"Corn" by: Sidney Lanier

an exerpt:


"That sound anon like beatings of a heart,
Anon like talk 'twixt lips not far apart.
The beech dreams balm, as a dreamer hums a song;
Through that vague wafture, expirations strong
Throb from young hickories breathing deep and long
With stress and urgence bold of prisoned spring
And ecstasy of burgeoning.
Now, since the dew-plashed road of morn is dry,
Forth venture odors of more quality
And heavenlier giving. Like Jove's locks awry,
Long muscadinesTo-day the woods are trembling through and through
With shimmering forms, that flash before my view,
Then melt in green as dawn-stars melt in blue.
The leaves that wave against my cheek caress
Like women's hands; the embracing boughs express
A subtlety of mighty tenderness;
The copse-depths into little noises start,

Rich-wreathe the spacious foreheads of great pines,
And breathe ambrosial passion from their vines.
I pray with mosses, ferns and flowers shy
That hide like gentle nuns from human eye
To lift adoring perfumes to the sky.
I hear faint bridal-sighs of brown and green
Dying to silent hints of kisses keen
As far lights fringe into a pleasant sheen.
I start at fragmentary whispers, blown
From undertalks of leafy souls unknown,
Vague purports sweet, of inarticulate tone.
Dreaming of gods, men, nuns and brides, between
Old companies of oaks that inward lean
To join their radiant amplitudes of green
I slowly move, with ranging looks that pass
Up from the matted miracles of grass
Into yon veined complex of space
Where sky and leafage interlace
So close, the heaven of blue is seen
Inwoven with a heaven of green..."

Review:

My reaction to the poem:


To me the poem offers a variety of emotions. It starts sullen about the remainder of the corn field and then talks about its dark death. However, he then follows up his statements saying that the corn will go to heavan with joy and live peacefully. The feelings put int the poem are painted in an array.

Poetic Devices:


The poetic devices found in this poem include:

  • metaphor
  • assonance
  • first person narroration
  • rhyme

Rhyme Scheme:


A A B B B C C D E D F F F G G G A H H D D D I I I J J J I I I K K L L I I


  • A ends in art sound
  • B ends in ong sound corn-field-schuyler-nebraska-neb168.jpg
  • C ends in ing sound
  • D ends in i sound
  • E ends in ee sound
  • F ends in oo sound
  • G ends in es sound
  • H ends in ines sound
  • I ends in een sound
  • J ends in one sound
  • K ends in as sound
  • L ends in ace sound

Historical Context:


Lanier wrote the poem with King Cotton in mind. It was when cotton was the major crop of Georgia and people turned all of their focus onto that one crop. The corn fields were neglected and all of the corn began to die because no one was tending to it.


Theme:


the theme of "Corn" is life. It shows the current life of the corn, then its neglection, and then finally its death. However, in this poem the corn represents the people of the time. So basically, the poem is showing how people just gave up on themselves and are slowly dying during this time period.