased person or someone who new someone who dies I say this because elegy is derived from the Latin elegia which means A poem or song composed especially as a lament for a deceased person From the beginning A Small Elegy dramatically establishes that the speaker a stand-in for the poet is by himself talking to himself He was with other people but now he is completely alone--his friends gone his beloved sleeping elsewhere unconscious far away The speaker is the sole operating consciousness mourning in a world where everyone else is asleep Against the pitch-black darkness he starts saying things to himself using white words which I take to mean words that have a kind of unselfconscious purity about them He daydreams about his mother an autumnal recollection and that in turn moves him back toward his childhood home where his mother seems still to preside--diminished now over an outmoded world She is smaller more vulnerable someone to be protected Matku he says tenderly in Czech Mon maminku my little mommy which the translator has rendered as my diminutive mom He imagines that after all these years shes still sitting back there quietly uncomplaining thinking about his father who died so long ago It is the next moment in the poem when the tense radically changes that I find especially compelling And then she is skinning fruit for me he says I am in the room Sitting right next to her He doesnt say And then she was skinning fruit for me but instead finds himself catapulted into the past as a living present He has been wrenched out of one time into another The
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