The dissected poem was The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I remember thinking what a fabulous name for a poem that was. On first reading I hated the poem. In fact, on first reading in university I hated most of the poems I had to read. I was thoroughly pissed off about having to rip them apart at the seams trying to understand every little nuance. I was idealistic and romantic. I wanted to let poetry, "drip from our tongues like honey." (Dead Poets Society) But I found that as I learned more and more about the poems, I liked them more and more. I liked knowing the references and understanding the era in which they were written. This was one of the poems that struck me. By the time we finished studying it, I could read it and hear the swishing of the gowns, the fading, the passage of time. I loved it because I understood it.
The second poem that came to my head was My Grandfather's Clock. The funny thing about this one was when we learned it in primary school, we didn't study it at all. We learned it as a song. Looking it up today I realized that we only learned the good-parts version. No tearing this poem apart to learn and understand. No looking to see what the poet was doing with the passage of time. Instead we sang exactly two verses and two choruses. We ignored the parts about servants and about him properly dying. As far as our young lives were concerned he got married and that was as far as it got. Oh sure in the chorus he died, but we were too preoccupied enjoying the 'tick tock tick tock' to pay any attention. It's funny how things change as you get older!
If you'd like to know what happened to the grandfather, you can follow the link I've provided. If you only want the 'good parts version,' here it is:
My Grandfather's Clock
by Henry Clay Work
My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor.
It was taller by half, than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride.
But it stopped short, never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering, tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short never to go again,
When the old man died.
2. In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood, the clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy,
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride.